Joyceann’s Corner Episode 5 (Watson)

This is a series of profoundly gifted members of our community that have contributed much with no or little public recognition. We honor our own Today we share,

Barbara Mae Watson, (1918-1983) 

Barbara M. Watson, businesswoman, lawyer, government executive and diplomat, was born in New York City on November 5, 1918. She was the daughter of James S. Watson, the first black judge elected in New York State, and his wife, Violet Lopez Watson, one of the founders of the National Council of Negro Women. Barbara M. Watson was the sister of James Lopez Watson and the cousin of General Colin L. Powell, the former U.S. Secretary of State.  

After graduating from Barnard College in 1943, she took a job as an interviewer for the United Seamen’s Service. In 1946, she founded a modeling agency and charm school, Barbara Watson Models, serving as the agency’s executive director until 1956. 

Watson served as coordinator of Student Activities at Hampton Institute. Upon graduation from New York Law School in 1962 she worked as an attorney with three New York City government agencies; the Board of Statutory Consolidation of the City of New York, the Office of the Corporation Counsel of the City of New York, and as director of the New York City Commission to the United Nations.   

Watson joined the United States Department of State in 1966 as special assistant to the Deputy Under Secretary of State for Administration. She then became Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Security and Consular Affairs and served as Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Security and Consular Affairs from 1966 to 1968.  

She was the first black Assistant Secretary of State and the first woman to serve as Assistant Secretary of State. 

In July 1968, President of the United States Lyndon Johnson nominated Watson as Assistant Secretary of State for Security and Consular Affairs and, after Senate confirmation. She held this office from August 12, 1968. She left her State Department post in November 1974, when President Ford accepted her resignation. The Nixon Administration had sought earlier to replace Miss Watson, a Democrat, with a Republican appointee.  

At the beginning of 1975, Watson took a job with Walter Annenberg’s Triangle Publications as a legal consultant. She also lectured at several colleges and universities.  

In January 1977, President Jimmy Carter asked Watson to return to the State Department as Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs; her second stint in this office lasted from April 13, 1977 until August 17, 1980. President Carter then appointed Ms. Watson United States Ambassador to Malaysia; she presented her credentials on September 25, 1980 and held this post until March 1, 1981. 

Watson died February 18, 1983 in Washington, D.C. at the age of 64. Secretary of State George P. Shultz said in a statement that the department was ”deeply saddened” by her death. He added that she was ”public servant of unusual dedication and distinction.” 

”Her long service as Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs and her recent tour as Ambassador to Malaysia made important contributions to American foreign policy,” the Secretary said.  

Miss Watson is survived by two brothers, James and Douglas, both of New York, and a sister, Grace, of Washington. 

Submitted to BlackPast.org 1-20-15 

I hope you enjoyed this segment and Thank you for listening, Till next time when we honor: Bernadette M. Allen, (1955-) “Ambassador-Designate to Niger to Work for Prosperity, Security.”

Joyceann’s Corner Episode 4 -(Brown)

This is a series of profoundly gifted members of our community that have contributed much with no or little public recognition. We honor our own

Today,

We honor

Gayleatha Beatrice Brown (1947-2013)  

On July 2, 2009 President Barack Obama appointed Gayleatha Brown to be the United States ambassador to Burkina Faso.  Brown was born in Matawan, West Virginia on June 20, 1947.  Her family moved to New Jersey when she was a child and she graduated from Edison High School, in Edison, New Jersey in 1964. She received BA and MA degrees with honor from Howard University in Washington, D.C., in 1968 and 1970 respectively.  Brown has also conducted post-graduate work in international relations at the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. 

Before joining the United States Department of State, Brown was a Special Assistant in the Agency for International Development (USAID). She was later Assistant Administrator for Africa and a legislative assistant to the House of Representatives. She also held the position of Representative and Finance and Development Officer at the U.S. Embassies in Paris, France and Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire respectively. 

Before being named ambassador Ms.Brown had extensive background within the State Department including positions as the Counselor for Political Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Pretoria, South Africa, U.S. Consul General and as the U.S. Deputy Permanent Observer (concurrently) to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, France.  She also held the office of Chief of Economic and Commercial Sections at the U.S. Embassies in Harare, Zimbabwe, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. 

Brown also has represented the Department of State at the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Export Credit Arrangement negotiations as Desk Officer for the U.S. Export-Import Bank (EXIM) in the Department’s Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs (EB).   

Brown’s honors and recognitions include: Lady of the Golden Horseshoe (West Virginia state academic honor) and charter member of the New Jersey Edison Township High School Alumni Hall of Fame. She also received two Department of State Superior Honor Awards, a State Department Meritorious Honor Award and a Presidential Meritorious Service Award. She is an honorary member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA) Sorority and Sandown Rotary Club in Johannesburg, South Africa.  She was also among the first women members of the Rotary Club in Tanzania. 

 
Ambassador Brown was fluent in English, French and Swahili. She was a member of the Shiloh Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. and was associated with the Community Church of Iselin, New Jersey.  
 
Ambassador Brown passed Friday, April 19,2013, at the JFK Medical Center, Edison, N.J. at the age of 65. Her mother Nellie and brother Curtis Brown survive her.

I hope you enjoyed this segment and Thank you for listening, Till next time when we honor

Barbara M. Watson, United States Ambassador to Malaysia