William Henry Hastie n 1933, Hastie was appointed Assistant Solicitor in the Department of the Interior by President Franklin Roosevelt, and in 1937 Roosevelt appointed him judge of the Federal District Court in the Virgin Islands, making him the country’s first African-American federal magistrate. He left that position in 1939 to become Dean of Howard Law School. In 1941 Hastie became an aide to Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson, and worked to reform the military’s segregationist policies. But Hastie resigned from that position in 1943 to protest the military’s entrenched “reactionary policies and discriminatory practices.” That year he was awarded the Springarn Medal “for his distinguished career as jurist and as an uncompromising champion of equal justice.” In 1946, Hastie became the first African-American governor of the Virgin Islands, and in 1949 President Truman appointed him judge of the Third United States Circuit Court of Appeals, making him the first African American to be appointed as a federal circuit judge.

Ebenezer D. Bassett, 1869, became minister-resident to Haiti; Patricia Harris became the first black female ambassador (1965; Luxembourg).

Ralph J. Bunche received the prize in 1950 for mediating the Arab-Israeli truce. Martin Luther King, Jr., became the second African-American Peace Prize winner in 1964.

Source: Biography, National Museum Of History

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