Edward R. Dudley

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For other people named Edward Dudley, see Edward Dudley (disambiguation).

Edward Richard Dudley (March 11, 1911 South Boston, Halifax County, Virginia – February 10, 2005 Manhattan, New York City) was the first African-American to hold the rank of Ambassador of the United States, serving as Ambassador to Liberia from 1949 to 1953.

Life[edit]

Dudley graduated with a B.S. degree from Johnson C. Smith College in 1932, and then taught school in Gainsboro, Virginia. He studied dentistry for a year on a scholarship at Howard University, and then moved to New York City. His wife was Rae {Elizabeth} Olley Dudley and had one child Edward Richard Dudley jr.

In New York, Dudley worked odd jobs, among them as stage manager for Orson Welles at a public works theater project. In 1938, he enrolled at St. John's University School of Law, graduating with an LL.B. in 1941. For a brief period he practiced law, entered Democratic politics in Harlem, and was an Assistant New York State Attorney General in 1942. In 1942, he married Rae Oley, and they had a son, Edward R. Dudley, Jr.

In 1943, he joined the N.A.A.C.P. legal team. As an assistant special counsel, he wrote briefs and prepared cases seeking the admission of black students to Southern colleges, equal pay for black teachers, and an end to discrimination in public transportation.

He was executive assistant to the Governor of the Virgin Islands from 1945 to 1947, and was then appointed by President Harry S. Truman as Minister to Liberia in 1948, and Ambassador in 1949.

Returning home in 1953, he practiced law and directed the N.A.A.C.P.'s Freedom Fund. In 1955, New York City Mayor Robert F. Wagner, Jr., appointed him a justice on the Domestic Relations Court.

Dudley served as the Borough President of Manhattan from 1961 to 1964. In the New York state election of 1962, he was the Democratic and Liberal candidate for Attorney General but was defeated by the Republican incumbent, Louis Lefkowitz. He was a delegate to the 1964 Democratic National Convention.

In November 1964, Dudley was elected as a Justice of the New York State Supreme Court for the First Judicial District (Manhattan and the Bronx). He served from 1965 until his retirement in 1985.

He died of prostate cancer in St. Luke's Hospital in Manhattan. He survived by his son and three grandchildren Kevin,Kyle and Alexandra Dudley.

External links[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Raphael Lanier
U.S. Ambassador to Liberia
1949–1953
Succeeded by
Jesse Locker
Party political offices
Preceded by
Hulan E. Jack
Borough President of Manhattan
1961–1964
Succeeded by
Constance Baker Motley
Preceded by
Peter J. Crotty
Democratic Nominee for New York State Attorney General
1962
Succeeded by
Frank Sedita