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Alexander, Clifford L., Jr.  

André Willis

Clifford L. Alexander Jr. was born in New York, New York. He graduated from Harvard University in 1955 and Yale Law School in 1958. Alexander worked on a number of community development initiatives in Harlem, New York, before being appointed to a series of political positions in Washington, D.C., in the 1960s and 1970s.

Alexander served as a National Security Council foreign affairs officer under President John F. Kennedy in 1963. He was appointed to three high-ranking advisory positions between 1964 and 1967, including deputy special counsel to the president, by President Lyndon B. Johnson. In 1967 Johnson named Alexander chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC), a position he filled until Richard Nixon took office in 1969.

After a brief return to private practice in Washington D C Alexander resumed a role in public life as host and producer of ...


Alexander, Clifford Leopold, Jr.  

Antje Daub

lawyer, businessman, and secretary of the army, was born in New York City, the only child of Clifford Leopold Sr. and Edith McAllister. Alexander's father, a Jamaican native, became an apartment building manager of Harlem's Young Christian Association. His mother was from Yonkers, New York, where she worked for a real estate firm. Later she headed the New York City welfare department. She was the first African American woman to get elected to the Democratic Party's Electoral College. In this position she became a prominent figure in the broader civil rights struggle. Both parents inspired Alexander's later work to end racial discrimination.

Alexander spent his childhood in New York City. He received his early education at the Ethical Cultural School and Fieldston Schools in the Bronx. After graduating from high school, Alexander went to Harvard University. Here he met McGeorge Bundy Harvard s Dean of Arts ...


West, Togo, Jr.  

Michaeljulius Idani

Secretary of the Army and Secretary of Veterans Affairs, was born in Winston Salem, North Carolina, son of Togo West Sr. and Evelyn Carter, both high school educators. As a youth West was a gifted student, encouraged by both parents to reach his full potential. He was active in the Boy Scouts of America, eventually earning the distinction of Eagle Scout with bronze palms. In 1959 he graduated valedictorian from Atkins High School where both his parents taught.

After high school West moved to Washington, D.C., to attend Howard University. As an undergraduate his campus life was steeped in the civil rights movement. West was involved in several service organizations and played an active role in the university community advocating for social justice. Upon graduation in 1965 West was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Field Artillery Corps. In 1966 he married classmate Gail Berry they ...