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Black History Month

Clifton Wharton, Sr. was the first African-American to head a U.S. diplomatic mission.

Fun Fact

Black History Month calls to mind notable African-American alumni, among them Clifton Wharton, Sr. (LAW’20,’23, Hon.’63). Wharton, shown receiving an Alumni Award in 1989, was the first black to head a U.S. diplomatic mission when he became minister to Romania in 1958. President John F. Kennedy appointed him ambassador to Norway in 1961, making him the first black diplomat to become ambassador by rising through the ranks of the Department of State’s Foreign Service rather than by political appointment. Wharton, who died in 1990 at age 90, will be honored for his contributions to international relations in May, when the U.S. Postal Service unveils its 2006 Distinguished American Diplomats commemorative stamp series; Wharton is one of six diplomats featured. BU Photo Services