Google is honouring the celebrated economist and professor Sir W Arthur Lewis, who is considered one of the pioneers in the field of modern development economics in its doodle today. Forty one years from the day in 1979, he was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in economics.
The doodle has been Illustrated by Manchester-based guest artist Camilla Ru. Lewis was a trailblazer not only in his research, but he was also the first Black faculty member at the London School of Economics, the first Black person to hold a chair in a British university (at Manchester University), and the first Black instructor to receive full professorship at Princeton University.
Born on January 23, 1915, in Castries on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia, at the time a British colony, Lewis despite facing challenges with racial discrimination, in 1932 won a government scholarship and set out to study at the London School of Economics. He eventually earned a doctorate in industrial economics, a degree that helped him obtain his first teaching position and made him the first Black faculty member at LSE.
Quickly ascending the ranks of academia, by 33, Lewis was a full-time professor at the University of Manchester—one of the highest distinctions of a tenured professor.
Lewis shifted his focus to world economic history and economic development and in 1954 published his foundational article “Economic Development with Unlimited Supplies of Labour.” Among many valuable accomplishments, Lewis contributed influential work to the United Nations and shared his expertise as an adviser to governments in Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean. He also helped establish and served as the first president of the Caribbean Development Bank.
In honor of his lifelong achievements, the British government knighted Lewis in 1963.