Every Hill a Burial PlaceThe Peace Corps Murder Trial in East Africa

Every Hill a Burial PlaceThe Peace Corps Murder Trial in East Africa

Peter H. Reid

Print publication date: 2021

ISBN: 9780813179988

Publisher: University Press of Kentucky


In 1966, the Peace Corps and Tanzania, both newly established, faced a major international crisis when a Peace Corp volunteer was to be tried in Tanzania on a charge of murdering his wife, also a volunteer. This book examines how each of these entities arrived at this juncture—that is, the founding of the Peace Corps and the path to independence for Tanzania, the trial and its aftermath. Two assessors acted as jury, one a white American working in Tanzania, the other a black Tanzanian who had recently returned from graduate studies in the United States and who had been part of the famous African Airlift that brought Africans to America, including Barack Obama’s father, to study. That program, designed to undercut Russian efforts to lure Africans to the Soviet Union, foreshadowed many of the Cold War conflicts between the United States and Tanzania, including the U.S. role in the Congo, the Vietnam War, and apartheid in South Africa. The book explores how government officials, both American and Tanzanian, private attorneys, friends and relatives of the couple, and witnesses dealt with the complex situation.