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Rice, Condoleezza

Rice, Condoleezza

November 14, 1954 Birmingham, Alabama

National security adviser

Condoleezza Rice became one of the most influential women in the world of global politics when President George W. Bush (1946) named her as his national security adviser in December of 2000. Her role became extremely important after the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York City and the Pentagon in Washington. Rice has played a crucial part in shaping the most aggressive U.S. foreign policy in modern history, with wars launched against Afghanistan and Iraq during her time in office.

Became kindergarten piano prodigy

Rice grew up during a deeply segregated era of American history. She was born in 1954 in Birmingham, Alabama, to parents who were both educators. Her father, John Wesley Rice Jr., was a football coach and high school guidance counselor at one of Birmingham's black public schools. He was also an ordained Presbyterian minister in Birmingham's Westminster Presbyterian Church, which had been founded by his own father, also a minister. Rice's mother, Angelena, was a teacher and church organist. Angelena loved opera, and so named her only child after an Italian-language term, con dolcezza. It is used in musical notation and means "to play with sweetness."

Birmingham was clearly divided into black and white spheres during Rice's childhood, and the two worlds rarely met. But her parents were determined that their only child would grow up to be an accomplished and well-rounded young woman. Rice began piano lessons at the age of three, and gave her first recital a year later. She became somewhat of a musical prodigy in the Birmingham area, performing often at school and community events. In addition to long hours spent practicing the piano, she also took French and Spanish lessons after school, and later became a competitive figure skater. "My whole community was determined not to let their children's horizons be limited by growing up in segregated Birmingham," Rice recalled in an interview with television personality Oprah Winfrey (1954) for O, The Oprah Magazine. "Sometimes I think they overcompensated because they wanted their kids to be so much better."

"I find football so interesting strategically. It's the closest thing to war. What you're really doing is taking and yielding territory, and you have certain strategies and tactics."

Not surprisingly, Rice earned good grades in school, even at an early age. Attending segregated schools in Birmingham, she skipped the first grade entirely and was later promoted from the sixth directly into the eighth grade. Her city became a battleground during the emerging civil rights movement in the late 1950s, and the strife directly touched Rice's early life. In 1963 the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, situated in the middle of Birmingham's black community, was the site of a tragic firebombing that killed four little girls who were attending Sunday school. Rice knew two of them.

Finished high school at fifteen

Rice's family moved to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, around 1965, when she was eleven years old. Her father had taken a job there as a college administrator. They later settled in Denver, Colorado, where she attended an integrated public school for the first time in her life, beginning with the tenth grade. She finished her last year of high school and her first year at the University of Denver at the same time.

"The Most Powerful Woman in the World"

U.S. national security adviser Condoleezza Rice has sometimes been described as the most influential woman in global politics. A university professor and expert on Russian history, Rice is known for her cool, calm manner. When Bush appointed her to the job in 2000, some wondered if she was qualified for it. But Janne Nolan, a friend of Rice's from her early days as a Stanford University professor, told New Yorker writer Nicholas Lemann that Rice had a solid track record for proving herself. "I've watched it over and over againthe sequential underestimation of Condi," Nolan told Lemann. "It just gets worse and worse. She's always thought of as underqualified and in over her head, and she always kicks everyone's butt."

A job such as Rice's requires nerves of steel, and the French- and Russian-fluent academic, whose friends and family call her "Condi," fits the bill. She explained in an interview with Essence writer Isabel Wilkerson, "My parents went to great lengths to make sure I was confident. My mother was also a great believer in being proper." As an African American and a professional, Rice has experienced the occasional racial snub. She recalled one occasion when she asked to see some of the nicer jewelry in a store, and the saleswoman mumbled a rude remark under her breath. As Rice recalled to Wilkerson, she told the woman, "'Let's get one thing clear. If you could afford anything in here, you wouldn't be behind this counter. So I strongly suggest you do your job.'"

The confidence that Rice's parents instilled in her comes out in other ways, too. She favors suits by Italian designer Giorgio Armani, but the trim, fit national security adviser prefers her skirts to hit just above the knee. Her favorite lipstick comes from the Yves Saint Laurent cosmetics counter. When asked about her off-duty hours, Rice told Wilkerson that she watches sports and goes shopping. Wilkerson wondered about the Secret Service security detail that accompanies Rice in public, but Rice responded with a humor rarely on display in public, "They can handle shopping."

For years Rice dreamed of becoming a concert pianist. At the University of Denver she was originally a music major, but eventually gave up on her dream after spending a summer at music camp. "Technically, I can play most anything," she explained to Winfrey about her decision to change majors. "But I'll never play it the way the truly great pianists do." She fell in love with political science and Russian history after she took a class taught by Josef Korbel (19091977), a refugee from Czechoslovakia. In the 1990s Korbel's daughter, Madeleine Albright (1937), became the first female U.S. Secretary of State.

Rice began taking Russian-language and history courses, and became fascinated by Cold War politics. The term refers to the hostilities between the United States and the world's first Communist state, Soviet Russia, in the years following World War II (193945). Each "superpower" tried to win allies to its brand of politics, and in the process each side built up a large arsenal of nuclear weapons. After she graduated from the University of Denver in 1974, Rice enrolled at Notre Dame University in Indiana, where she earned a master's degree in government and international studies.

Drifted for a time

Years later Rice admitted, in the interview with Winfrey, "I am still someone with no long-term plan." To begin her post-college career, she lined up a job as an executive assistantin other words, a secretaryto a vice president at Honeywell, a large electronics corporation. But a company reorganization ended that career possibility. For a time she gave piano lessons. Then her former professor, Josef Korbel, suggested that she return to school, and she began work on a Ph.D. degree at the University of Denver.

Rice was a promising new talent in her field even before she earned a doctorate in 1981. Her dissertation investigated the relationship between the Czechoslovak Communist Party and its army. Soon she was offered a fellowship at Stanford University. No other woman had ever been offered a fellowship to its Center for International Security and Arms Control. She eagerly accepted, and the following year she was hired by Stanford to teach political science.

