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Dec 10, 2012

Carolina Connections

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U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, who may very well be President Obama’s choice to replace Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, has South Carolina connections. Her father, Emmett Rice, was born in Florence, S.C., on Dec. 21, 1919. He attended segregated schools before moving with his family to New York in his teens.

Even though he was a pioneering economist who became a member of the Federal Reserve Board, his daughter recalled his belief that segregation “had constrained him from being all he could be,” she was quoted as saying in Dr. Rice’s Washington Post obituary in March 2011. “The psychological hangover of that took him decades to overcome. His most fervent wish was that we not have that psychological baggage.”

Dr. Rice said so himself in a 1984 interview with Ebony magazine. The notion of working at the Fed “never crossed my mind” during his youth, he told the magazine. “That’s one of the great horrors of racial discrimination. It would have been totally unrealistic for me to prepare to go to the Federal Reserve.”

Our young people need to hear more stories about the people, known and unknown, who overcame seemingly insurmountable odds to attain new heights. Yet they did not forget how they began.