Diverse Diplomats

Ambassador Edward J. Perkins
The Legacy of Ambassador Edward J. Perkins: Reflections on Families in the Diplomatic Service
The Legacy of Ambassador Edward J. Perkins: Reflections on Families in the Diplomatic Service 1024 576

Ambassador Edward J. Perkins was a distinguished American career diplomat who served as U.S. Ambassador to Liberia, South Africa, the United Nations, and Australia. In addition to his numerous accomplishments and trailblazing career, Ambassador Perkins was a devoted husband and father. Please join NMAD Acting Director Dr. Jane Carpenter-Rock as she discusses Ambassador Perkins’ life and legacy with his daughters, Katherine Perkins and Sarah Perkins.

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Ambassador Edward J. Perkins portrait
8 Lessons in Diplomacy from Ambassador Edward J. Perkins (1928-2020)
8 Lessons in Diplomacy from Ambassador Edward J. Perkins (1928-2020) 781 960

Ambassador Edward J. Perkins knew segregation well. He was born into a segregated and racist society in 1928 on a small farm in the American south. His life took him from segregated  Louisiana, to a segregated military, to a world filled with anti-Black racism in Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and Thailand. Every part of his journey…

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Bassett Haiti Minister Diplomat
Ebenezer D. Bassett: America’s First African American Diplomat
Ebenezer D. Bassett: America’s First African American Diplomat 1024 576

In 1869, Ebenezer D. Bassett was appointed as the Minister of the Republic of Haiti, making him the first African American diplomat. Throughout his career, Bassett defended the civil rights of African Americans and black Caribbean nations 1862: Formal Recognition of the Republic of Haiti Map of Haiti in 1839 The Civil War (1861-1865), a…

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Ralph Bunche United Nations
A Hero of U.S. Diplomacy: Dr. Ralph J. Bunche (1904-1971)
A Hero of U.S. Diplomacy: Dr. Ralph J. Bunche (1904-1971) 1024 760

Dr. Ralph J. Bunche was a pioneering African American diplomat who shaped some of the most remarkable moments in the twentieth century.  Dr. Ralph Bunche as a civil rights activist Born in the era of segregation and Jim Crow, Dr. Bunche spent his life engaged as a civil rights activist in the United States while…

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Diplomatic Courier Items
Artifact Collection Highlights: Ambassador Dudley’s Passport and Items From a Diplomatic Courier
Artifact Collection Highlights: Ambassador Dudley’s Passport and Items From a Diplomatic Courier 1024 768

The National Museum of American Diplomacy has collected some significant items in recent weeks. These include a diplomatic passport issued to Ambassador Edward R. Dudley, the first African American to hold the rank of ambassador. The passport joins a number of documents, letters, and photographs from Dudley’s trailblazing service collected in 2019. Also collected were…

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Portrait of Dudley
The Legacy of Edward R. Dudley: Civil Rights Activist and the First African American Ambassador
The Legacy of Edward R. Dudley: Civil Rights Activist and the First African American Ambassador 686 386

In 1949, Ambassador Edward R. Dudley was the first African American to hold the rank of ambassador. His legacy also includes a long history of civil rights activism and a distinguished career as an attorney. Edward R. Dudley’s career before diplomacy Before becoming an ambassador, Dudley had a distinguished career as an attorney. Ambassador Dudley…

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African American History Diplomacy Frederick Douglass
African American History Month
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Honoring African American Trailblazers in Diplomacy These African American pioneers shaped American history. Read on to discover more about trailblazing ambassadors, influential activists, and a Nobel Peace Prize winner. Ambassador David Bolen First African American Ambassador beyond the Iron Curtain U.S. diplomat, Olympic athlete, United States Air Force WWII veteran, and University of Colorado Boulder…

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Ambassador Horace Dawson speaks to attendee, a retired Foreign Service Officer.
African American Trailblazers in Diplomacy
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On February 28, the National Museum of American Diplomacy, hosted a panel discussion about five trailblazing African American diplomats: Ebenezer Bassett, Ralph Bunche, Edward Dudley, Patricia Roberts Harris, and Mabel Murphy Smythe.  Hosted in conjunction with the Thursday Luncheon Group, the Carl T. Rowen Chapter of Blacks in Government, Appalachian State University, and Mr. James T.…

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Panel: The First African American Diplomats
Panel: The First African American Diplomats 150 150

In commemoration of African American History Month, the Center hosted a program highlighting the little known diplomatic careers of Ebenezer Bassett and Frederick Douglass.  The program was held on February 14th in honor of the bicentennial of Douglass’s birth.  Both of these men served as U.S. Ministers — an early title equivalent to Ambassador —…

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