Rice became a tenured professor at Stanford in 1987. She was also a rising star in U.S. foreign policy circles. She served as the informal campaign adviser to a Colorado Democrat, Gary Hart (1936), during his 1984 bid for the White House. She came to know a foreign policy expert, Brent Scowcroft (1925), and was offered her first official job in government. Scowcroft had been named national security adviser by George H. W. Bush (1924), who was elected president in 1988. Scowcroft then hired Rice as a staff member on the National Security Council.

Served in first Bush White House

The National Security Council helps analyze data and plan American foreign policy. It looks at potential global threats from hostile nations, and works to make strategic alliances with friendly ones. Rice eventually became a special assistant to the first President Bush, serving as his expert on Soviet and East European affairs. It was an important time in American foreign policy. The political system of the Soviet Union was crumbling, and by 1991 the Communist governments allied with Soviet Russia had been peacefully ousted throughout the Eastern Bloc (as the communist nations in Eastern Europe were known).

But Rice tired of the toll the White House job took on her personal life, and she resigned in 1991. She went back to teaching at Stanford, and in 1993 became the university's first-ever female provost, which essentially made her second-in-command at the school. She was also the first African American to be selected for the position. "That was the toughest job I ever had," she told Nicholas Lemann in a New Yorker profile. She was charged with eliminating a large budget deficit, and the university had also been accused of misusing government grant money intended for military research. There was internal turmoil as well, and some faculty members complained about Rice's no-nonsense manner. "I told people, 'I don't do committees,'" she explained to Lemann.

Rice remained on friendly terms with the Bush family and came to know one of the sons, George W., during visits to the Bush summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine. In 1999 George W. Bush decided to try and win the Republican Party's nomination as its presidential candidate for 2000. He hired Rice to lead his team of foreign policy advisers, and she quit the Stanford job. She began working closely with Bush, who was governor of Texas at the time and had very little other political experience, especially in foreign relations.

Bush won his party's nomination and later was declared the winner of a hotly contested November election. The president-elect immediately named Rice as his national security adviser. Though she was not the first African American ever to hold the postBush's new Secretary of State, Colin L. Powell (1937), had held the job for a year in the late 1980sshe was the first woman ever to serve in the position. The national security adviser helps shape American foreign policy, both on the public front and behind the scenes, in strategy sessions with the president and his team.

Plotted strategy from underground bunker

Rice's duties also included coming up with ideas to combat threats to American interests at home and overseas. This became an important part of her job on the morning of September 11, 2001. She was in a meeting at the White House when an aide notified her that a plane had struck the World Trade Center. She quickly ended the meeting and notified the President, who was in Florida. After a second plane crashed into the other tower of the New York landmark, she and other key personnel gathered in what is known as the White House "Situation Room." When a third plane crashed into the Pentagon Building, which is the command center for the U.S. Armed Forces, Rice and the others retreated to an underground bunker. The attack was the deadliest ever to occur on American soil.

Rice worked long days in the months afterward to shape U.S. foreign policy. The first order of business involved Afghanistan, which was suspected of harboring the shadowy Islamic fundamentalist group known as Al Qaeda. It was founded by a Saudi exile, Osama bin Laden (1957), who quickly took responsibility for the 9/11 attacks. Less than a month later, U.S. forces invaded Afghanistan. Rice also worked to create a new policy for dealing with longtime Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein (1937). The Bush White House believed that Hussein had weapons of mass destruction that could be used against the United States. In March of 2003 the United States invaded Iraq.

The fourth year of the Bush Administration was a difficult one for Rice and other top White House and Pentagon personnel. Though Hussein had been captured and the war in Iraq was officially declared over, U.S. troops stationed in Iraq had become the target of repeated attacks by insurgents. And American military operatives had yet to capture bin Laden. In April of 2004 Rice was called to testify before a special panel that had been set up to investigate the 9/11 attacks, namely whether or not the attacks could have been prevented and how the emergency response to such an attack could be improved. There were charges that U.S. intelligence officials may have come across suspicious information but failed to put the pieces together. Rice sat before the official 9/11 Commission, in front of a barrage of television cameras, and held her ground. "There was nothing demonstrating or showing that something was coming in the United States," she asserted, according to the New York Times. "If there had been something, we would have acted on it."

Dreams of top NFL job

Rice lives in a luxury apartment complex in Washington known as Watergate. Her mother died in 1985, and her father died the same month that Bush named her to the national security adviser post. She attends church regularly, and is known to be close to the President and his wife, Laura (1946). At the Maryland presidential retreat known as Camp David, she has been known to watch hours of televised sports with President Bush. Both are dedicated football fans, and Rice has also been known to spend an entire day on her own watching college and pro football games.

Rice's name has been mentioned as a possible future vice-presidential candidate. Although she has joked that she would love to serve as commissioner of the National Football League, she has also said that she looks forward to returning to teaching once her service to the Bush White House comes to an end. "I miss my kids," she said in the interview with Winfrey. "In a class of 20, there are always two or three for whom the lights go on. When that happens, I think I've done for them what Dr. Korbel did for me."

For More Information

Periodicals

Bumiller, Elisabeth. "A Partner in Shaping an Assertive Foreign Policy." New York Times (January 7, 2004): p. A1.

"Condi Rice Can't Lose: George W. Bush's Foreign-Policy Adviser Is a Future Superstar. But Can She Save Bush from Himself?" Time (September 27, 1999): p. 51.

Lemann, Nicholas. "Without a Doubt. (National-Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice)." New Yorker (October 14, 2002).

Lewis, Neil A. "Bush Adviser Backs Use of Race in College Admissions." New York Times (Jan 18, 2003): p. A14.

Oppel, Richard A. Jr. "Bush Adviser Gets National Security Post." New York Times (December 18, 2000): p. A1.

