This Day in Black History: Oct. 13, 1898

Edith Spurlock Sampson, first African-American appointed to the United Nations, was born.

Posted: 10/13/2012 08:00 AM EDT
Edith Spurlock Sampson

Attorney and judge Edith Spurlock Sampson, the first African-American to be appointed to the United Nations, was born on Oct. 13, 1898, in Pittsburgh.

In 1950, President Harry Truman appointed Sampson an alternate delegate to the General Assembly of the United Nations, making her the first African-American woman to serve as representative to the U.N. In her capacity as representative, she worked on issues of land reform, reparation of prisoners and repatriation of Greek children.

Sampson was born into tough economic times in a family of eight children. Despite leaving school at age 14 to work in a fish market to help support her struggling family, Sampson eventually finished high school and attended the New York School of Social Work. Sampson later attended the John Marshall Law School, earning her J.D., and then attended Loyola University School of Law where she earned her Master of Laws degree.

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(Photo: Courtesy of WikiCommons)

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