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Condoleezza Rice

Larry Downing/Reuters

Pioneering Black American leaders in US foreign policy

Who exactly are the people representing America to the world? Chances are they’re “pale, male, and Yale”, as the saying goes. Even in 2024, the US Foreign Service – especially in senior positions – doesn’t look like the rest of America. African Americans, people of color, and women continue to encounter barriers to influential roles.

However, some Black diplomats — like UN Ambassador Linda Thomas Greenfield — have broken this racial ceiling and helped reimagine what an American envoy can be. Her predecessors, through the sweep of US history, encountered discrimination and racism both domestically and abroad and left an indelible mark on US foreign policy. To mark the end of Black History Month, GZERO highlights the stories of a select few:

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President Jimmy Carter and first lady Rosalynn Carter dance in the grand foyer of the White House in Washington, DC, on Jan. 31, 1979.

Media Punch/INSTARimages via Reuters

RIP Rosalynn Carter, the Steel Magnolia

Rosalynn Carter, humanitarian, political crusader, former first lady, and a leading advocate for people with mental health conditions and family caregivers, passed away on Sunday at the age of 96.

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