Sciolino, Elaine. "Compulsion To AchieveCondoleezza Rice." New York Times (December 18, 2000): p. A1.

"Sticking to Their Scripts." New York Times (April 9, 2004): p. A1.

Wilkerson, Isabel. "The Most Powerful Woman in the World: As National Security Adviser, Condoleezza Rice Has the Ear of the President. So Who Exactly Is This Daughter of 1960's Birmingham, and What Does She Bring to the Table?" Essence (February 2002): p. 114.

Winfrey, Oprah. "Oprah Talks to Condoleezza Rice: Our Calm, Cool, Collected National Security Adviser on Downtime (Piano, Football, Shopping) and Uptime (Faith, Unity, Power)And Why the Terrorists Have Already Lost. (The O Interview)." O, The Oprah Magazine (February 2002): p. 118.

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Condoleezza Rice

Condoleezza Rice

Condoleezza Rice (born 1954) is a classic over-achiever. Growing up in segregated Birmingham, Alabama, Rice refused to let the boundaries set by society limit her. She has become a close adviser to President George W. Bush, involved in decisions that shape the future of the United States of America.

Rice Groomed For Success

Condoleezza Rice was born in Birmingham, Alabama, on November 14, 1954. Her father, John Wesley Rice, was a school guidance counselor during the week and a Presbyterian minister on the weekends. Her mother, Angelena, was a schoolteacher. The family lived in a middle-class, black community called Titusville, where education was a high priority for children who were expected to succeed regardless of any prejudices or boundaries.

John and Angelena Rice tried to give everything possible to their young daughter, providing intangible support by developing her sense of pride, faith, and responsibility. "They wanted the world," Connie Rice (a second cousin to Rice) said in a biography by Antonia Felix entitled Condi: The Condoleezza Rice Story. "They wanted Rice to be free of any kind of shackles, mentally or physically, and they wanted her to own the world. And to give a child that kind of entitlement, you have to love her to death and make her believe that she can fly." John Rice coached football and taught his daughter everything he could about tactics and strategy. Rice grew to love the game and would follow football wherever she went.

Terror in Birmingham

In the early 1960s, the civil rights movement landed in Birmingham. Schoolchildren were encouraged to participate in marches and other demonstrations. The Rice family did not join in but sometimes went down to watch history unfold. "My father was not a march-in-the street preacher," Rice said in the biography. "He saw no reason to put children at risk. He would never put his own child at risk." Unfortunately, sometimes the police would use fire hoses to spray the children, or dogs would chase the children. Some of the young adults arrested were John Rice's students. Television cameras caught it all on tape for the nation to see.

Events that were stirring the emotions of the nation were occurring right in Birmingham when Rice was only eight years old. Vigilantes bombed the home of a family friend, Arthur Shores, twice in the fall of 1963. On September 15, 1963, the 16th Street Baptist Church was bombed, killing four young girls attending Sunday school. One of the girls, Denise Nair, was Rice's friend from school. Rice had heard the explosion and felt the shudder of the blast. She remembers her father and the other men from the neighborhood organizing to patrol the streets at night with shotguns. She was growing up with terrorism. The Rice family watched on television when President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act on July 2, 1964. Not long after, the family went to dinner at a previously all-white restaurant in Birmingham.

Rice was a bright student and skipped both first and seventh grade. Her parents encouraged her to do well in everything she tried, and they provided lessons in piano, ballet, violin, French, and skating, and instruction in dress, grooming, and manners. In 1965, she was the first black student to attend music classes at Birmingham Southern Conservatory of Music.

When Rice was 11 years old, her father accepted a position in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, as a college administrator. Two years after that, he accepted a position as vice chancellor at the University of Denver in Colorado. For the first time, Rice attended integrated school at St. Mary's Academy, a private Catholic school. During her first year, a school counselor advised her that she was not college material, despite her excellent grades and musical and athletic accomplishments. "Condi was stunned, but her parents— immune to talk of limitation or failure—didn't flinch," stated Felix in the biography. "They assured her that the assessment was wrong and that she should just ignore it."

Became Interested in Politics

At age 15, Rice graduated from high school and started attending the University of Denver, hoping to become a concert pianist. She won a young artist's competition and was invited to play Mozart's Piano Concerto in D Minor with the Denver Symphony Orchestra. Although she was a talented performer, she knew that the competition for professional performers was stiff. Partway through college, she decided she would never become a concert pianist. She took a course called "Introduction to International Politics." Her professor, Dr. Josef Korbel, a Soviet specialist and the father of Madeleine Albright (who later became secretary of state under President Bill Clinton), inspired her. She changed her major to political science. Rice was an avid student, and in 1974, she earned her bachelor's degree in political science (cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa) at age 19. She was awarded the Political Science Honors Award for "outstanding accomplishment and promise in the field of political science." She went on to get her Master's degree in government and international studies at Notre Dame University in just one year. She returned to Denver, unsure of what to do next.

"I thought I had a job as executive assistant to a vice president of Honeywell," she told Nicholas Lemann in the New Yorker. "Before I could go to work, they reorganized, and I lost the job." She taught piano lessons and applied to law school. Then, when she was down at the university, Dr. Korbel recommended that she take some classes. By 1981, she had received her Ph.D. in international studies from the University of Denver.

She was awarded a fellowship at Stanford's Center for International Security and Arms Control. It was the first time the Center had ever admitted a woman. The fellowship was supposed to be for one year, but Rice made a big impression and was offered a job as an assistant professor of political science at Stanford University, which she accepted. In her classes, Rice often used football analogies in her lectures, comparing war to football. Her classes were popular and attracted many athletes.

