Edward R. Braithwaite was born in Guyana, South America. A British colony at the time, it did not offer facilities for tertiary education to its nationals. Seeking higher education outside the country, he gained admittance to Cambridge University in England.
During his first year as a student, war broke out between England and Germany. Volunteering for military service, he became a fighter pilot in the Royal Air Force. At war's end, he returned to Cambridge and completed his degree in Physics.
He was suddenly and painfully confronted with one of the realities of British life from which both Cambridge and fellowship in the Royal Air Force had sheltered him - the cruel rigors of racial discrimination within British society.
Dr. Braithwaite eventually found employment as a teacher in one of London's most depressed neighborhoods. Over time he came to the surprising realization that he had an aptitude for teaching and writing. He applied himself to achieve some measure of ease and confidence within both disciplines. This led him to write about his experience in teaching, resulting in the publication of his first book "TO SIR, WITH LOVE".
In 1960 he was invited to work in Paris, France as Human Rights Officer for the World Veterans Foundation and later moved to UNESCO as an Education Consultant. When Guyana became independent from Britain in 1966, the new government asked him to be its first ambassador to the United Nations.
After his ambassadorship, Dr. Braithwaite was invited to join the English Faculty of New York University. He later served as Writer-in-Residence at Florida State University. In 1987, he became a citizen of the United States. A few years later, he was invited to be a Member of the Board of Trustees of the Krasnow Institute at George Mason University. In 1997, he joined the faculty of Howard University as an English professor.
In 2003 he was invited by the United States State Department to deliver a series of lectures and interviews in Austria and Hungary in celebration of Black History Month. While in Vienna, he was invited by the European Monitoring Center on Racism and Xenophobia, an official body of the European Union, to attend their International Conference on Racism and Discrimination in Europe.
Publications: TO SIR, WITH LOVE, PAID SERVANT, CHOICE OF STRAWS, A KIND OF HOMECOMING, RELUCTANT NEIGHBORS, HONORARY WHITE.