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Building Trust and Supporting Human Rights in Apartheid South Africa

In 1988, a formidable coalition of Democrats and moderate Republicans passed the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act (CAA) over President Reagan’s veto. Months later, USAID sent Timothy Bork to South Africa to implement this highly controversial legislation. During Bork’s tour, Nelson Mandela and other leaders remained imprisoned as violent confrontations erupted in townships across South Africa. At […]

African-American Ambassadors

As challenging as it is for anyone to become and serve as Ambassador for the United States, the hurdles are even greater for black Americans who must overcome domestic and international discrimination to achieve high-ranking positions. These Americans have served as representatives of the United States in over 40 Countries during the past 60 years. […]

The United States and South Africa: The Binational Commission in the Years Following Apartheid

Directly following the election of Nelson Mandela as President of South Africa in 1994, the U.S. government began to work closely with the new South African leadership to facilitate development efforts. Before Mandela’s election, South Africa’s apartheid system and U.S. laws hindered U.S. aid. However, after the election of President Mandela, the binational “Gore-Mbeki Commission” […]

USAID’s Work with an Unsung Hero of the Fight Against Apartheid in South Africa: Dullah Omar

USAID worked intensively with the new South African government after the fall of apartheid in 1994.  William Stacy Rhodes was at the heart of these efforts, serving as Mission Director from 1998-2002.  He recalls working closely with Dullah Omar, Nelson Mandela’s lawyer in the darkest days of apartheid and the first Minister of Justice in […]

Anatomy of an Overthrow: How an African Leader was Toppled

A council of combined security forces known as the Derg staged a coup d’état on September 12, 1974 against Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie I, arresting and imprisoning the monarch who had ruled for decades. The committee renamed itself the Provisional Military Administrative Council, took control of the government, soon abolished the monarchy and established Marxism-Leninism […]

African-American Ambassadors

(As of April 2016) A Adams, Samuel Clifford Jr. Aggrey, Rudolph Alexander, Leslie M. (pictured with Bill Richardson)   B Barnes, Shirley Elisabeth Brazeal, Aurelia E. Britton, Theodore R. Jr. – 1981 Britton, Theodore R. Jr. – 1989 Burroughs, John A.    C Carrington, Walter C. (pictured) Carter, William Beverly Cook, Mercer   D Dawson, Horace G. […]

South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission

After nearly 50 years of brutal apartheid in South Africa, it is almost impossible to imagine how people could coexist peacefully. However, the new, post-apartheid government demonstrated the power of reconciliation, which eventually served as a blueprint for similar initiatives throughout the world. Apartheid, the racial segregation system in South Africa, lasted from 1948 to […]