In response to Ethiopia’s pro-US stand and to promote its own national interest, during Emperor Haile Selassie’s reign the US provided Ethiopia with financial and military assistance that was the largest in sub-Sahara Africa. In various fields, assistance to Ethiopia by the US government and committed American citizens remained significant in building its human resource and institutional capacity.
US citizens have served Ethiopia well and some remained by her side during darker days, such as during the invasion by fascist Italy. Others contributed to Ethiopia’s development after the Italian force was expelled. Their support for Ethiopia continued after they returned to the United States. Let us look at four Americans in particular.
Ernest Work, from Muskingum College in New Concord, Ohio, served as educational advisor to Emperor Haile Selassie in the 1930s. A professor of history, Ernest Work authored a book just before the Italian invasion of Ethiopia.1 Writing about the Italo–Ethiopian war, he stated that “the intense rivalries among the European powers [are] exhibited in their insatiate grabbing of the black man’s country.”2 Professor Work warned that “[I]f Italy is permitted to succeed in her present designs the black man’s culture will be lost under a veneer of European imposition.”3 Dr. Melaku Beyan of Ethiopia, who attended Muskingum College, introduced Ernest Work to Emperor Haile Selassie. Melaku had his medical degree from Howard University, established the Ethiopian World Federation, Inc., in New York, published the Voice of Ethiopia
1 Ernest Work. 1935. Ethiopia, A Pawn in European Diplomacy, New York: The Macmillan Company.
2 Ibid., p. v.
3 Ibid., p. vi.