This Day in History: 1911-03-11

Civil rights activist, attorney, judge, and the first black American to serve as an Ambassador, Edward Dudley is born in South Boston, VA. Dudley earned a Bachelor’s degree from Johnson C. Smith College in Charlotte, NC in 1932, and a law degree from St. John’s University in New York City in 1941. In 1942 he was appointed to the New York Attorney General’s Office, where he served until he was recruited the following year by Thurgood Marshall, the Chief Legal Counsel of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) to become a Special Assistant Counsel. In 1945, Dudley became the Legal Counsel to the Governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands. In 1948, President Harry Truman sent Dudley to Liberia as U.S. Envoy and Minister, elevating Dudley to the rank of Ambassador in May of 1949. In 1955 Dudley was named a judge in the New York state domestic relations court. Ambassador Dudley was elected to the New York Supreme Court in 1965. Learn more.