Ambassador William Beverly Carter is the first Ambassador-at-Large, and the second African American, to be appointed an ambassador by three Presidents. In 1972, President Richard M. Nixon appointed him ambassador to Tanzania. Four years later, President Gerald R. Ford named him ambassador to Liberia. In 1979, President Jimmy Carter appointed him U.S. Ambassador-at-Large.
Carter, born in 1921 in Coatesville, Pennsylvania, was raised in nearby Philadelphia after the age of four. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in biology from Lincoln University in 1944, and his Law degree from Temple University in 1947. One of his Lincoln classmates was future Ghanaian head of state Kwame Nkrumah.
While at Lincoln University, Clark worked parttime for The Philadelphia Tribune (1943-1945). He later became city editor for The Philadelphia Afro-American (1945-1948). He briefly attended the New School for Social Research (1950-1951) in New York City, New York before serving as publisher for the Pittsburgh Courier (1955-1964), and president of the National Newspaper Publishers’ Association (1958).
From 1952 to 1958, Carter worked with 40 soon-to-be independent African nations to help them develop their own news and information services. Between visits to Africa, Carter became involved in civil rights activism in the United States as a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the National Urban League. In 1954, he also tried his hand at electoral politics, running for Pennsylvanias Fourth Congressional District as a Republican, losing in the general election to the incumbent Earl Chudoff, a Democrat.
In 1965, Carter joined the U.S. State Department as Public Affairs Officer in the United States Information Agency (USIA) in Nairobi, Kenya. The following year, he was promoted to diplomat as Minister-Counselor for Public Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Lagos, Nigeria. While there he reported on the first two years of the Nigerian Civil War.
In 1969 Carter became Deputy Assistant Secretary