- Greg Sidberry
the first African American female secretary of state. Condoleezza Rice was born in Birmingham, Alabama. Her father, John Wesley Rice III, was a school guidance counselor, football coach, and pastor of the Westminster Presbyterian Church. Her mother, Angelena Ray, taught science, music, and speech and was an accomplished pianist who served as the church musician. The Rices wanted their daughter to have a professional career in classical music and created her name, Condoleezza, from an Italian musical term, con dolcezza, which means “with sweetness.”
The Rice family lived in the segregated neighborhood of Titusville a middle class enclave of schoolteachers and professionals High priority was given to education and academic success and the importance of dress grooming and manners was emphasized as well Condoleezza exceeded all expectations She was given lessons in piano ballet French and anything else that would help her be twice as good as ...
A version of this article originally appeared in The Encyclopedia of African American History, 1896 to the Present.