Delano Lewis, former National Public Radio President and U.S. ambassador to South Africa, passed away at age 84.
His career: Delano Lewis was named president of NPR in 1993, making history as the first Black person in the role.
* He led a distinguished career, holding roles at the Justice Department, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and as a legislative assistant to U.S. Senator Edward Brooke and Representative Walter Fauntroy.
* During his tenure, Lewis played a key role in advocating against the elimination of public broadcasting funds, and attempted to merge NPR with Public Radio International.
His life and background: Born in 1938 in Arkansas City, Kansas, Lewis grew up in a segregated community and manifested an interest in civil rights law at a young age.
* He graduated law school from the Washburn University School of Law in Topeka in 1963.
* In the late 60s, Lewis served as associate director and country director for the Peace Corps in Nigeria and Uganda.
Later years: After leaving NPR in 1998, Lewis planned to retire but was called upon again by the government.
* Vice President Al Gore nominated him to be the U.S. ambassador to the Republic of South Africa, a position he held from 1999 to 2001.
* His 2019 autobiography, “No Condition Is Permanent: A Collection of Memories”, recounts these experiences.
In their words: NPR CEO John Lansing praised Lewis’ “remarkable career” of public service.
* “[A] loyal NPR listener and supporter of public radio, he joked about the lengthy process to become head of NPR saying: ‘I never worked so hard for a pay cut in my life.’ The NPR and public radio family join his family and friends, who will miss him dearly,” Lansing said in a statement.
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