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Fredericksburg native Pamela Bridgewater is America's person to see in Ghana
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BY FRANK DELANO
ACCRA, Ghana--"Everybody comes to my house! Everybody!" said U.S. Ambassador Pamela Bridgewater amid a crowd of 700 at her Fourth of July picnic.
Photographers--and there were many--had just snapped pictures of Bridgewater with U.S. civil-rights leaders Andrew Young and the Rev. Jesse Jackson.
The Rev. Jackson and Young, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, were in town for a summit meeting of 52 heads of African states.
Bridgewater, a Fredericksburg native, joked with Jerry John "J.J." Rawlings, Ghana's former two-term president. She warmly greeted chiefs wearing royal robes of bright, hand-woven kente cloth.
Bridgewater, in a red dress with white polka dots, brushed cheeks with all of them.
Some of Bridgewater's old friends, including four from Fredericksburg, rubbed elbows with diplomats from other embassies, Ghanaian government officials, military officers and U.S. embassy personnel.
The Fredericksburg folk--the Rev. Lawrence A. Davies and his wife Janice, Felicia Cook and Laura Montgomery of Shiloh Baptist Church (Old Site)--were in town for a gathering of the Baptist World Alliance at a swank hotel.
"A Capitol Fourth" was the party's theme. For the occasion, embassy employees had created reminders of the National Mall inside the high stone walls surrounding Bridgewater's house.
Murals of the Lincoln Memorial and the U.S. Capitol and a faux Washington Monument stood among the tropical trees, shrubs and flowers.
A busload of sailors in dress whites from a visiting U.S. Navy frigate cruised the beer kegs. Like everyone else, they eventually sat down for dinner on red, white and blue plastic chairs under a dozen tents decorated with flags of all the states in the U.S.
The menu was All-American: hot dogs, fried chicken, corn on the cob, potato chips, potato salad, baked beans and brownies served up in wicker baskets lined with red-checked napkins.
The baskets had been made by disabled Ghanaian children. Dessert was sliced from a four-foot-long sheet cake iced like an American
A color guard of U.S. Marines marched in with flags. A choir of young Ghanaians sang "God Bless Our Homeland Ghana." The Fisk Jubilee Singers from Nashville, Tenn., sang "Oh, Say Can You See?"