The Impact of African Americans on U.S. Foreign Policy
This chapter presents former ambassador Charles Stith's reflections on the impact of African Americans on U.S. foreign policy during particular historical periods. He identifies four eras of impact that reflect an African American imprint on U.S. foreign policy. Those are the slavery era, the Reconstruction era, the civil rights era, and the post-civil rights era. Each era is noteworthy for its changes in status and power of African Americans and thus has implications relative to the question of impact. Each era also had its distinct foreign policy issues and challenges. Among his observations are that the foreign policy concerns of African Americans were both major and mainstream from era to era, whether the issue was the slave trade or the war against terrorism; that the unique contribution of African Americans to the foreign policy mix is to see America's geopolitical interests through the lens of human rights; and that the breadth of foreign policy interests by African Americans has reflected their position and power within the American body politic.
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