Throughout this country’s existence with Presidents, there have been many who have advised our leaders of the free world who were not a part of the administration. They were people whom were living in an oppressed situation. Many Presidents may not have chosen to listen but there was always an ounce of that outside advisor in their choices for the “people” of this country.
Today, we are talking about a few who had the ear of the President to make a difference in our own little world.
Besides the name of my high school where I graduated early, Benjamin Banneker the man was under George Washington’s administration. Banneker corresponded with Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson frequently. Their friendship came into existence after Banneker along with Andrew Ellicott and Pierre-Charles L’Enfant checked over the land that is now D.C. He and Jefferson talked about creating departments within the administration to find a better way to handle international issues. Banneker also talked about handling problems that were domestic issues plaguing citizens. He is quoted stating to him that he should “…extend his power and influence to the relief of every part of the human race, from whatever burden or oppression they may unjustly labor under…”
The two had such a deep friendship that Jefferson later took the ideas, theories and calculations created by Banneker (the self taught Mathematician and Astronomer) and sent them off to the French Academy of Science. For his works to be acknowledged properly.
W. E. B. Du Bois
Unlike many of the early advisors to Presidents Du Bois was not a child who lived through slavery. He lived in a community with his mother where he was like amongst his caucasian peers. A lover of education and constantly told to pursue his education, he did notice the separation from he and his classmates. As he grew he knew that he did not want to things to continue to be this way.
Du Bois went on to get degrees from Fisk U and Harvard. He so strongly believed in education he ended up being the first African-American to obtain a Ph. D from Harvard in 1896. He went on to study and travel throughout Europe. He believed in the election of Woodrow Wilson in 1912. As a member of the American press he speaks to Wilson’s advisor Colonel House to hold a Pan African Conference. After trying to get Wilson do something about the domestic mistreatment of people Du Bois was noted stating, “Wilson was by birth…unfitted for largesse of view or depth of feeling about racial injustice.”
Ron (Ronald) H. Brown
Ron Brown was born in Washington, D.C. and raised in Harlem, N.Y. He was fortunate to attend preparatory schools where he could get the education not afforded to many in his neighborhood. He attended Middlebury College where he joined the Sigma Phi Epilson and was the first African American to do so. He served in the Army in 1962 through 1967. He then joined the National Urban League and enrolled in law school.
Politically Ron served at Senator Edward Kennedy, Jesse Jackson’s 1988 presidential campaign manager. He also served as chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Under President Clinton’s administration from 1993 until his death in 1996, he held the position as Secretary of Commerce. The first African American to hold both positions.
These three men are not the only African American to build on our political history. These are just some. There are many more men and women who have had influence and continue to have influence. Do the research.