Elsie Austin

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Elsie Austin "has served on two National Spiritual Assemblies--United States, 1946-54, and North and West Africa, 1955-58. She has lived in Tangier, Nigeria, Kenya, and the Bahamas. She served as chair of the Bahá'í delegation to the 1975 International Women's conference in Mexico City, Mexico. She has been on pilgrimage twice, in 1953 and 1970, meeting Shoghi Effendi on her first pilgrimage. She has written several articles: "Above All Barriers" (1947, on Louis G. Gregory) which was later published as a pamphlet; "The Social Basis for World Unity" (1944, Bahá'í Magazine); and "Life of Matthew Bullock" (1977 Bahá'í News). Dr. Austin was the first African-American woman graduate of the University of Cincinnati College of Law and later was the first African-American woman to serve as Assistant Attorney-General of the State of Ohio. A pioneer for change for most of her life, she had a successful legal career with several US federal government agencies, such as the Office of Emergency Management and National Labor Relations Board. She then became a career Foreign Service Officer, spending ten years in Africa working with cultural and educational programs sponsored by the United States Information Agency. She participated in ten international conferences and seminars of the United Nations agencies and other international organizations. She has also served as national president of Delta Sigma Theta, a national United States public service sorority. In 1969 she received an honorary degree, Doctor of Humanities, from the University of Cincinnati. Earlier, she had received an honorary degree, Doctor of Laws, from Wilberforce University. In 1991, the University of Cincinnati College of Law Alumni Association gave her its Distinguished Alumni Award. In 1996, the National Labor Relations Board of the United States honored her with a citation for being the first African-American woman to serve as a senior attorney with the General Counsel's Office of the National Labor Relations Board. The citation was made during the NLRB program for African-American History Month." [1]

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