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Thursday, June 1, 2023

General Colin Powell, First Black Secretary of State, dies at 84

For almost forty years Colin Powell served in the army, reaching the top as a Four-Star General. He served as the National Security Advisor to President Ronald Reagan and as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and later as the Secretary and Secretary of State to the Presidents Bush, respectively. He died on October 18, 2021, at Walter Reid Hospital, from complications due to Covid 19, despite been fully vaccinated.

Born to Jamaican immigrants to the United States in Harlem on April 5, 1937, Powell grew up in South Bronx. He joined the army via the Reserve Officer Training Corps program while a student at the City College of New York, and later served as a second lieutenant in the army. A veteran of the Vietnam War, Powell advanced rapidly through the ranks to retire as a four-star general.

Considered a born leader by many of his colleagues, Powell was singled out by President Ronald Reagan while a young man, and with the aid of three successive Republican presidents broke several barriers to serve as the first Black American National Security Advisor, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and Secretary of State.

Many Republicans wanted him to run for President of the United States, believing that he could become the first Black President, but Powell, after considering a possible run, decided on advice of his wife he claimed, not to run against President Bill Clinton. Clinton was having a difficult time managing several accusations at the time, and many people thought that Powell had as good a chance as any to beat him.

Later in life, Powell seemed to sour against the Republican party that shepherded his rapid rise to prominence and actually endorsed Democrats Barak Obama, Hilary Clinton, and later Joe Biden for President over their Republican opponents.

Colin Powell was installed in the Great Blacks in Wax Museum several years ago under the sponsorship of the Chrysler Motor Company and The Baltimore Times. He will be forever remembered as a great soldier, leader and Diplomat.

He leaves us with “Colin Powell’s Leadership List: 1) It ain’t as bad as you think. It will look better in the morning; 2) Get mad, then get over it; 3) Avoid having your ego so close to your position that when your position falls, your ego goes with it; 4) it can be done; 5) Be careful what you choose; 6) Don’t let adverse facts stand in the way of a good decision; 7) You can’t make someone else’s choices; 8) Check small things; 9) Share credit; 10) Remain calm. Be kind; 11) Have a vision. Be demanding; 12) Don’t take counsel of your fears or naysayers; and 13) Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.

Thanks, General Powell, our world is better because of your service

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