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Home > People > Colin Powell- Biographical Article

Colin Powell- Biographical Article

This article tells about the life of Colin Powell.

Colin Powell


Colin Powell was the first African-American secretary of state. He held other notable positions throughout his career as well, including politician, statesman, diplomat, and an officer in the United States Army. Colin Powell was also a national security advisor and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Military Life

Powell was born in 1937 in New York City. His parents were Jamaican immigrants. When he graduated from college, Powell joined the army and became a professional soldier for 35 years. He eventually worked his way up the ranks and was awarded the distinction of four-star general. He was Commander of the US Army Forces Command in 1989.

Joint Chiefs of Staff in the D.O.D.

The highest military position in the United States is Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman in the Department of Defense. This was Colin Powell’s last military assignment from 1989 until 1993. During this time, Powell oversaw many different military projects, including Operation Desert Storm and the invasion of Panama. Under his supervision, the Powell Doctrine was created. This doctrine limits American military action in other countries unless it meets the criteria for a threat to American security.

Powell's American Journey

Colin Powell published his autobiography in 1995. It was titled My American Journey. He wrote a few other books in his lifetime. Powell also became a public speaker and travelled the world to address issues of military defense as well as his own personal journey and perceived mistakes he had made in his career and how he fixed them. And though he never was a candidate for President of the United States, Powell received three electoral votes in the 2016 Presidential election.

Numerous Prestigious Awards

During his lifetime, Colin Powell won numerous awards for his achievements. Some of those awards and special recognitions include the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Congressional Gold Medal, the Presidential Citizens Medal, and the Secretary’s Distinguished Service Award.

Death and Legacy

At the age of 84, Colin Powell was diagnosed with a blood cancer that suppressed his immune system. Though he had been vaccinated against COVID-19, Powell died in the fall of 2021 due to complications of the disease. His legacy of being a trailblazer for African Americans in the military still shines bright. His 35 year career in the United States public eye will be remembered for generations.


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