Posted by McKenzie Marshall
The importance of increasing diversity in America is stronger than ever. Ambassador Theodore R. Britton was among the first to African Americans to integrate the US Marine Corps. During his enlistment he served in World War II and the Korean War.
Britton says that his enjoyment of reading enabled him to relate to different people and cultures around the world. “I cannot single out one country that I enjoyed more than the other,” Britton said. “I have learned something in every one and met new people in every one,” Britton continued.
The Ambassador says the attack at the gay Orlando nightclub is a wake up call for us. “As a country, unfortunately, we are still suffering from a legacy of our past; focusing on our differences instead of our similarities,” Britton said.
Britton was born in North Augusta, SC, his family relocated to New York where he met his favorite teacher Mr. Stephens. The teacher told Britton that he wanted him to be a gentleman and a scholar.
“In high school he took me under his wing,” Britton said, “He never asked me what I wanted to be, he never mentioned jobs or income, he just said I want you to be a gentleman and a scholar” Britton continued.
After high school Britton joined the United States Marine Corps. “I was offered the Army or the Navy and I said no I want the Marine Corps,” Britton said.
In the beginning he did not appreciate the tools and skills gained from being in the Marine Corps until recent years where he formed a greater appreciation. “They helped build my confidence,” Britton said. “They told me to stand up straight and to speak loud and clear, sometimes people would think I was somebody of importance,” Britton continued.
After returning home from the Marine Corps Britton graduated from New York University with a bachelors degree in banking and finance. This allowed him to serve as a mortgage officer for Carver Federal Savings and Loan Association.
He was later nominated by President Gerald R. Ford to serve as US ambassador to Barbados and Grenada. Ford also nominated him to serve as a US special representative to Antiqua, Dominica, St. Christopher-Nevis-Anguilla, St. Lucia and St. Vincent.
Britton stressed the importance of furthering your education, specifically studying other cultures. “I was knowledgeable with different cultures which made people feel comfortable around me, which allowed me to be a apart of the conversation,” Britton said. “If you couldn’t relate then you were excluded,” Britton continued.