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The American Diplomat premieres Tuesday, February 15, 2022, 9:00-10:00 p.m. ET on PBS.

The American Diplomat explores the lives and legacies of three African-American ambassadors - Edward R. Dudley, Terence Todman and Carl Rowan - who pushed past historical and institutional racial barriers to reach high-ranking appointments in the Truman, Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations.

At the height of the civil rights movement in the United States, they were asked to represent the best of American ideals abroad while facing discrimination at home. Colloquially referred to as "pale, male, and Yale," the U.S. State Department fiercely maintained and cultivated the Foreign Service's elitist character and was one of the last federal agencies to desegregate. Through rare archival footage, in-depth oral histories, and interviews with family members, colleagues and diplomats, the film paints a portrait of three men who created a lasting impact on the content and character of the Foreign Service and changed American diplomacy forever.

Directed by Leola Calzolai-Stewart, narrated by Andre Braugher, and executive produced by Cameo George, The American Diplomat premieres Tuesday, February 15, 2022, 9:00-10:00 p.m. ET (check local listings) on AMERICAN EXPERIENCE on PBS, and the PBS Video App.

On March 12, 1947, President Harry Truman declared in a speech to Congress that the United States would protect democracy and freedom around the world. At the same time, Americans grappled with widespread racial violence and segregation at home. As the Cold War escalated, so did the Soviet Union's use of racially violent imagery and propaganda to turn the world's non-aligned (and largely non-white) nations against the U.S. The appointment of Black ambassadors to the historically white and historically elitist State Department would be an important step in changing America's face to the world. Each ambassador - Dudley, Todman and Rowan - would harness the opportunity to serve at the highest levels of U.S. diplomacy to bring America closer to its own ideals.

"At AMERICAN EXPERIENCE, we like to tell stories of people who have impacted history but may not be well-known," said Cameo George, executive producer of American Experience. "As diplomats, Edward R. Dudley, Terence Todman and Carl Rowan were tasked with spreading democracy around the world, yet they were unable to enjoy its full benefits back home. Each man found his own way to work from inside the State Department to make fundamental changes in the Foreign Service, leaving a lasting legacy on the agency."

Watch the new trailer here:

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