To Washington

In 1984, Rice attended a faculty seminar where Brent Scowcroft, then head of President Reagan's Commission of Strategic Forces, spoke on arms control. During the dinner following the seminar, Rice asked Scowcroft some challenging questions. Scowcroft was impressed. "I thought, This is somebody I need to get to know. It's an intimidating subject. Here's this young girl, and she's not at all intimidated," he told the New Yorker 's Lemann. Scowcroft began arranging for her to attend seminars and conferences. In 1986, she was appointed as the special assistant to the Director-Joint Chiefs of Staff position at the Pentagon through a Council on Foreign Relations Fellowship. Then, in 1989, when Scowcroft became National Security Advisor, he appointed Rice to the National Security Council as the chief authority on the Soviet Union. She was involved in forming the American reaction to the fall of the Berlin Wall, the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact, and the demise of what was then considered the Soviet Union.

During this time period, Rice had been doing a lot of writing. In 1984, she published Uncertain Allegiance: The Soviet Union and the Czechoslovak Army 1948-1963. She also wrote The Gorbachev Era with Alexander Dallin in 1986. Rice joined the Board of Directors of the Stanford Mid-Peninsula Urban Coalition in 1986. The organization provided vocational and academic assistance to minority students at high risk of dropping out of high school.

Rice returned to Stanford in 1991. She was appointed to the board of directors of Chevron. She apparently served them well, as they named a tanker after her in 1993, and she went to Rio de Janeiro to christen it. She also served on the boards for Trans America Corporation and Hewlett Packard.

Rice Chosen as Provost

During meetings to help select a new president for Stanford, Rice impressed the man who was given the job, Gerhard Casper. He appointed her to the number-two position of provost. She entered the position during a difficult time. There were large deficits in the budget and cuts were necessary. Rice took on the job with her usual efficiency. Forbes reported, "In her first year, Rice, 39, balanced the university's $410 million unrestricted budget without dipping into reserves for the first time in six years." When she stepped down, six years later, the $40 million deficit had become a surplus.

In 1995, she and Philip Zelikow co-authored, Germany Unified and Europe Transformed: A Study in Statecraft. The book was awarded the Akira Iriye International History Book Award for 1994-1995.

Rice and President George W. Bush

In July of 1999, she took a leave of absence from her provost position to become the foreign policy advisor for Texas Governor George W. Bush's presidential campaign. When Bush won the election, he tapped Rice for the position of National Security Advisor. As National Security Adviser, Rice has to balance some strong personalities and viewpoints and pull all of the information together for the president. Evan Thomas of Newsweek reported, "By law, the secretary of state is the president's chief foreign-policy advisor; the national security adviser runs no department and commands no troops. But he or she (Rice was the first-ever woman to get the job) is usually the first to see the president in the morning and the last at night."

On September 11, 2001, Rice immediately recognized the planes striking the World Trade Center as a terrorist attack. She called a meeting of the National Security Council. When a plane hit the Pentagon, they were ordered to evacuate the White House and take shelter in an underground bunker. She made calls throughout the day to heads of state throughout the world, assuring them that the United States government was up and running. She was suddenly thrust into the spotlight, as the Bush administration evaluated their next steps.

Rice works very hard not to reveal her own views, but instead to gather the information provided and present it to the president. Newsweek 's Thomas stated, "She has often said that she is 'determined to leave this town' without anyone outside Bush's tight inner circle ever figuring out where she stands on major issues. She claims that she 'rarely' tells the president her private opinions, and if she does, she never shares her advice to the president, not even with her closest aides."

Rice is very dedicated to her physical fitness and gets up at 5 a.m. to exercise. She has never married, has no brothers or sisters, and her parents have passed away. Her job is the main focus in her life, and she regularly works 15-16 hour days. She relaxes by playing the piano. She enjoys shopping, and Newsweek 's Thomas reported that Saks Fifth

Avenue has been known to open up for her after hours. Her aides affectionately refer to her as the "Warrior Princess," according to Thomas. Her faith is strong, and she prays every night and sometimes during the day as well. She is passionate about football and often states that she would someday like to become the commissioner of the National Football League.

Newsweek 's Thomas summed it up when he stated in an article on September 9, 2002, "At an early age, she drove right through the boundaries of race and chased excellence and accomplishment all the way to the northwest corner office of the West Wing."

Books

Felix, Antonia, Condi: The Condoleezza Rice Story, Newmarket Press, 2002.

Periodicals

Forbes, October 24, 1994.

National Review, August 30, 1999.

Newsweek, September 9, 2002; December 16, 2002.

New Yorker, October 14, 2002.

Online

"Biography of Dr. Condoleezza Rice: National Security Advisor," The White House,http://www.whitehouse.gov/nsc/ricebio.html (January 15, 2003).

"Condoleezza Rice: U.S. national security adviser," CNN.com, http://www.cnn.com (January 15, 2003). □

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Rice, Condoleezza 1954–

Condoleezza Rice 1954

Political scientist, foreign policy strategist

At a Glance

Appointed to the National Security Council

Returned to Career in Academics

Rice, Racism, and Sexism

Selected writings

Sources

As a child of educators, she became an educator, but Condoleezza Rice does not limit her teaching to a school setting. In the late 1980s, as director of Soviet and East European affairs on the National Security Council, she explained world events to the president of the United States; in the early 1990s, she was elected to the board of directors of several multinational corporations. Rice teaches political science at Stanford University, is a leading expert on Soviet and East European politics and military affairs, and is called upon by many in public office and private business to put her academic knowledge to practical use.

Rice grew up in Birmingham, Alabama. She traces her interest in political science to her parents preoccupation with politics and the political discussions held at home. Academic achievement was also important to her from the beginning. Her parents taught her she could, as she told Ebony, do and be whatever I wanted, and she succeeded at a variety of activities from an early age. Her mother gave her piano lessons; she was playing Bach and Beethoven almost before her feet reached the pedals. She studied figure skating. She took the most challenging classes at school and excelled.

Entering the University of Denver at the age of fifteen, Rice first majored in piano performance but switched to political science when she realized she would never be a great pianist. She graduated magna cum laude when she was nineteen. She then when on to receive her masters degree from the University of Notre Dame in 1975, later returning to Denver for her doctorate in international studies.

