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Geoffrey Roper

Egyptian poet, diplomat, military commander, and politician, was born in Cairo on 6 October 1839. His family claimed descent from a medieval Mamluk royal line, but his surname (nisba) refers to the district of Ityay al-Barud in Lower Egypt, of which his ancestors had once been tax farmers (multazims). His father, an artillery officer under Muhammad Ali, died in Sudan when al-Barudi was only seven years old. After primary education, al-Barudi entered the Military Training School in Cairo, in 1851, and graduated from it in 1855 with the rank of bash-jawish (sergeant-major). During the reign of the viceroy Saʿid (r. 1854–1863), he served in Istanbul as a diplomat and during this time acquired a lifelong enthusiasm for literature.

In 1863 the new viceroy, Ismaʿil (r. 1863–1879 visited Istanbul and recruited al Barudi as commander of his Viceregal Guard in Cairo with the ...


Donna M. Wells

photographer, journalist, and diplomat, was born on the campus of Atlanta University (later Clark Atlanta University), in Atlanta, Georgia. He attended Oglethorpe Laboratory Elementary School, a practice school on the campus. Davis's professional career began in high school and continued until his retirement in 1985. He was first introduced to photography by William (Bill) Brown, an instructor at the Atlanta University Laboratory High School where Davis was a student. Throughout high school and later as a student at Morehouse, Davis supported himself through photography assignments from local newspapers and public relations firms.

Davis's college education was suspended in 1944 when he joined the armed forces during World War II and fought with the Ninety-second Infantry Division in Italy. After his tour, Griffith returned to Atlanta in 1946 and continued his college studies. He befriended writer and professor Langston Hughes and civil rights activist and ...


Steven Leikin

diplomat, preacher, and author, was born in Atlanta, Georgia, the son of Sallie Montgomery. Nothing is known of his biological father. His mother, however, was an African American, and Dennis was of mixed race parentage. In 1897 he was adopted by Green Dennis, a contractor, and Cornelia Walker. During his youth Dennis was known as the “mulatto child evangelist,” and he preached to church congregations in the African American community of Atlanta before he was five years old. By the age of fifteen he had toured churches throughout the United States and England and addressed hundreds of thousands of people.

Despite his success as an evangelist Dennis had ambitions to move beyond this evangelical milieu. In 1913, unschooled but unquestionably bright, he applied to Phillips Exeter Academy and gained admission. He graduated within two years and in 1915 entered Harvard.

Dennis s decisions to ...


Benjamin Letzler

law professor, dean, and diplomat, was born in Wilmington, North Carolina, to the Reverend Clarence Clyde Ferguson Sr. and Georgeva Ferguson. After a childhood in Baltimore he served in the U.S. Army from 1942 to 1946, earning a Bronze Star, before attending Ohio State University on a football scholarship. He soon left the football squad to focus on his academic work, completing his AB cum laude in two and a half years. Ferguson earned his LLB cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1951, one of three black members of the class.

After a year as a teaching fellow at Harvard Law School and a year in private practice in New York, Ferguson served as assistant general counsel to the Moreland Act Commission to Investigate Harness Racing. Ferguson married the artist and sculptor Dolores Zimmerman in 1954 After her death in the late ...


Michael C. Miller

Bancroft Gherardi was born in Jackson, Louisiana, to Donato Gherardi, a Greek instructor, and Jane Bancroft. His uncle, the noted historian George Bancroft, served as secretary of the navy and secured an appointment for Bancroft to the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. The young man received his first naval appointment on 29 June 1846, launching a career that lasted nearly fifty years.

Gherardi served aboard the USS Ohio during the Mexican-American War and was commissioned a lieutenant in 1855. During the Civil War he was promoted to lieutenant commander (1862) and served in the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron. In 1864 he transferred to the Western Gulf Blockading Squadron and, as commander of the Port Royal, fought with distinction at the battle of Mobile Bay on 5 August 1864 After the war he was promoted to commander and served in a variety ...


Elizabeth R. Schroeder

journalist, businessman, military leader, and diplomat, was born in Albany, Georgia, to Richard and Eliza (Brown) Jones. Richard Lee Jones, also known as Dick Jones, moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, with his family at fifteen saying

In the South, I was not the submissive kind, but I learned respect for authority. Many Negroes have not learned that yet. They come up here and try to run away with the town. I had no trouble in the South. I avoided trouble. If you see a nail, why sit on it? Much trouble could be avoided by Negroes in the South if they tried to. Get me straight! I am not for conditions down there. They are bad, but could be bettered.”

