African Americans in U.S. Foreign PolicyFrom the Era of Frederick Douglass to the Age of Obama

African Americans in U.S. Foreign PolicyFrom the Era of Frederick Douglass to the Age of Obama

Linda Heywood, Allison Blakely, Charles Stith, and Joshua C. Yesnowitz

Print publication date: 2017

ISBN: 9780252038877

Publisher: University of Illinois Press


Bookended by remarks from African American diplomats Walter C. Carrington and Charles Stith, this book uses close readings of speeches, letters, historical archives, diaries, memoirs of policymakers, and newly available FBI files to confront much-neglected questions related to race and foreign relations in the United States. Why, for instance, did African Americans profess loyalty and support for the diplomatic initiatives of a nation that undermined their social, political, and economic well-being through racist policies and cultural practices? The book explores African Americans' history in the diplomatic and consular services and the influential roles of cultural ambassadors like Joe Louis and Louis Armstrong. It concludes with an analysis of the effects on race and foreign policy in the administration of Barack Obama. Groundbreaking and critical, the book expands on the scope and themes of recent collections to offer the most up-to-date scholarship to students in a range of disciplines, including U.S. and African American history, Africana studies, political science, and American studies.

Table of Contents

Part I Early African American Diplomatic Appointments: Contributions and Constraints

2 A New Negro Foreign Policy

Jeffrey C. Stewart

Part II African American Participation in Foreign Affairs through Civil Society: Religious, Military, and Cultural Institutions in Foreign Policy

5 White Shame/Black Agency

Vera Ingrid Grant

6 Goodwill Ambassadors

Damion Thomas

Part III The Advent of the Age of Obama: African Americans and the Making of American Foreign Policy


Charles R. Stith