Bro. Julian Bartley

  • Bro. Julian Bartley

    New Breed 19 - Fall 1965


    Julian Leotis Bartley Sr., 55, a Jacksonville, Fla., native, was a senior diplomatic officer who joined the U. S. Foreign Service in 1974.  He was among the highest-ranking U.S. officials of the 257 people killed in explosions Aug. 7, 1998 at the American embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.


    At about 10:36 a.m. on that day Consul General Julian Bartley left the ground-floor consular section of the Nairobi Embassy after helping his staff deal with an unusually high volume of visa applicants.  As he headed for the stairs to the fifth floor, he waved to his colleagues, flashed his usual smile, and said: "Troops, I've gotta go.  I'm late for the country team meeting."  He would never make it.


    Julian Bartley, who had no siblings, joined Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity at the historically Black Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tennessee.  Bartley, also a graduate of Syracuse University, had traveled the globe in his years of Foreign Service Julian’s work in the diplomatic corps was not glamorous, but it offered a chance for him to help people directly -- and Bartley loved it and excelled at it, rising to the rank of consul general during a 27-year career.  When in the United States, Bartley lived in Northern Virginia and Bowie, Maryland. Bartley served in the Peace Corps in American Samoa in 1970 before becoming a foreign-service officer.  Bartley, who was in charge of issuing visas in Kenya, was "known to get out of his office and meet the Kenyans who were in line," said Christopher Sharf, a spokesman for the U. S. Nairobi Embassy.  "He was an extraordinarily popular and well-respected officer."


    In 24 years, Bartley’s work had taken him everywhere from the Dominican Republic to Israel to Korea, and he was thought to be a leading candidate to become one of a small number of black ambassadors.  Julian Bartley had worked in government service for about three decades.  He was stationed in the Dominican Republic, Colombia, Spain, Israel and Korea before his assignment to Kenya in 1996.


    Born in Jacksonville, Florida, in May 28, 1944, Julian Bartley grew up on 147 St. in South Ozone Park, Queens, NY in a house where his mother, Gladys Baldwin, still lives.  His former neighbors mourned the death of Bartley, who was an inspiration to many.  "He used to talk with my son, tell him to stay in school and stay away from gangs," said Betty Jones, who has lived across the street for 33 years.  She described Bartley as "a very sweet, very bright kid."


    Many in his boyhood neighborhood remembered Bartley as a soft-spoken man with an affinity for languages.  He joined the Peace Corps because he thought it would be a good way to help people and improve his languages," said Peter Saltz, a former president of a Queens chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.  Julian Bartley and Saltz met in 1971.


    Julian Bartley had been at the U.S. Embassy in Kenya as consul general for almost two years, working toward becoming an ambassador and making his family proud.  Then a bomb exploded, killing him, his son and more than 200 others.  Embassy chief Chris Scharf called Bartley "an unusual diplomat in terms of his popularity and how well liked he was by Kenyans and Kenyan officials."  Julian Bartley had worked in government service for about three decades.


    "He would go out and talk to people worrying and waiting in line for a visa.  If Julian would turn them down, they didn't seem to mind because he made them understand why.



    Julian Bartley was an incredible man and a good friend.  He approached the world with a rare and unique understanding of the global community," said Mississippi Congressman Bennie Thompson, for whom Bartley served as an international affairs counselor in 1996.  "When children are fortunate enough to fall asleep without the fear of violence and military aggression," Thompson added, "their parents should thank God for men like Julian Bartley."


    Both father and son died when the bomb exploded, leaving behind friends, relatives and colleagues on nearly every continent, as well as three grieving women: Susan, wife and mother; Edith, daughter and older sister; and Gladys Baldwin, mother and grandmother.


    Jay Bartley, 20 at the time of the bombing, was a student at the United States International University in Nairobi and was working at the embassy temporarily at the time.  The younger Bartley was enrolled at United States International University, which is based in San Diego and has a campus in Nairobi.  A ROTC cadet who graduated from the International School of Kenya last year, Jay was known for his ability to fix machines, his skill at horseback riding, his love of nature, his fondness for partying and his interest in foreign affairs.  One friend described him as a "Renaissance man" with "a quiet and profound wisdom."


    Jay Bartley had hoped to follow in his father's footsteps.  Jay Bartley graduated from Kenyan International High School in 1997.  Julian Bartley, Jr., born November 10, 1977, died August 7, 1998, also as a victim of the terrorist bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi.


    Edith Bartley, Julian Bartley’s daughter, and her mother, Sue, asked that the media leave them alone so they can grieve privately during the period of grief and burial services.  In addition to his mother, Mrs. Gladys Baldwin of Queens, NY, the two are survived by Julian’s father, Joe Bartley, who lives in Florida, his wife who remains in Nairobi, and daughter Edith, who is a student at the University of Missouri’s School of Law.


    “He had an ability to help people understand that he was there to help."  Bartley's father, Joshua Bartley, of Jacksonville, Fla., tried to deal with the loss.  "I feel down in spirit," the 80-year-old retiree said.  "I just can't seem to get myself together.  I miss them very much."


    Both the father and son were laid to rest in side-by-side caskets at Arlington National Cemetery, the latest of the funerals for the hundreds killed in the recent bombings of U.S. embassies overseas.  At their funeral their caskets were draped with American flags.  Army guards folded each of the flags into a triangle.


    They presented one of the flags to the senior Bartley's widow, Mary Linda Sue Bartley, and the other to his mother, Gladys Baldwin.  Bartley's daughter, Edith, 25, also attended the ceremony, along with several ambassadors and Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbot.

President Clinton approved waivers to allow both Bartleys to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery, although neither served in the military.  In a radio address Aug. 8, 1978 President Clinton announced that flags would fly at half mast in honor of the fallen Americans.  He said that the Bartleys and the other casualties "gave their lives to the highest calling–serving our country, protecting our freedom, and seeking its blessings for others."