This Day in Black History: Feb. 5, 1958

Clifton R. Wharton becomes the first African-American to head a U.S. mission in Europe.

Posted: 02/05/2013 08:00 AM EST

(Photo: Wikicommons)

On Feb. 5, 1958, U.S. diplomat Clifton Wharton Sr. was confirmed as minster to Romania, becoming the first African-American to head a U.S. mission in Europe. Wharton is also the first Black to reach the level of ambassador by rising through the ranks of the foreign service.

Wharton was born in Baltimore on May 11, 1899. He earned a master of law degree from Boston University School of Law in 1923 and practiced law in Boston before becoming the first African-American to join the foreign service in 1925.

Wharton was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity and in May 2006, he was honored by the U.S. Postal Service’s Distinguished American Diplomats commemorative series.

He died April 25, 1990.

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