A skillful ambassador, Mercer Cook

Mercer Cook
Mon, 1903-03-30

*On this date in 1903, Mercer Cook was born. He was an African American educator and ambassador.

Cook was the son of Will Marion Cook and singer Abbie Mitchell and was born in Washington D.C. He received his B.A. degree from Amherst College in 1925 and a diploma from the University of Paris in 1926, as well as an M.A. and Ph.D. from Brown University in 1931 and 1936. Cook taught French at Atlanta University for seven years, at which time he wrote and edited a number of books in English and French. Most notable were Le Noir (1934), Portraits Americans (1939), and Five French Negro Authors (1943).

In 1961, President Kennedy appointed Cook ambassador to the Republic of Niger, a position he held for three years. From 1964 to 1966, he was special envoy to Senegal and Gambia. In 1969, he co-authored with Stephen Henderson The Militant Black Writer in Africa and the United States. The following year he retired from active teaching. Mercer Cook died of pneumonia in Washington D.C. on October 4, 1987.

Reference Library of Black America Volumes 1 through 5
Edited by Mpho Mabunda
Copyright 1998, Gale Research, Detroit, MI

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Cook, Mercer