Presidential Appointment naming Edward J. Perkins as Director General of the Foreign Service, the first African American to hold this position. The proclamation is signed by President George H.W. Bush and Secretary of State James Baker III, dated September 21, 1989.
Black frame, white matte. Full piece measures 26″ x 22″, museum glass. Not examined outside frame. Signature of George Bush beginning to fade, otherwise fine. This was Ambassador Perkins first position after serving for three years as the United States Ambassador to South Africa. As Director General of the Foreign Service, he aimed to increase diversity in the ranks, which he felt was “an exclusive club: overwhelmingly white, male and Ivy League-educated.”
Dr. Edward J. Perkins (1928-2020) served as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, as well as Liberia, South Africa, and Australia throughout his 25-year foreign service career. In 1986 President Ronald Reagan appointed Perkins to serve as ambassador to South Africa in hopes of fending off a congressional override to his veto of economic sanctions against the country. It was a controversial decision amidst apartheid in South Africa, and many Black leaders urged Perkins to not take the role. Perkins accepted the position and served until 1989, one year before Nelson Mandela was released from prison. He was appointed U.N. Ambassador by George H.W. Bush in 1992, serving for one year.