Bismarck Myrick (1940- )

Bismarck Myrick
© Ariane Williams, Fair use image

Bismarck Myrick is a retired United States Ambassador to Lesotho from 1995 to 1998 and the Republic of Liberia from 1999 to 2002. Originally from Portsmouth, Virginia, Myrick has held multiple positions with the U.S. government over a number of decades.

Myrick entered the U.S. Army in 1959 as a private and continued with the Army for the next 20 years. During the Vietnam War, Myrick saw intense combat (1968-1969) and as a result received a Meritorious Service Medal, the Purple Heart, several Bronze Stars, and the Silver Star.  In addition to Vietnam, the U.S. military deployed Myrick to Germany, South Korea, and Japan.

Myrick enrolled in Tampa University in Tampa, Florida in 1969 and received a Bachelor of Arts in history in 1972.  He then received an M.A. in history from Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York the following year. Over the course of his studies at Syracuse, Myrick learned Amharic, the language of Ethiopia. In 1975, Myrick began working in Ethiopia, assigned as Army foreign area officer (1975-1979).

Following his Ethiopia assignment, Myrick left the Army and in 1980 accepted a position with the U.S. State Department which sent him to Somalia for two years.  He was later assigned to Liberia (1982-1984). For the rest of the decade, he worked stateside in Washington, D.C., holding a position first with the Office of Strategic Nuclear Policy (1985-1987), followed by the Bureau of Inter-American Affairs (1987-1989).

From 1990 to 1993 Myrick was a political officer serving in the U.S. Consulate in Durban, South Africa and then in Cape Town (1993-1995). While there Myrick saw the dismantling of the apartheid system and the establishment for the first time of universal democracy in that nation.

Myrick’s first ambassadorial assignment came in 1995 when he was appointed by President Bill Clinton to represent U.S. interests in Lesotho, the only independent nation surrounded by South Africa.  He remained there until 1998 and then the following year President Clinton appointed him U.S. Ambassador to Liberia. He began his tenure there in the aftermath of a bloody civil war and led U.S. efforts to establish a lasting peace and permanent democracy in the second oldest independent nation in Africa.

Ambassador Myrick returned to the United States in 2002.  Later that year Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia gave him an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters. The college also appointed him Diplomat-in-Residence. In 2008 Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia named Myrick to the position of Ambassador in Residence.

Myrick has published “The United States and Liberia” in The African Experience: Past, Present, and Future, edited by Gloria T. Emeagwali and Walton Brown Foster (2006).  He co-authored with Jack R. Roelker and David L. Easterbrook Three Aspects of Crisis in Colonial Kenya (1975). Myrick is a former recipient of the Una Chapman Cox Fellowship, Lesotho’s Most Meritorious Order of Mohlomi, and several Meritorious Honor Awards from the American government including the U.S. Department of State’s Superior Honor Award.  He is a L.D. Britt, MD Community Service Award recipient. In addition, Myrick’s hometown of Portsmouth has also honored him with several accolades because of his commitment to humanity.

Myrick is married and has three children.