Boston University School of Law
November, 2006

StampAlumnus and former U.S. Ambassador Clifton R. Wharton, Sr. ('20) Honored with Postage Stamp

Former U.S. Ambassador Clifton R. Wharton, Sr. (1899-1990) was recently honored by the U.S. Postal Service with a postage stamp. Wharton was one of six selected for the "Distinguished American Diplomats" stamp series.

Wharton skipped his undergraduate program to go straight into BU Law (LL.B. '20, LL.M. '23, honorary LL.D. '63) and became the nation's first Black Foreign Service Officer for the U.S. Department of State in 1925. During a career that spanned nearly four decades, Wharton served in postings around the world, including Liberia, the Canary Islands, Madagascar and Spain. Wharton became consul general in Portugal in 1949 before serving as consul general in Marseilles, France in 1953.

Wharton was the first Black diplomat to become an ambassador by rising through the ranks of Foreign Service rather than by political appointment and to lead an American delegation to a European country with his appointment as U.S. minister to Romania in 1958. In 1961, President Kennedy appointed Wharton ambassador to Norway.

The "Distinguished American Diplomats" commemorative postage stamps, which featured Wharton as well as Hiram Bingham IV, Charles E. Bohlen, Philip C. Habib, Robert D. Murphy and Frances E. Willis, were dedicated during the Washington 2006 World Philatelic Exhibition in Washington, DC in May.


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