Black History Month 2014: The first Black… U.S. diplomat

Ebenezer Bassett

Ebenezer Bassett

Every year for Black History Month I explore the obvious and not so obvious parts of American history that those called Black have taken part in. The things that we (Black people) have done other than be stolen from our homeland and made forced labor in a land foreign to us. I’m going to start this series by looking up the first time someone African-American did something and broke the color barrier in that activity or field. I’ll be starting with Wikipedia and working my way out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_African-American_firsts

I will be learning a lot of this as I go since I am a product of the standardized Euro/Anglo/Caucasian leaning public school system. I hope you enjoy learning with me. I’ll be going down the list chronologically as it appears in the Wikipedia article.
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For my final entry this month:

1869:  First African-American U.S. diplomat: Ebenezer Don Carlos Bassett, minister to Haiti

Ebenezer D. Bassett (1833–1908) was an African American who was appointed United States Ambassador to Haiti in 1869. He was the first African-American diplomat.

Ebenezer Bassett was appointed as new leaders emerged among free African Americans after the American Civil War. An educatorabolitionist, and civil rights activist, Bassett was the U.S. diplomatic envoy in 1869 to Haiti, the “Black Republic” of the Western Hemisphere. Through eight years of bloody civil war and coups d’état there, Bassett served in one of the most crucial, but difficult postings of his time. Haiti was of strategic importance in the Caribbean basin for its shipping lanes and as a naval coaling station.

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