In 1981, Rice started teaching political science at Stanford University and gradually became well known for her expertise in Soviet affairs. In 1984 she won a teaching award at Stanford. She was a fellow at the Hoover Institute, an internationally known think tank at Stanford, during the 1985-86 academic year. Her books The Soviet Union and the Czechoslovak Army: 1948-1983 and The Gorbachev Era were published in 1985 and 1986, respectively. In 1987 she served as an advisor to the Joint Chiefs of Staff on strategic nuclear policy and briefed air force generals on strategy and force posture in the Soviet military. The following year, at the invitation of the U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union, she traveled to Bulgaria to speak to Soviet officials and diplomats on arms control policy.

At a Glance

Born November 14, 1954; raised in Birmingham, AL; daughter of John Wesley and Angelena Ray Rice. Education: University of Denver, B.A. (magna cum laude), 1974, Ph.D., 1981; University of Notre Dame, M.A., 1975. Politics: Republican.

U.S. Department of State, Washington, DC, intern, 1977; Rand Corporation, intern, 1980; Stanford University, Stanford, CA, assistant professor of political science, 1981-89, associate professor, 1991; National Security Council, Washington, DC, director of Soviet and East European Affairs, 1989-91. Member of board of directors of Chevron and Transamerica Corporation.

Awards: Award for excellence in teaching, Stanford University, 1984; fellow of the Hoover Institute, 1985-86; Ford Foundation fellow; fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Addresses: Office Political Science Department, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA 94305-2044.

Appointed to the National Security Council

At the personal request of Brent Scowcroft, assistant to the president for national security affairs, Rice was named director of Soviet and East European affairs on the National Security Council in 1989. In this capacity she analyzed and explained to President George Bush the events of international importance occurring in the region. She helped Bush prepare for and participate in his superpower summit meetings with then-Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev and other top officials in Malta, Washington, D.C., Paris, and Helsinki, Finland. In Malta, she sat at the bargaining table with Bush and Secretary of State James Baker. At the 1990 summit in Washington, D.C., she provided background and analysis in daily meetings and was one of only a handful of senior aides who attended exclusive evening dinner meetings.

The purpose of the summit meetings was to achieve a solid global peace plan. Much of the discussions centered on arms control, expansion of trade, and problems relating to the gradual freedom movement affecting border countries in the Soviet Union. With her expertise in Soviet politics, armaments and military affairs, Rice was in an excellent position to prepare Bush for his meetings. The hardest part of her work, she said in an interview with San Francisco: The Magazine, was remaining objective and keeping the analyst in me separate from my political views.

As Rice told Ebony, she was in Washington at a truly amazing time to be working in the White House, because so much was changing in the Eastern-bloc countries. The Berlin Wall, which was erected between East and West Berlin by the Communist government of East Germany in 1961, had come down, allowing citizens of the East to move freely to the West. And shortly thereafter, the world witnessed the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

Returned to Career in Academics

In 1991, Rice left Washington to return to the academic life at Stanford University in California, but since then her expertise has been sought and her presence felt by many. After Senator Pete Wilson was elected governor of California in 1990, her name was circulated as his possible replacement in Congress; she had been asked to run for Congress before but had been asked to run for Congress before but had declined. Rice continues to publish her scholarly work and also writes editorials for magazines such as Time, and newspapers such as the Los Angeles Times. And the New York Times frequently seeks her opinion and commentary on foreign affairs.

In 1991, the 37-year-old Rice was appointed by Governor Wilson to a bipartisan committee to draw new state legislative and congressional districts in California. She was the youngest member chosen, and among her colleagues on the committee were several retired state justices, including a 75-year-old former supreme court justice. Wilson told the Los Angeles Times, All [members] have certain attributes in common. All are distinguished scholars. All are leaders in their fields, known for impartiality and devoted to the truth. Others agree with Wilsons assessment of Rices achievements. In May of 1991, Chevron elected her to their 12-member board of directors, and in October of 1991, Transamerica Corporation did the same.

Rice, Racism, and Sexism

Rice grew up in the segregated south and remembers the days when blacks were turned away from restaurants and hotels; she also vividly recalls the civil rights wars that changed some of the inequities. She survived those troubled times because of her familys strength of community and strength of spirit, as she told Katherine Fong of San Francisco: The Magazine.

While she has been fortunate, she also has suffered her share of overt and covert racism. In high school, despite her academically oriented curriculum and high grades, her counselor told her she wasnt college material. I had not done very will on the preliminary SAT exam, she said in an interview with Ebony. I remember thinking that the odd thing about it was that [the counselor] had not bothered to check my record. I was a straight-A student in all advanced courses. I was excelling in Latin. I was a figure skater and a piano student. That none of that occurred to her I think was a subtle form of racism. It was the problem of low expectations [for blacks].

An unfortunate public incident in 1990 brought Rice more public attention than her position as director on the National Security Council. At the San Francisco airport, where she was accompanying a party of Soviet officialswearing the appropriate White House identificationa secret-service agent ordered her to stand behind the security lines. When she tried to explain that she was with the group, he shoved her.

While the press made much of the incident, speculating on possible racist origins, Rice downplayed the event. I was really taken aback at the press it received, she told Ebony. To my mind, it was a relatively minor incident and I quickly reported it to the head of the Secret Service who was appalled and promised to look into it. I sort of chalked it up to a field agent who isnt involved in the activities that often and was overly zealous. What I didnt feel from him was any racial hostility. I didnt write it off to race or gender but just that he was rude.

