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Dr. Henry W. Furniss, Cônsulafro-norte-americano na Bahia, 1898-1905

Author(s): Paul S. Losch

Journal: Afro-Ásia
ISSN 0002-0591

Issue: 40;
Start page: 223;
Date: 2009;
Original page

Dr. Henry Watson Furniss served as United States Consul in Bahia, Brazil from 1898 to 1905, and he distinguished himself in the post through his dedication to improved commercial and scientific relations between the two countries. His diplomatic career was especially remarkable because he was one of very few employees of the U.S. State Department during this time period who was identified as African-American. His time in Bahia allowed him to observe and compare the systems of racial distinctions used in the United States and Brazil. In his own life, Furniss often had to adopt different racial identities as required by his circumstances. His identification as an African-American diplomat was important for political purposes, but also presented him with certain difficulties. By examining his life and work today, we are able to identify some of the changes related to racial issues that have taken place during the last century.
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