Powell, Colin L. (Colin Luther), 1937-2021

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Colin Luther Powell (April 5, 1937 – October 18, 2021) was an American politician, diplomat and four-star general who served as the 65th United States Secretary of State from 2001 to 2005. He was the first African-American Secretary of State. Prior to the election of Barack Obama as president in 2008, he and his successor, Condoleezza Rice, were the highest-ranking African Americans in the history of the federal executive branch (by virtue of the Secretary of State standing fourth in the presidential line of succession). He served as the 16th United States National Security Advisor from 1987 to 1989 and as the 12th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1989 to 1993.

Powell was born in New York City in 1937 and was raised in the South Bronx. His parents, Luther and Maud Powell, immigrated to the United States from Jamaica. He was educated in the New York City public schools, graduating from the City College of New York (CCNY), where he earned a bachelor's degree in geology. He also participated in ROTC at CCNY and received a commission as an Army second lieutenant upon graduation in June 1958. He was a professional soldier for 35 years, during which time he held many command and staff positions and rose to the rank of four-star general. He was Commander of the U.S. Army Forces Command in 1989.

Powell's last assignment, from October 1989 to September 1993, was as the 12th chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the highest military position in the Department of Defense. During this time, he oversaw 28 crises, including the invasion of Panama in 1989 and Operation Desert Storm in the Persian Gulf War against Iraq in 1990–1991. He formulated the Powell Doctrine which limits American military action unless it satisfies criteria regarding American national security interests, overwhelming force, and widespread public support. He was the 65th United States Secretary of State, serving under Republican President George W. Bush. His term was highly controversial regarding his inaccurate justification for America's Iraq War in 2003. He was forced to resign after Bush was reelected in 2004.

In retirement, Powell wrote his autobiography, My American Journey. He pursued a career as a public speaker, addressing audiences across the country and abroad. Prior to his appointment as Secretary of State, Powell was the chairman of America's Promise – The Alliance for Youth, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to mobilizing people from every sector of American life to build the character and competence of young people. He won numerous U.S. and foreign military awards and decorations. His civilian awards included the Presidential Medal of Freedom (twice), the Congressional Gold Medal, the Presidential Citizens Medal, the Secretary of State Distinguished Service Medal, and the Secretary of Energy Distinguished Service Medal. Several schools and other institutions were named in his honor and he held honorary degrees from universities and colleges across the country. In 2016, while not a candidate for that year's election, he received three electoral votes from Washington for the office of President of the United States.

On October 18, 2021, Powell died at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center due to complications from COVID-19 at the age of 84. He was fully vaccinated. It was reported after his death that Powell had been previously diagnosed with multiple myeloma.

