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Caryn E. Neumann

U.S. Army four-star general, national security adviser, and secretary of state. Colin Luther Powell was born in Harlem, New York, the second child of Luther Powell, a foreman in a women's clothing factory, and Maud Powell, a worker in the garment industry. Both parents were Jamaican-born immigrants. The family moved to the Hunts Point section of the South Bronx in 1941. Powell enrolled at the City College of New York (CCNY) in 1954 but soon discovered that he preferred the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC), which he joined in 1955, to any other coursework. He liked the comradeship and sense of belonging.

Upon graduating from CCNY in 1958 Powell was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U S Army He subsequently attended Ranger School at Fort Benning Georgia and was assigned to the Third Armored Division in Gelnhausen West Germany forty miles from the East ...


Lorna S. Jaffe

Born 5 April 1937 in the Harlem section of New York City and raised in the South Bronx, Colin L. Powell, the son of Jamaican immigrants, rose to become the first African American chairman of the JCS. After his 1958 graduation from City College, New York, where he had been a member of the ROTC, Powell received a commission in the regular army.

As a young officer in the recently integrated army, he had opportunities for leadership not then generally available to blacks in segregated civilian society. He received accelerated promotions to major and colonel, and in 1979 became at forty‐two the youngest general then in the army.

A turning point in Powell's career was his 1972 selection as a White House Fellow Assigned to the Office of Management and Budget he learned firsthand the workings of the federal bureaucracy and met individuals who later played key roles in ...


Paul S. Boyer and Anthony H. Cordesman

Born in Harlem, New York City, to immigrants from Jamaica, Powell joined the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps while enrolled at the City College of New York. He received a U.S. Army commission as a second lieutenant upon graduating in 1958. He served in Vietnam in 1962–1963 and again in 1968–1969, when he was injured in a helicopter crash.

Receiving an M.B.A. from George Washington University in 1971, Powell possessed the necessary combat and educational background to profit by efforts to bring African Americans into leading military positions. In 1972–1973, he was a White House fellow in the Office of Management and Budget, directed by Caspar Weinberger.

After commanding a battalion in South Korea, attending the National War College, and serving in the Department of Defense, Powell in 1983 became military assistant to Weinberger, President Ronald Reagan s first secretary of defense Powell s policy ...


When George Walker Herbert Bush was president of the United States, he appointed General Colin Powell chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Powell's strong leadership role during the Persian Gulf War in 1991 gained him immense popularity.


Rebecca Stefoff

In January of 2001, soon after President George W. Bush took office, he named Condoleezza Rice as his national security advisor. In this role, Rice has had significant influence in shaping the Bush administration's policies toward other international affairs. Her appointment followed several decades of study, research, and activity in the field of foreign policy, with special focus on Russia (the former Soviet Union) and Europe.

Condoleezza Rice was born in 1954 in Birmingham, Alabama. Her father was a college administrator. Her mother was a music teacher who chose her daughter's name—a musical term that means “play with sweetness”—and Condoleezza displayed her own musical talent by becoming a skilled pianist at an early age. She grew up during a difficult era for blacks in the American South. The Civil Rights Movement had not yet eliminated Segregation in the United States and Birmingham experienced some of the worst ...


Greg Sidberry

the first African American female secretary of state. Condoleezza Rice was born in Birmingham, Alabama. Her father, John Wesley Rice III, was a school guidance counselor, football coach, and pastor of the Westminster Presbyterian Church. Her mother, Angelena Ray, taught science, music, and speech and was an accomplished pianist who served as the church musician. The Rices wanted their daughter to have a professional career in classical music and created her name, Condoleezza, from an Italian musical term, con dolcezza, which means “with sweetness.”

The Rice family lived in the segregated neighborhood of Titusville a middle class enclave of schoolteachers and professionals High priority was given to education and academic success and the importance of dress grooming and manners was emphasized as well Condoleezza exceeded all expectations She was given lessons in piano ballet French and anything else that would help her be twice as good as ...


Patricia Washington

Condoleezza Rice skipped first and seventh grades, entered college when she was fifteen, finished her doctorate by the time she was twenty-six, and was immediately tapped for a tenure track position at Stanford University. There, in 1993, she became the youngest person, the first woman, and the first black to be named provost. Rice came to national attention six years later when she left her academic post to become foreign policy adviser for presidential candidate George W. Bush. After Bush won the 2000 election, Rice was appointed national security adviser, the first woman and only the second black named to this position. And in 2005 Rice replaced Colin Powell as secretary of state for George W. Bush’s second presedential term. Given the trajectory of Rice’s career, it is not surprising that the Washington Post characterized her as the first Black woman in just about any job she ...