I have been working on a documentary film of John Thomas for some time, and I premiered a preview at the History Center last year. He is from north Minneapolis, and he became the first African American to run an international organization. He worked in the displacement camps after World War ll, and he was in charge of operations at the Austrian-Hungary border during the 1956 revolution. He also ran the U.S. Cuban Refugee Program for President Kennedy, and the U.S. Vietnam Refugee Program for President Johnson. Later in his career, he helped evacuate the millions displaced by Idi Amin. It is estimated that he helped save the lives of nearly four million people during the course of the cold war. Born in 1907, he held a Masters degree from the University of Minnesota, and he was a leader at the Phyllis Wheatley Settlement House in Minneapolis. I have much more information, but this is truly a story of heroism, hope, and inspiration about an unknown but significant Minnesotan.
~Mick Caouette, Stillwater, MN