Influential Black Leaders- Condeleeza Rice
Influential Black Leaders - Condeleeza Rice

Influential Black Leaders- Condeleeza Rice

Influential Black Leaders- Condeleeza Rice

Influential Black Leaders- Condeleeza Rice

 

Condoleezza "Condi" Rice (/ˌkɒndəˈliːzə/; born November 14, 1954) is an American diplomat, political scientist, civil servant, and professor who served as the 66th United States Secretary of State from 2005 to 2009 and as the 20th United States National Security Advisor from 2001 to 2005. A member of the Republican Party, Rice was the first female African-American Secretary of State and the first woman to serve as National Security Advisor.

Rice was born in Birmingham, Alabama, and grew up while the South was racially segregated. She obtained her bachelor's degree from the University of Denver and her master's degree in political science from the University of Notre Dame. In 1981 she received a PhD from the School of International Studies at the University of Denver. She worked at the State Department under the Carter administration and served on the National Security Council as the Soviet and Eastern Europe Affairs Advisor to President George H. W. Bush during the dissolution of the Soviet Union and German reunification from 1989 to 1991. Rice later pursued an academic fellowship at Stanford University, where she later served as provost from 1993 to 1999. On December 17, 2000, she joined the Bush administration as President George W. Bush's National Security Advisor. In Bush's second term, she succeeded Colin Powell as Secretary of State. She was the second female Secretary of State, after Madeleine Albright.

Following her confirmation as Secretary of State, Rice pioneered the policy of Transformational Diplomacy directed toward expanding the number of responsible democratic governments in the world and especially in the Greater Middle East. That policy faced challenges as Hamas captured a popular majority in Palestinian elections, and influential countries including Saudi Arabia and Egypt maintained authoritarian systems (with U.S. backing). While in the position, she chaired the Millennium Challenge Corporation's board of directors

In March 2009, Rice returned to Stanford University as a political science professor and the Thomas and Barbara Stephenson Senior Fellow on Public Policy at the Hoover Institution. In September 2010, she became a faculty member of the Stanford Graduate School of Business and a director of its Global Center for Business and the Economy. In January 2020, it was announced that Rice would succeed Thomas W. Gilligan as the next director of the Hoover Institution on September 1, 2020. She is on the Board of Directors of Dropbox and Makena Capital Management, LLC.

Early education and music training
Rice began to learn French, music, figure skating and ballet at the age of three. At the age of fifteen, she began piano classes with the goal of becoming a concert pianist. While Rice ultimately did not become a professional pianist, she still practices often and plays with a chamber music group. She accompanied cellist Yo-Yo Ma playing Johannes Brahms' Violin Sonata in D Minor at Constitution Hall in April 2002 for the National Medal of Arts Awards.


High school and university education
In 1967, the family moved to Denver, Colorado. She attended St. Mary's Academy, an all-girls Catholic high school in Cherry Hills Village, Colorado, and graduated at age 16 in 1971. Rice enrolled at the University of Denver, where her father was then serving as an assistant dean.

Influential Black Leaders- Condeleeza Rice


Rice initially majored in Music, and after her sophomore year, she went to the Aspen Music Festival and School. There, she later said, she met students of greater talent than herself, and she doubted her career prospects as a pianist. She began to consider an alternative major. She attended an International Politics course taught by Josef Korbel, which sparked her interest in the Soviet Union and international relations. Rice later described Korbel (who is the father of Madeleine Albright, then a future U.S. Secretary of State), as a central figure in her life.

