Bassett, Ebenezer Don Carlos

Ebenezer Don Carlos Bassett (1833-1908)

Diplomat and educator, minister to Haiti and the Dominican Republic (1869-1879)

Born in Litchfield, Connecticut, Ebenezer Bassett received his education at Connecticut State Normal School, Yale College, and the University of Pennsylvania. He was employed as a high school principal in New Haven, Connecticut, and Philadelphia. In 1869, President Ulysses S. Grant appointed Bassett to the post of Minister Resident of the United States to Haiti, the first diplomatic appointment of an African-American by the federal government. In 1879, he served as Consul-General of Haiti in New York. He returned to Haiti in 1888. Upon returning to the United States, Bassett published the Handbook of Haiti in 1892.

(From: Blockson, Charles L. Philadelphia's Guide: African-American State Historical Markers. Philadelphia: Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection / William Penn Foundation, 1992.)