(Wilson, “Interview with Dick Jones, Manager of South Center,” Negro in Illinois Papers)

He attended the University of Cincinnati from 1912 to 1915 and later abandoned his law ...


Elizabeth Heath

A son of missionary parents, Frederick John Dealtry Lugard was born in Fort St. George, Madras, India. He was educated in England and trained briefly at the Royal Military College, which he left at the age of twenty-one to join the British army. While in the army, Lugard was posted to India and also served in Afghanistan, Sudan, and Burma (present-day Myanmar). In the late 1880s, however, Lugard left the army to fight slavery in East and Central Africa. In 1888 Lugard led his first expedition in Nyasaland (present-day Malawi) and was seriously injured in an attack on Arab slave traders. A year after he established the territorial claims of British settlers, in the hire of the British East African Company, Lugard explored the Kenyan interior. In 1890 he led an expedition to the Buganda kingdom in present day Uganda Lugard negotiated an end to the civil war in ...


Peter Garretson

Ethiopian politician, soldier, diplomat, administrator, and father of Emperor Haile Selassie, was born in Ethiopia on 8 May 1852 at Derero Maryam, Gola, and died 22 March 1906 at Qullebi Gebre’el in Harar province.

Mekonnen was a direct descendent of King Sahle Selassie by a female line, unlike Emperor Menilek II, who came from the male line. At 13, the future emperor Menilek invited him to attend his court, where he received the traditional education and military training of an Ethiopian aristocrat. In 1876 he was elevated to the rank of balambaras and by 1881 he was made a palace treasurer and had gone on his first major campaign to Tajura bordering the Red Sea. In 1881 his military experience was broadened when he participated in the key battle of Embabo in the west defeating Menilek s rival King Tekle Haymanot and then in the east he campaigned against ...


Margaret Wade-Lewis

linguist, diplomat, and educator, was born in Nashville, Tennessee, to Raleigh Morgan Sr., a porter at Union Station, and Adrien Louise Beasley Morgan. The eldest of three children, Raleigh Jr. lived with his extended family; his mother left the household when Morgan was four years old. In addition to his father (b. 1888), Morgan's nurturers were his grandfather Jackson (b. 1865), a business owner; his-grandmother Anna (b. 1868), a homemaker; his uncle John W. (b. 1890); and his aunts Elizabeth and Adrien (both b. 1895). His younger siblings were John Edward (b. 1918) and Helen A. (b. 1919).

Morgan took his first course in Latin at age twelve and began to study German and French at ages fourteen and fifteen respectively He eventually became a contemporary Renaissance man whose life unfolded in three phases professor and ...


Paul Bjerk

the first African to command the Tanzanian army was born near Arusha, in northern Tanzania. He attended Nkoaranga Lutheran Primary School there, moving on to Old Moshi secondary school in the neighboring town of Moshi at the base of Mount Kilimanjaro. Apparently a decisive and commanding young man, he tells the story of the time when, dressed as a policeman for a school play, he stopped an unlicensed cab driver and upbraided him for various infractions and sent him to report to the real police station. With this inspiration, he sought to join the Police College in Moshi, but instead was invited to continue his education at the prestigious Tabora Boys’ Senior Government School, which he joined in 1957.

The following year the colonial army the King s African Rifles was recruiting for prospective officers with the intention of sending top candidates to the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst ...


Michael L. Krenn

career diplomat and six-time U.S. ambassador, was born Terence Alphonso Todman in Saint Thomas, Virgin Islands, the son of Alphonse and Rachel Todman. Terence's father worked as a grocery clerk and occasionally as a stevedore, while his mother worked as a laundress and housemaid.

After graduating as the salutatorian from his high school in Saint Thomas, Todman began his college education at the Polytechnic Institute of Puerto Rico. Military service interrupted his education, however, and he spent four years in the U.S. Army. Following completion of his duties he returned to finish his bachelor's degree in Puerto Rico and then went on to Syracuse University, where he earned an MA in Public Administration in 1953.

By that time Todman had decided that he wished to pursue a career in diplomacy, and after passing the federal entry exams in 1952 he took a position with the Department ...