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Constance Berry Newman

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Information about Constance Berry Newman

Profile image of Constance Berry Newman

Profession

Category:
PoliticalMakers
Occupation(s):
Cabinet Appointee
Federal Government Appointee

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Purple
Favorite Food:
Sushi
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Africa
Favorite Quote:
Really now.

Birthplace

Born:
7/8/1935
Birth Location:
Chicago, Illinois

Profession

Category:
PoliticalMakers
Occupation(s):
Cabinet Appointee
Federal Government Appointee

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Purple
Favorite Food:
Sushi
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Africa
Favorite Quote:
Really now.

Birthplace

Born:
7/8/1935
Birth Location:
Chicago
See how Constance Berry Newman is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Constance Ernestine Berry Newman was born on July 8, 1935, in Chicago, Illinois. Her mother was a social worker and nurse and her father was a physician. Wanting to play a more active role in the civil rights movement, her father relocated the family to Tuskegee, Alabama. Newman attended Tuskegee Institute High School, located on the campus of the Tuskegee University, where she was an honor roll student and active in the Government Club. She earned her high school diploma in 1952. In 1956, Newman earned her B.A. degree in political science from Bates College, where she was active on the debate team and pre-law club. In 1959, she earned her law degree from the University of Minnesota Law School and then moved to France with her husband, who was a member of the United States Air Force.

Returning to the United States, Newman moved to Washington, D.C., in 1962, and despite having a law degree, the only employment she was able to obtain was as a clerk typist with the United States Interior Department. She remained at the Interior Department until 1967, working her way through the ranks serving as a personnel assistant and eventually personnel manager. From 1967 until 1969, Newman worked for the Office of Economic Development working with migrant farmers and then served as Special Assistant to Elliott Richardson, who headed what is now known as the Department of Health and Human Services. In 1971, she was appointed by former President Richard Nixon to serve as director of VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America), the domestic Peace Corps. From 1973 until 1976 she served as the director of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Between 1976 and 1977, Newman oversaw the consumer unit focused on Indian and elderly affairs as the assistant director of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. In 1977, she co-founded Newman and Hermanson Company, a consulting firm specializing in the government regulatory procedures. From 1982 until 1984, Newman worked for the Institute of American Business. In 1984, Newman served as a private consultant to on issues related to Africa, working on a World Bank project in which she lived and worked in the South African country of Lesotho. In 1989, President George H.W. Bush appointed her director of the Office of Personnel Management, and in 1992, she served as Under Secretary of the Smithsonian Institute.

In 2001, Newman was sworn is an Assistant Administrator for Africa of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the government agency that administers economic and humanitarian assistance worldwide. In 2004, Newman was appointed Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs and sworn in by Secretary of State Colin Powell. She resigned in April 2005.

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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Constance Newman interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Constance Newman lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Constance Newman recalls her mother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Constance Newman recalls her father and the family's move to Alabama
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Constance Newman talks about about her ancestors
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Constance Newman contrasts experiences in Minnesota and Alabama during her childhood
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Constance Newman talks about her siblings and memories of family life during her childhood
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Constance Newman recalls neighborhoods from her childhood as well as sights, smells and sounds
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Constance Newman discusses her early formal education
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Constance Newman talks about her career aspirations and her impressions of Thurgood Marshall
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Constance Newman details her early rejection of organized religion
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Constance Newman discusses her grammar school years in Tuskegee, Alabama
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Constance Newman recalls her youth and her close relationship with her brother
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Constance Newman talks about her high school experiences in Tuskegee, Alabama
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Constance Newman recalls her decision to attend Bates College in Lewiston, Maine
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Constance Newman describes her experiences at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Constance Newman talks about her father's sudden death and her family's move back to Minnesota
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Constance Newman recalls her experiences at the University of Minnesota Law School
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Constance Newman describes her year residency in France after law school
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Constance Newman details her work with the U.S. Department of the Interior and the Kerner Commission
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Constance Newman talks about various governmental positions she's held
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Constance Newman describes her work with the Department of Heath and Human Services in the late 1960s
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Constance Newman recalls her duties at VISTA in the 1970s
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Constance Newman details the rigors of the Senate confirmation process
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Constance Newman discusses governmental opportunities for women in the 1970s and forming her consulting company
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Constance Newman details her work with the African Development Foundation
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Constance Newman describes her work with the Office of Personnel Management and her appointment to the Smithsonian
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Constance Newman talks about her business called Upstart, part I
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Constance Newman talks about her business called Upstart, part 2
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Constance Newman details her involvement with USAID
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Constance Newman discusses the perception of Africa in the United States and in the African American community
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Constance Newman talks about U.S. interests in the Middle East in relation to those in Africa
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Constance Newman expresses her hopes and concerns for Africa
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Constance Newman discusses her current role as the Assistant Secretary of State for Africa
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Constance Newman talks about the highlights of her life and career
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Constance Newman reflects on her legacy and how she wishes to be remembered