As the first black woman to hold her post in an area still very much dominated by white males, Rice has also endured her share of sexism. She sometimes counters sexist remarks by referring to other powerful women. Havent they heard of [former prime minister of England] Margaret Thatcher, [former prime minister of India] Indira Gandhi, or Cleopatra [the Queen of Egypt] for that matter?, she mused in Jet. She told Ebony that sexism usually comes in the line of Howd you end up doing this? Like everything else, she handles these moments with grace, but admits that she secretly enjoys the shock value when she walks into an arms negotiation meeting in Washington or Moscow and it turns out she is the Soviet expert, not the secretary. Her most successful weapon against the racism and sexism she has encountered is her own intelligence and ability.

Selected writings

The Soviet Union and the Czechoslovak Army: 1948-1983, Princeton University Press, 1985.

(Editor with Alexander Dallin) The Gorbachev Era, Stanford Alumni Association, 1986.

Contributor to periodicals, including Journal of International Affairs, Studies in Comparative Communism, Time, World Politics, and Current History.

Sources

Ebony, October 1990.

Jet, April 17, 1989; June 18, 1990; June 25, 1990; November 19, 1990; December 17, 1990.

Los Angeles Times, June 7, 1990; May 8, 1991; July 27, 1991; September 16, 1991.

New York Times, August 21, 1991; December 16, 1991.

San Francisco: The Magazine, June 1988.

Wall Street Journal, May 14, 1991; October 9, 1991.

Washington Post, November 30, 1990; March 25, 1991; August 18, 1991.

Robin Armstrong

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"Rice, Condoleezza 1954–." Contemporary Black Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Jul. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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Rice, Condoleezza

Condoleezza Rice

Born: November 14, 1954
Birmingham, Alabama

African American national security advisor and educator

Condoleezza Rice is a leading expert on the politics and military of Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, and other areas of the world. In 2001 President George W. Bush (1946) named Rice his national security advisor, a key advisor and player in foreign affairs. She became the first African American and the first woman ever to hold the position.

Childhood talents

Condoleezza Rice was born in Birmingham, Alabama, on November 14, 1954. Condi, as she was known to her friends, was born into a family of educators. Both of her parents were teachers. In fact, Rice traces her career choice to her family's political discussions when she was growing up. Her parents also encouraged academic achievement, telling her she could "do and be whatever [she] wanted," Rice told Ebony magazine. She succeeded in many activities from an early age. She took piano lessons at three years old and was playing Bach and Beethoven before her feet reached the pedals. She studied figure skating, French, and Spanish. She entered the eighth grade at only eleven years of age, and graduated from high school at age fifteen.

Rice then entered the University of Denver, first studying piano but later switching to political science when she realized she would never be a great pianist. She graduated with high honors when she was nineteen. Later, she returned to the University of Denver to study international studies in graduate school, earning a doctorate degree.

Beginning an impressive career

In 1981 Rice started teaching political science at Stanford University in California. She focused on the politics of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, publishing articles and addressing audiences on these subjects. Through her writing, teaching, and public speaking, she became well known as an expert on the politics of the Soviet Union. With Alexander Dallin, she wrote Uncertain Allegiance: The Soviet Union and the Czechoslovak Army (1984). With Phillip Zelikow, she wrote The Gorbachev Era (1986). In 1986 she also served as special assistant to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a group of leaders in the U.S. military who advise the president in matters of war. The following year she traveled to Bulgaria to speak to Soviet representatives about controlling the spread of weapons.

In 1989 Rice was named director of Soviet and East European affairs on the National Security Council. In this position, she analyzed and explained to President George Bush (1924) the events of international importance occurring in the region. She helped Bush prepare for summit meetings with then-Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev (1931) and other top officials.

The purpose of the meetings was to create a plan for peace around the world. Much of the talk was about controlling the spread of weapons. The leaders also discussed expanding trade and the independence movements in many of the Soviet Union republics. As an advisor for Bush, Rice had important knowledge to provide about the politics and military abilities in that region. This work was exciting but challenging for her. In an interview with San Francisco: The Magazine, she said that the hardest part was remaining objective and "keeping the analyst in me separate from my political views."

Rice told Ebony magazine it was a "truly amazing time to be working in the White House," because so much was changing in the Eastern-bloc countries. The Berlin Wall, which was erected between East and West Berlin by the Communist government of East Germany in 1961, had come down, allowing citizens of the East to move freely to the West. Shortly thereafter, the world witnessed the fall of the Soviet Union.

Return to Stanford

In 1991 Rice left Washington to return to academic life at Stanford University in California. Her expertise had been sought and her presence felt by many. At one point, the governor of California suggested that she run for a Senate seat in that state, but she declined. The New York Times frequently sought her opinion and commentary on foreign affairs. She also contributed editorials and work to Time magazine and newspapers such as the Los Angeles Times. She continues to publish her scholarly work.

In 1991 the thirty-seven-year-old Rice was appointed by the governor of California to a special committee to draw new state legislative and congressional districts in the state. She was the youngest member chosen. The governor told the Los Angeles Times that all the members shared certain characteristics. "All are distinguished scholars. All are leaders in their fields, known for [fairness] and devoted to the truth." Other people agreed with this opinion of Rice. In 1991 two major companies elected Rice to their boards of directors. She was named provost of Stanford, a very high-ranking position.

Trusted advisor in peace and war

After many years back in university life, Rice was asked to help George W. Bush run for president in 2000. When he was elected, he named her national security advisor. She was chosen for her vast experience and expertise but also because she was a trusted friend of George W. Bush. This combination of expertise and exceptional trust became especially important during the fall of 2001.

Following the attacks of September 11, 2001, Rice became more important at the national and international levels. In the war in Afghanistan, Rice was a strong supporter of President Bush's actions and a trusted advisor in the conflict. In press conferences and on television news programs, she denounced the actions of the Taliban, Osama bin Laden (1957), and the terrorist group al-Qaida. In Washington on November 8, she said, "What we are engaged in now is an act of self-defense to try to root out al-Qaida, to try to deny them safe harbor." She also has spoken forcefully about the U.S. military action and policies to fight the War on Terror.

