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MAKERS Moment

A Shield Against Racism

A Shield Against Racism

More From Condoleezza

In this video

How Birmingham's black community was able to fortify its children against racism during Rice's youth.

Condoleezza's Biography

Charity of Choice: Center for a New Generation
Sparking Her Interest: She got hooked on international relations after taking a college course with Professor Joseph Korbel, Madeleine Albright's father.
Inspiration from History: If she could meet anyone from history, she would sit down with Paul the Apostle or Martin Luther.
Advice for Public Speaking: (1) Know what you're talking about. (2) Do it a lot. 

Raised in Birmingham, Alabama Rice was on her way to becoming a concert pianist before turning to international relations and developing a career as a respected Soviet specialist.  In late 1989, President George H.W. Bush introduced Rice, then a National Security Council staffer, to Mikhail Gorbachev saying, “This is Condoleezza Rice.  She tells me everything I know about the Soviet Union.” Rice had just turned 35 years old and had by that time sat on the faculty of Stanford’s political science department for eight years. Of course, there was more to come. After returning to Stanford as Provost and accomplishing the monumental feat of restoring the University’s budget to health, she joined the campaign of George W. Bush in 2000.
 
Speaking before the GOP convention that year, she nodded to the odyssey of her life and career by noting that in the Jim Crow South of her youth, “Dixiecrats” had refused to register her father to vote.  After the election, President Bush appointed her National Security Advisor, the first woman to hold the position, and later, Secretary of State, making her the first African American woman to serve in the post.  Rice is back to teaching at her beloved Stanford while running an international consulting business.

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