The Foreign Service Journal, April 2022

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | APRIL 2022 65 other historically marginalized groups that have pushed for greater opportunities to serve and thrive at the Department of State, like women, the LGBTQ+ commu- nity and disabled colleagues. The film contains many lessons in persistence for those of us in the depart- ment, but three stood out for me. First, we should persist in lifting as we climb. The generational struggles of Dudley, Rowan and Todman demonstrate that change is never final nor complete, and each generation must make its own strides to lift others and shape the institution from within. As stewards of the profession, we should always hold the department accountable to care for its people, and when it does not, we should care for one another until it does. Second, we should persist in remind- ing our institution that our nation is judged as much for what it does domes- tically as internationally. As American diplomats, we cannot separate ourselves from the racial backdrop of our country. It is always lurking when we talk to others about human rights and equality. As one of the scholars in the films says, race in America has been our “Achilles’ heel,” as foreign counterparts watch and judge how we treat our own people. We should always be prepared to address our domes- tic issues and shortcomings with informed honesty and humility. Finally, we should persist in telling our stories. Recording and sharing the experiences of a wide range of Ameri- can diplomats is imperative for both our institution and its staff to understand our successes and failures and make lasting improvements for the future. Just as the labor of learning about these stories has heretofore been left to each individual at State, the labor of recording and sharing these stories has similarly been left to indi- viduals, private entities and offices with very limited staffing and funding. Organizations like the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training and the National Museum of American Diplomacy have been working to gather and share these stories for many years, but more prioritized support from the department is needed because both entities are strug- gling to survive. During my time as deputy director of the National Museum of American Diplomacy, I had the privilege of meet- ing Ed Dudley Jr., the son of Ambassa- dor Edward Dudley. Among the items he donated to NMAD was the original memo his father wrote advocating an end to the “Negro Circuit,” a phenom- enon described in the film. This document and others are now pre- served in the NMAD collection, but how many more stories and artifacts are being lost every day? By finding and preserving these valuable stories, the department can demonstrate care for its people and honor their experiences. Our foreign counter- parts will certainly take notice. Until then, many at State are grateful to Leola Calzolai-Stewart and her team for their persistence in cinematographically sharing the stories of these diplomatic trailblazers. We want to see more films like this. “The American Diplomat” is the type of symbolic torch-passing Dudley, Rowan and Todman knew was so important. Maybe if I had seen this film before meeting Ambassador Todman on that June day, I might have asked more informed questions, listened more atten- tively, thanked himmore and sought his counsel during my career. Sadly, I did not. However, his presence and the presence of the others gathered that day gave me the A Foreign Service welcome party in 2002. From left: FSO Leaford Williams, new FSO Jane Carpenter-Rock, Mrs. Doris Todman, Ambassador Terence Todman and new FSO Brinille Ellis. COURTESYOFJANECARPENTER-ROCK As American diplomats, we cannot separate ourselves from the racial backdrop of our country.