Ebenezer D. Bassett, Minister Resident to Haiti, from a photograph by J.W. Hurn, Philadelphia, 1869.
flipFlip to Octavius V. Catto, circa 1871.
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Wood engraving, head and shoulders.

Credit: Courtesy NYPL Digital gallery, New York Public Library

The end of slavery in 1865 and 1870 ratification of the 15th Amendment guaranteeing the right to vote inaugurated a new era of African American participation in politics and government. In 1869 President Ulysses S Grant appointed a high school principal, Ebenezer Bassett of the Institute for Colored Youth in Philadelphia, to the position of Minister Resident (ambassador) to Haiti. The first African American ambassador in the nation’s history, Bassett became a symbol of the promise of equal rights after the end of the Civil War

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