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Caspar W. Weinberger Papers, 1910-2005, (bulk 1951-2005) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn Muhl, Rene, 1951-. Oral history interview with Rene Muhl, 2007 November 15. University of North Texas Library, UNT
referencedIn May 2004 (#6043) Gerald R. Ford Library
referencedIn Taft, William Howard, 1945-. Papers, 1958-1989 (bulk 1970-1989) Library of Congress
referencedIn Chuck Stone Papers, 1931-2007 and undated David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
referencedIn The A. Romeo Horton Collection, 1959-2007 Liberian Collectionshttp://www.onliberia.org
referencedIn Photographs of the White House Photograph Office (Clinton Administration). 1/20/1993 - 1/20/2001. Photographs Relating to the Clinton Administration. 1/20/1993 - 1/20/2001. Photograph of President William J. Clinton with General Colin Powell and Secretary of Defense Les Aspin at the Retirement Ceremony for General Powell William J. Clinton Presidential Library & Museum
referencedIn McNamee, Wally, 1932-2017. Wally McNamee Photographic Archive, ca. 1950-2017 Dolph Briscoe Center for American History
referencedIn White House Office of Appointments and Scheduling Files. 1989 - 1993. Presidential Daily Diary and Presidential Daily Backup Materials. 1/20/1989 - 1/20/1993. President's Daily Diary Entry, February 25, 1991 George Bush Library
referencedIn United States. White House Office of Appointments and Scheduling. President's Daily Diary Entry, February 3, 1991 George Bush Library
referencedIn William Howard Taft IV Papers, 1958-1989, (bulk 1970-1989) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn White House Office of Appointments and Scheduling Files. 1989 - 1993. Presidential Daily Diary and Presidential Daily Backup Materials. 1/20/1989 - 1/20/1993. President's Daily Diary Entry, February 22, 1991 George Bush Library
creatorOf Duvall, Henry P. Henry P. Duvall papers, ca.2003. U.S. Army Heritage & Education Center
referencedIn United States. Army. Infantry Division, 92nd. United States. Army. 92nd Infantry Division collection, 1926-2007 (bulk 1942-2000). Library of Congress
referencedIn General Records of the Department of State. Photographs Documenting Agency Officials, and Headquarters Special Events and Facilities. 2001-2007. National Archives at College Park
referencedIn Records of the U.S. Information Agency. 1900 - 2003. Photo File Photographs National Archives at College Park
referencedIn White House Office of Appointments and Scheduling Files. 1989 - 1993. Presidential Daily Diary and Presidential Daily Backup Materials. 1/20/1989 - 1/20/1993. President's Daily Diary Entry, February 27, 1991 George Bush Library
referencedIn January 13-15, 2001 (#6013) Gerald R. Ford Library
referencedIn September 1994 (#4050) Gerald R. Ford Library
referencedIn McNamee, Wally, 1932-2017. Wally McNamee Photographic Archive, ca. 1950-2017 Dolph Briscoe Center for American History
referencedIn Sanford, Terry, 1917-1998. Terry Sanford Papers, 1926-1996 (bulk 1986-1992) David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
referencedIn April/May 2000 (#6005) Gerald R. Ford Library
referencedIn General Records of the Department of Justice. 1790 - 2002. Photographs of Agency Officials and Activities National Archives at College Park
referencedIn April 2001 (#6015) Gerald R. Ford Library
referencedIn March 2000 - Quarterly (#6004a) Gerald R. Ford Library
referencedIn United States Army 92nd Infantry Division Collection, 1926-2007, (bulk 1942-2000) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn Hare, David, 1947-. Stuff happens : a play / by David Hare, 2006. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn October 1995 (#4063) Gerald R. Ford Library
referencedIn Taft, William Howard, 1945-. William Howard Taft papers, 1958-1989 (bulk 1970-1989). Library of Congress
referencedIn White House Office of Appointments and Scheduling Files. 1989 - 1993. Presidential Daily Diary and Presidential Daily Backup Materials. 1/20/1989 - 1/20/1993. President's Daily Diary Entry, February 26, 1991 George Bush Library
referencedIn August 1996 (#4071) Gerald R. Ford Library
referencedIn June 1999 - Quarterly (#4098) Gerald R. Ford Library
referencedIn General Records of the Department of Justice. Photographs of Agency Personnel. 1953-1993. National Archives at College Park
referencedIn Weinberger, Caspar W. Caspar W. Weinberger papers, 1910-2005 (bulk 1951-2005). Library of Congress
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf The HistoryMakers Video Oral History with Gen. Colin L. Powell The HistoryMakers
Relation Name
associatedWith A. Romeo Horton person
alumnusOrAlumnaOf City University of New York. City College corporateBody
associatedWith Duvall, Henry P. person
associatedWith Hare, David, 1947- person
associatedWith McNamee, Wally person
associatedWith McNamee, Wally. person
associatedWith Muhl, Rene, 1951- person
correspondedWith Ninety-Second Infantry Divison World War II Association corporateBody
correspondedWith Sanford, Terry, 1917-1998 person
associatedWith Stone, Chuck person
correspondedWith Taft, William Howard, 1915 August 7- person
correspondedWith Taft, William Howard, 1945- person
memberOf United States. Army corporateBody
correspondedWith United States. Army. Infantry Division, 92nd. corporateBody
associatedWith Weinberger, Caspar W. person
associatedWith Weinberger, Caspar W. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Harlem NY US
Fort Carson CO US
Fort McPherson GA US
District of Columbia DC US
McLean VA US
Bethesda MD US
Frankfurt am Main 05 DE
Subject
Occupation
Army officers
Cabinet Appointee
Cabinet officers
Diplomats
Military Officer
Presidential Appointee
Secretaries of State (State governments)
Activity

Person

Birth 1937-04-05

Death 2021-10-18

Male

Americans

English,

Yiddish

Information

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