In 1974, at age 19, Rice was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa Society, and was awarded a B.A., cum laude, in political science by the University of Denver. While at the University of Denver she was a member of Alpha Chi Omega, Gamma Delta chapter. She obtained a master's degree in political science from the University of Notre Dame in 1975. She first worked in the State Department in 1977, during the Carter administration, as an intern in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. She would also study Russian at Moscow State University in the summer of 1979, and intern with the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, California. In 1981, at age 26, she received her Ph.D. in political science from the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver. Her dissertation centered on military policy and politics in what was then the communist state of Czechoslovakia.[26]

Influential Black Leaders- Condeleeza Rice


From 1980 to 1981, she was a fellow at Stanford University's Arms Control and Disarmament Program, having won a Ford Foundation Dual Expertise Fellowship in Soviet Studies and International Security. The award granted a year-long fellowship at Harvard University, Stanford University, Columbia University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology or University of California, Los Angeles. Rice contacted both Harvard and Stanford, but states that Harvard ignored her. Her fellowship at Stanford began her academic affiliation with the University and time in Northern California.

Early political views
Rice was a Democrat until 1982, when she changed her political affiliation to Republican, in part because she disagreed with the foreign policy of Democratic President Jimmy Carter, and because of the influence of her father, who was Republican. As she told the 2000 Republican National Convention, "My father joined our party because the Democrats in Jim Crow Alabama of 1952 would not register him to vote. The Republicans did."

Rice experienced firsthand the injustices of Birmingham's discriminatory laws and attitudes. She was instructed to walk proudly in public and to use the facilities at home rather than subject herself to the indignity of "colored" facilities in town. As Rice recalls of her parents and their peers, "they refused to allow the limits and injustices of their time to limit our horizons."


President Bush signing bill for Rosa Parks statue at Statuary Hall, Washington, D.C.
However, Rice recalls various times in which she suffered discrimination on account of her race, which included being relegated to a storage room at a department store instead of a regular dressing room, being barred from going to the circus or the local amusement park, being denied hotel rooms, and even being given bad food at restaurants. Also, while Rice was mostly kept by her parents from areas where she might face discrimination, she was very aware of the civil rights struggle and the problems of Jim Crow laws in Birmingham. A neighbor, Juliemma Smith, described how "[Condi] used to call me and say things like, 'Did you see what Bull Connor did today?' She was just a little girl and she did that all the time. I would have to read the newspaper thoroughly because I wouldn't know what she was going to talk about." Rice herself said of the segregation era: "Those terrible events burned into my consciousness. I missed many days at my segregated school because of the frequent bomb threats."

During the violent days of the Civil Rights Movement, Reverend Rice armed himself and kept guard over the house while Condoleezza practiced the piano inside. According to J. L. Chestnut, Reverend Rice called local civil rights leader Fred Shuttlesworth and his followers "uneducated, misguided Negroes."[150] Also, Reverend Rice instilled in his daughter and students that black people would have to prove themselves worthy of advancement, and would simply have to be "twice as good" to overcome injustices built into the system.[151] Rice said "My parents were very strategic, I was going to be so well prepared, and I was going to do all of these things that were revered in white society so well, that I would be armored somehow from racism. I would be able to confront white society on its own terms." While the Rices supported the goals of the civil rights movement, they did not agree with the idea of putting their child in harm's way.

Rice was eight when her schoolmate Denise McNair, aged 11, was murdered in the bombing of the primarily black Sixteenth Street Baptist Church by white supremacists on September 15, 1963. Rice has commented upon that moment in her life:

I remember the bombing of that Sunday School at 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham in 1963. I did not see it happen, but I heard it happen, and I felt it happen, just a few blocks away at my father's church. It is a sound that I will never forget, that will forever reverberate in my ears. That bomb took the lives of four young girls, including my friend and playmate, Denise McNair. The crime was calculated to suck the hope out of young lives, bury their aspirations. But those fears were not propelled forward, those terrorists failed.

Rice states that growing up during racial segregation taught her determination against adversity, and the need to be "twice as good" as non-minorities. Segregation also hardened her stance on the right to bear arms; Rice has said in interviews that if gun registration had been mandatory, her father's weapons would have been confiscated by Birmingham's segregationist director of public safety, Bull Connor, leaving them defenseless against Ku Klux Klan nightriders.

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