Life as a successful minority

Rice has been fortunate, but she has also encountered her share of racism (a dislike or disrespect of someone solely because of the color of his or her skin). In high school she took difficult classes and had high grades. Her counselor, though, told her she was not suited for college. Rice told Ebony magazine that she did not do very well on an SAT exam, which is used for applying to colleges. However, she also recalled, "I remember thinking that the odd thing about it was that [the counselor] had not bothered to check my record. I was a straight-A student in all advanced courses. I was a figure skater and a piano student. That none of that occurred to her I think was a [quiet] form of racism. It was the problem of low expectations [for African Americans]."

In 1990 an unfortunate public incident occurred at the San Francisco airport. Rice was with a group of representatives from the Soviet Union. She was wearing the correct White House identification, yet a security person ordered her to stand behind the security lines. When she tried to explain that she was with the group, he shoved her. Newspapers made a big deal of the event. They wondered if the security person was being racist. Rice, however, told Ebony magazine that she did not feel any racial anger from him, "just that he was rude."

Rice has also come across her share of sexism (a dislike or disrespect of someone solely because of his or her gender). When people say sexist things to her, she has said she sometimes responds by talking about other powerful women. "Haven't they heard of [former prime minister of England] Margaret Thatcher, [former prime minister of India] Indira Gandhi, or Cleopatra [the Queen of Egypt] for that matter?" she said to Jet magazine. She told Ebony magazine that sexism "usually comes in the line of 'How'd you end up doing this?" Rice's most successful weapon against racism and sexism has been her own intelligence and ability.

For More Information

"Condoleezza Rice." Contemporary Black Biography. Vol. 28. Detroit: Gale, 2001.

"Condoleezza Rice." Notable Black American Women, Book 2. Edited by Jessie Carney Smith. Detroit: Gale, 1996.

Felix, Antonia. Condi: The Condoleezza Rice Story. New York: Newmarket Press, 2002.

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Rice, Condoleezza

Condoleezza Rice, 1954–, U.S. government official and educator, b. Birmingham, Ala. A political scientist who has specialized in Russian and E European studies, Rice has been a professor at Stanford Univ. since 1981. From 1989 to 1991 she was an adviser on Soviet and E European affairs on President George H. W. Bush's National Security Council. Subsequently, she served (1993–99) as Stanford's provost. During the 2000 presidential campaign she was George W. Bush's foreign policy adviser, and in 2001 she became President Bush's national security adviser—the first woman and second African American (after Colin Powell) to hold the post. A member of the president's inner circle, she was an advocate of U.S. military power, a supporter of the Iraq invasion (see Persian Gulf Wars), and a spokeswoman for the administration's assertive foreign policy. She served (2005–9) as secretary of state during Bush's second term, succeeding Colin Powell. Her books include The Gorbachev Era (1986, with A. Dallin) and Germany Unified and Europe Transformed (1995, with P. Zelikow).

See her memoirs (2010); biographies by A. Felix (2002), M. Mabry (2007), and E. Bumiller (2008); J. Mann, Rise of the Vulcans: The History of Bush's War Cabinet (2004); G. Kessler, The Confidante (2007).

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Rice, Condoleezza 1954–

Condoleezza Rice 1954

National Security Advisor

At a Glance

Selected Writings

Sources

Born into a family of educators, Condoleezza Rice became an educator, but she did not limit her teaching to a school setting. In the late 1980s, as director of Soviet and East European affairs on the National Security Council, she explained world events to the president of the United States; in the early 1990s, she was elected to the board of directors of several multinational corporations. Rice taught political science at Stanford University, and is considered a leading expert on Soviet and East European politics and military affairs. She is called upon by many in public office and private business to put her academic knowledge to practical use.

Rice grew up in Birmingham, Alabama. She traced her interest in political science to her parents preoccupation with politics and the political discussions held at home. Academic achievement was also important to her from the beginning. Her parents taught her she could, as she told Ebony, do and be whatever I wanted, and she succeeded at a variety of activities from an early age. Her mother gave her piano lessons; she was playing Bach and Beethoven almost before her feet reached the pedals. She studied figure skating. She took the most challenging classes at school and excelled.

le.875qEntering the University of Denver at the age of fifteen, Rice first majored in piano performance but switched to political science when she realized she would never be a great pianist. She graduated magna cum laude when she was nineteen. She then when on to receive her masters degree from the University of Notre Dame in 1975, later re-turning to Denver for her doctorate in international studies.

In 1981 Rice started teaching political science at Stanford University and gradually became well known for her expertise in Soviet affairs. In 1984 she won a teaching award at Stanford. She was a fellow at the Hoover Institute, an internationally-known think tank at Stanford, during the 1985-86 academic year. Her books The Soviet Union and the Czechoslovak Army. 1948-1983 and The Gorbachev Era were published in 1985 and 1986, respectively. In 1987 she served as an advisor to the Joint Chiefs of Staff on strategic nuclear policy and briefed air force generals on strategy and force posture in the Soviet military. The following year, at the invitation of the U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Unior, she traveled to Bulgaria to speak

At a Glance

Born November 14, 1954; raised in Birmingham, AL; daughter of John Wesley and Angelena Ray Rice. Education: University of Denver, 8.A. (magna cum laude), 1974, Ph.D., 1981; University of Notre Dame, MA, 1975. Politics: Republican.

Career: U.S. Department of State, Washington, DC, intern, 1977; Rand Corporation, intern, 1980; Stanford University, Stanford, CA, assistant professor of political science, 1981-89, associate professor, professor, 1991-93, provost, 1993-99; National Security Council, Washington, DC, director of Soviet and East European Affairs, 1989-91; George W. Bush presidential campaign, national security consultant, 2000; National Security Council, national security adviser, 2001-.

Memberships: Member of board of directors of Chevron and Transamerica Corporation.

Awards: Award for excellence in teaching, Stanford University, 1984; fellow of the Hoover Institute, 1985-86; Ford Foundation fellow; fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Addresses: Office National Security Council, White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C., 20504.

to Soviet officials and diplomats on arms-control policy.

