Ras Imru’s “colorful” moment in Washington

On this date in September 20th, 1948,  the Associated Press reported  that “the Ethiopian Legation rejected as “unacceptable” today the state Department explanation of an incident in which the Ethiopian minister was asked to change seats at the science meeting”. The incident occurred earlier on Se…

ptember 13.   An earlier AP article on September 17th reported “The science group expressed regret to the Legation for the “serious affront”.   It explained that an usher was requested by a woman who was not identified, to ask the Minister to leave the diplomatic box.” The African American weekly magazine Jet was more blunt, noting: “The Ethiopian legation rejected a state department explanation for an indignity suffered by Ethiopian minister to the U.S. Ras Imru. His seat was changed in Washington’s Constitution Hall because of his color”. The matter is briefly discussed  in “Langston Hughes and the “Chicago Defender”: Eassays ln Race, Politics, and Culture,1942-62″, which explains the incident occurred before thee President of the United States was about to enter the building to attend the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences. (Photo: Gen. Dwight Eisenhower & Ras Imru.   Leul Ras Imru Haile Selassie 1892 – 1980) was an Ethiopian noble, soldier, and diplomat. He was also the cousin of Emperor Haile Selassie and briefly served as acting Prime Minister for 3 days in 1960 during a cout de etat and assassination of Prime Minister Abebe Aregai.  Ras Imru was an advocate of land reform and widely popular, andq became the only member of the Imperial dynasty to be given a state funeral by the Derg.)

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