Franklin Williams (diplomat)

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Franklin Hall Williams (October 22, 1917 – May 20, 1990)[1] was a lawyer and civil rights leader in the United States. As an assistant to Thurgood Marshall he represented the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People before courts in criminal cases throughout the South. In 1950 he was appointed director of the NAACP's western region where for 9 years he directed drives involving open housing, school desegregation and civil rights.

Early life[edit]

Mr Williams was born in Flushing, Queens. He graduated from Pennsylvania's Lincoln University in 1941. In 1945 he earned a law degree from Fordham University.[2]

Career[edit]

In 1959, Williams became Assistant Attorney General in California and in 1961 the Kennedy administration appointed him to assist Sargent Shriver in organizing the Peace Corps. As a delegate to UNESCO he championed establishment of an international counterpart to the Corps.

Under President Johnson, Williams became the first black representative to the United Nations Economic and Social Council and later was appointed Ambassador to Ghana. During his three-year tenure at this post, he was credited with improving the formerly strained relations between the United States and the African nation.

Leaving government service in 1968 Mr. Williams headed the Columbia University Urban Center, issuing the study "Human Uses of the University - Planning a curriculum for Urban and Ethnic Affairs at Columbia University."

For 20 years, Williams was president of the Phelps Stokes Fund, established to facilitate the education of African and Native American students. During this time he served on several boards, among them: Lincoln University, the Council on Foreign Relations, the New York Board of Higher Education, the American Symphony Orchestra, the Barnes Foundation, Consolidated Edison and Borden, Inc..

Williams died in 1990 at the age of 72.

Williams was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.[3] Williams was married to Shirley Broyard, a sister of literary critic Anatole Broyard.[4]

References[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
William P. Mahoney, Jr.
U.S. Ambassador to Ghana
1965-1968
Succeeded by
Thomas W. McElhiney