At the personal request of Brent Scowcroft, assistant to the president for national security affairs, Rice was named director of Soviet and East European affairs on the National Security Council in 1989. In this capacity she analyzed and explained to President George Bush the events of international importance occurring in the region. She helped Bush prepare for and participate in his super-power summit meetings with then-Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev and other top officials in Malta, Washington, D.C., Paris, and Helsinki, Finland. In Malta, she sat at the bargaining table with Bush and Secretary of State James Baker. At the 1990 summit in Washington, D.C., she provided background and analysis in daily meetings and was one of only a handful of senior aides who attended exclusive evening dinner meetings.

The purpose of the summit meetings was to achieve a solid global peace plan. Much of the discussions centered on arms control, expansion of trade, and problems relating to the gradual freedom movement affecting border countries in the Soviet Union. With her expertise in Soviet politics, armaments and military affairs, Rice was in an excellent position to prepare Bush for his meetings. The hardest part of her work, she said in an interview with San Francisco: The Magazine, was remaining objective and keeping the analyst in me separate from my political views.

Rice told Ebony, it was a truly amazing time to be working in the White House, because so much was changing in the Eastern-bloc countries. The Berlin Wall, which was erected between East and West Berlin by the Communist government of East Germany in 1961, had come down, allowing citizens of the East to move freely to the West. And shortly thereafter, the world witnessed the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

In 1991 Rice left Washington to return to the academic life at Stanford University in California, but since then her expertise has been sought and her presence felt by many. After Senator Pete Wilson was elected governor of California in 1990, her name was circulated as his possible replacement in Congress; she had been asked to run for Congress before but had declined. Rice continued to publish her scholarly work and also wrote editorials for magazines such as Time, and newspapers such as the Los Angeles Times. And the Neu; York Times frequently sought her opinion and commentary on foreign affairs.

In 1991, the 37-year-old Rice was appointed by Governor Wilson to a bipartisan committee to draw new state legislative and congressional districts in California. She was the youngest member chosen, and among her colleagues on the committee were several retired state justices, including a 75-year-old former supreme court justice. Wilson told the Los Angeles Times, All [members] have certain attributes in common. All are distinguished scholars. All are leaders in their fields, known for impartiality and devoted to the truth. Others agreed with Wilsons assessment of Rices achievements. In May of 1991, Chevron elected her to their 12-member board of directors, and in October of 1991, Transamerica Corporation did the same. She was also named as provost of Stanford and co-authored a book on the reunification of Germany.

Rice grew up in the segregated South and remembers the days when blacks were turned away from restaurants and hotels; she also vividly recalls the civil rights wars that changed some of the inequities. She survived those troubled times because of her familys strength of community and strength of spirit, as she told Katherine Fong of San Francisco: The Magazine.

While she has been fortunate, she also has suffered her share of overt and covert racism. In high school, despite her academically-oriented curriculum and high grades, her counselor told her she wasnt college material.I had not done very well on the preliminary SAT exam, she said in an interview with Ebony. I remember thinking that the odd thing about it was that [the counselor] had not bothered to check my record. I was a straight-A student in all advanced courses. I was excelling in Latin. I was a figure skater and a piano student. That none of that occurred to her I think was a subtle form of racism. It was the problem of low expectations [for blacks], she recalled.

An unfortunate public incident in 1990 brought Rice more public attention than her position as director on the National Security Council. At the San Francisco airport where she was accompanying a party of Soviet officialswearing the appropriate White House identificationa secret-service agent ordered her to stand behind the security lines. When she tried to explain that she was with the group, he shoved her.

While the press made much of the incident, speculating on possible racist origins, Rice downplayed the event.I was really taken aback at the press it received, she told Ebony. To my mind, it was a relatively minor incident and I quickly reported it to the head of the Secret Service who was appalled and promised to look into it. I sort of chalked it up to a field agent who isnt involved in the activities that often and was overly zealous. What I didnt feel from him was any racial hostility. I didnt write it off to race or gender but just that he was rude, she continued.

After many years in academia, Rice was asked to help George W. Bushs 2000 presidential campaign. When he was elected, he named her as the national security advisor in his cabinet. Both she and Colin Powell made history as the first African Americans named as national security advisor and secretary of state, respectively. Rice is also the first woman named to the post.

As the first black woman to hold her post in an area still very much dominated by white males, Rice has also endured her share of sexism. She sometimes counters sexist remarks by referring to other powerful women. Havent they hearc of [former prime minister of England] Margaret Thatcher, [former prime minister of India] Indira Gandhi, or Cleopatra [the Queen of Egypt] for that matter? she mused in Jet. She told Ebony that sexism usually comes in the line of Howd you end up doing this? Her most successful weapon against the racism and sexism she has encountered is her own intelligence and ability.

Selected Writings

The Soviet Union and the Czechoslovak Army: 1948-1983, Princeton University Press, 1985.

(Editor with Alexander Dallin) The Gorbachev Era, Stanford Alumni Association, 1986.

(co-author with Philip Zelikow) Germany Unified and Europe Transformidd: A Study in Statecraft, 1996.

Contributor to periodicals, including Journal of International Affairs, Studies in Comparative Communism, Time, World Politics, and Current History.

Sources

American Political Science Review, September 1996.

Ebony, October 1990.

Jet, April 17, 1989; June 18, 1990; June 25, 1990; November 19, 1990; December 17, 1990.

Los Angeles Times, June 7, 1990; May 8, 1991; July 27, 1991; September 16, 1991.

New York Times, August 21, 1991; December 16, 1991.

San Francisco: The Magazine, June 1988. Wall Street Journal, May 14, 1991; October 9, 1991.

Washington Post, November 30, 1990; March 25, 1991; August 18, 1991.

Wichita Eagle, January 23, 2001.

Robin Armstrong and Ashyia N. Henderson

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