Thursday, April 10, 2003

Ohio Moments

Councilman went on to serve as ambassador


On April 10, 1955, Cincinnatian Jesse DeWitt Locker, U.S. ambassador to Liberia, died of a cerebral hemorrhage at his post in Monrovia, the capital city.

Locker was a six-term city councilman when President Dwight D. Eisenhower appointed him in 1953 as ambassador to the tiny West African republic. Liberia was colonized by African-Americans in 1822 and became a republic in 1847.

Locker was born in College Hill in 1891 and received a law degree from Howard University in Washington. He practiced in Cincinnati and served as president of the segregated Hamilton County Bar Association for Negro Lawyers. Elected to Cincinnati City Council in 1941, Locker was the third African-American councilman and the first to have finished high in the voting. A lifelong Republican, he ran third behind James Garfield Stewart and Willis D. Gradison, and ahead of fourth-place Charles P. Taft. Locker's body was flown back to Cincinnati and a public viewing was held in council chambers.

Rebecca Goodman

E-mail or call (513) 768-8361.

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