Breaking Barriers: A Look Back At The Life Of Colin Powell


Photo: Getty Images

When most people think of Harlem, they think of innovators and game-changers. Over the years, the historic New York borough has produced the likes of Daniel "Dapper Dan" Day, James Baldwin, Adam Clayton Powell Jr., and Teddy Riley. In the world of politics, a man by the name of Colin Powell has represented the borough to the fullest within the last four decades. Rising through the ranks after serving in Vietnam, Powell broke barriers and built bridges for future Black leaders. Along the way, he became the first Black man to serve as Secretary of State, national security adviser, and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Despite his legendary stature within the world of politics, Powell also had his flaws. Most notably, his record took a hit when he presented faulty intelligence to the United Nations that led to the Iraq War. He also played a role in the implementation of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy that barred openly gay, lesbian, and queer service people. Discussing the life and legacy of Powell is a complicated and difficult task. However, his influence on politics and service cannot be overlooked. Here's a brief look back at what he was able to accomplish during his memorable life and career.

20th September 1993: General Colin Powell testifying before a Senate committee on his appointment as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

Secretary of State Colin Powell stands with President George W. Bush.Photo: Getty Images

Secretary of State Colin Powell listens as President Bush speaks on trade promotion authority at the Department of State. Photo: Getty Images

General Powell Presented With Presidential Medal Of Freedom

American First Lady Barbara Bush fastens the Presidential Medal of Freedom around the neck of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff US Army General Colin Powell, as US President George HW Bush, watches during a ceremony in the White House's East Room, Washington DC, July 3, 1991. Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

General Colin Powell (C), head of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, tours the bombed courtyard of the Panamanian Defense Force Comandancia in Panama City to review US troops and receive a briefing on Operation Just Cause, the US invasion of Panama. Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

Linda Powell and Colin Powell during "On Golden Pond" Opening Night on Broadway - Curtain Call and After Party at The Cort Theater and Blue Fin in New York City, New York, United States. Photo: Getty Images

Onstage at the 42nd Annual NAACP Image Awards held at The Shrine Auditorium on March 4, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.Photo: Getty Images

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell gestures as he addresses the Security Council February 14, 2003 at United Nations headquarters in New York City. Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

Secretary of State Colin Powell and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice talk in the Oval Office of the White House after a meeting between President Bush and Colombian President Alvaro Uribe. Photo: Getty Images

United States President George W Bush meets with the National Security Council in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, DC (from left to right): Secretary of State Colin Powell, President Bush, President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, September 14, 2001. Photo: Getty Images

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell speaks during a reception celebrating the completion of U.S. Diplomacy Center Pavilion at the Department of State in Washington, USA on January 10, 2017. Photo: Getty Images

Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of staff and Secretary of State Colin Powell attended a panel discussion about the 20th Anniversary Commemoration of the first gulf war on January 20, 2011 in College Station Texas. Photo: Getty Images

Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and former Secretary of State Colin Powell arrives to pay his respects at the casket of the late former President George H.W. Bush as he lies in state at the U.S. Capitol, December 4, 2018 in Washington, DC. Photo: Getty Images

Colin Powell at his home in Virginia. Powell is an American statesman and a retired four-star general in the United States Army. He was the 65th United States Secretary of State, serving under U.S. President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2005, the first African American to serve in that position. Photo: Getty Images


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