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*On this date, in 1903, Mercer Cook was born. He was a Black educator and ambassador.
Cook was the son of Will Marion Cook and singer Abbie Mitchell born in Washington, D.C. He received his B.A. degree from Amherst College in 1925, a diploma from the University of Paris in 1926, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Brown University in 1931 and 1936.
Cook taught French at Clark/Atlanta University for seven years, writing and editing several English and French books. Most notable were Le Noir (1934), Portraits Americans (1939), and Five French Negro Authors (1943).
In 1961, President Kennedy appointed Cook ambassador to the Republic of Niger, a position he held for three years. From 1964 to 1966, he was a special envoy to Senegal and Gambia. In 1969, he co-authored with Stephen Henderson The Militant Black Writer in Africa and the United States. The following year he retired from active teaching. Mercer Cook died of pneumonia in Washington, D.C., on October 4, 1987.