91 Facts About Colin Powell


Colin Luther Powell was an American politician, statesman, diplomat, and United States Army officer who was the 65th United States secretary of state from 2001 to 2005.


Colin Powell was the first African American secretary of state.


Colin Powell was the 15th United States national security advisor from 1987 to 1989, and the 12th chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1989 to 1993.


Colin Powell was raised in the South Bronx and educated in the New York City public schools, receiving a bachelor's degree in geology from the City College of New York.


Colin Powell participated in ROTC at CCNY and received a commission as an Army second lieutenant on graduation in June 1958.


Colin Powell was a professional soldier for 35 years, holding many command and staff positions and rising to the rank of four-star general.


Colin Powell was commander of the US Army Forces Command in 1989.


Colin Powell formulated the Powell Doctrine, which limits American military action unless it satisfies criteria regarding American national security interests, overwhelming force, and widespread public support.


Colin Powell served as secretary of state under Republican president George W Bush.


Colin Powell was forced to resign after Bush was reelected in 2004.


In 1995, Colin Powell wrote his autobiography, My American Journey, and then in retirement another book, It Worked for Me, Lessons in Life and Leadership.


Colin Powell pursued a career as a public speaker, addressing audiences across the country and abroad.


Colin Powell won numerous US and foreign military awards and decorations.


Colin Powell died from complications of COVID-19 in October 2021, while being treated for a form of blood cancer that affected his immune system.


Colin Luther Powell was born on April 5,1937, in Harlem, a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Manhattan, to Jamaican immigrants, Maud Ariel and Luther Theophilus Powell.


Colin Powell's parents were both of mixed African and Scottish ancestry.


Colin Powell was raised in the South Bronx and attended the now closed Morris High School, from which he graduated in 1954.


Colin Powell once spoke to a Jewish reporter in Yiddish, much to the man's surprise.


Colin Powell served as a Shabbos goy, helping Orthodox families with needed tasks on the Sabbath.


Colin Powell received a bachelor of science degree in geology from the City College of New York in 1958 and said that he was a "C average" student.


Colin Powell graduated from George Washington University with an MBA in 1971 and an honorary doctor of public Service in 1990.


Colin Powell was a professional soldier for thirty-five years, holding a variety of command and staff positions and rising to the rank of general.


Colin Powell described the experience as one of the happiest experiences of his life.


Colin Powell underwent training in the state of Georgia, where he was refused service in bars and restaurants because of the color of his skin.


Captain Colin Powell served a tour in Vietnam as a South Vietnamese Army advisor from 1962 to 1963.


Colin Powell returned to Vietnam as a major in 1968, serving as assistant chief of staff of operations for the 23rd Infantry Division.


Colin Powell proved unable to uncover either wide-spread unnecessary killings, war crimes, or any facts related to My Lai.


Colin Powell was charged with investigating a detailed letter by 11th Light Infantry Brigade soldier Tom Glen, which backed up rumored allegations of the 1968 My Lai massacre.


When he returned to the US from Vietnam in 1971, Colin Powell earned a Master of Business Administration degree from George Washington University in Washington, DC He later served a White House Fellowship under President Richard Nixon from 1972 to 1973.


Colin Powell always professed that what set Emerson apart was his great love of his soldiers and concern for their welfare.


Colin Powell subsequently served as the junior military assistant to deputy secretaries of defense Charles Duncan and Graham Claytor, receiving a promotion to brigadier general on June 1,1979.


When Colin Powell opened the note in 1989, after he had become Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he read Purviance's prediction that Colin Powell would become Chief of Staff of the United States Army.


Colin Powell wrote that he kept the Lincoln quote as a reminder to remain humble despite his rank and position.


Colin Powell retained his role as the now-senior military assistant into the presidency of Ronald Reagan, serving under Claytor's successor as deputy secretary of defense, Frank Carlucci.


Colin Powell declined an offer from Secretary of the Army John O Marsh Jr.


Intent on attaining a division command, Powell petitioned Carlucci and Army chief of staff Edward C Meyer for reassignment away from the Pentagon, with Meyer appointing Powell as assistant division commander for operations and training of the 4th Infantry Division at Fort Carson, Colorado under Major General John W Hudachek.


In November 1985, Colin Powell solicited and delivered to Weinberger a legal assessment that the transfer of Hawk missiles to Israel or Iran, without Congressional notification, would be "a clear violation" of the law.


Colin Powell was never indicted by the Independent Counsel in connection with the Iran-Contra affair.


In 1986, Colin Powell took over the command of V Corps in Frankfurt, Germany, from Robert Lewis "Sam" Wetzel.


Colin Powell helped negotiate a number of arms treaties with Mikhail Gorbachev, the leader of the Soviet Union.


Colin Powell became the third general since World War II to reach four-star rank without ever serving as a division commander, joining Dwight D Eisenhower and Alexander Haig.


Colin Powell was the first JCS chair who received his commission through ROTC.


Colin Powell continued as chairman of the JCS into the Clinton presidency.


Colin Powell clashed with then-US ambassador to the United Nations Madeleine Albright over the Bosnian crisis, as he opposed any military intervention that did not involve US interests.


Colin Powell regularly clashed with Secretary of Defense Leslie Aspin, whom he was initially hesitant to support after Aspin was nominated by President Clinton.


The incident caused Colin Powell to grow more irritated towards Aspin and led to his early resignation on September 30,1993.


Colin Powell later defended Aspin, saying in part that he could not fault Aspin for Aspin's decision to remove a Lockheed AC-130 from the list of armaments requested for the operation.


Colin Powell took an early resignation from his tenure as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on September 30,1993.


Colin Powell was touted as a possible opponent of Bill Clinton in the 1996 US presidential election, possibly capitalizing on a split conservative vote in Iowa and even leading New Hampshire polls for the GOP nomination, but Powell declined, citing a lack of passion for politics.


In 1997, Colin Powell founded America's Promise with the objective of helping children from all socioeconomic sectors.


Colin Powell was mentioned as a potential candidate in the 2000 US presidential election, but again decided against running.


Once Texas Governor George W Bush secured the Republican nomination, Powell endorsed him for president and spoke at the 2000 Republican National Convention.


Colin Powell was unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate by voice vote on January 20,2001, and ceremonially sworn in on January 26.


On September 11,2001, Colin Powell was in Lima, Peru, meeting with President Alejandro Toledo and attending a meeting of foreign ministers of the Organization of American States.


Colin Powell came under fire for his role in building the case for the 2003 invasion of Iraq.


Colin Powell favored involving the international community in the invasion, as opposed to a unilateral approach.


Colin Powell stated that he gave his speech to the UN on "four days' notice".


Britain's Channel 4 News reported soon afterwards that a British intelligence dossier that Colin Powell had referred to as a "fine paper" during his presentation had been based on old material and plagiarized an essay by American graduate student Ibrahim al-Marashi.


In September 2005, Colin Powell was asked about the speech during an interview with Barbara Walters and responded that it was a "blot" on his record.


Colin Powell referred to Wolfowitz and other top members of Donald Rumsfeld's staff "as the 'JINSA crowd,' " in reference to the pro-Israel Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs.


Once Saddam Hussein had been deposed, Colin Powell's renewed role was to establish a working international coalition, this time to assist in the rebuilding of post-war Iraq.


On September 13,2004, Colin Powell testified before the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, acknowledging that the sources who provided much of the information in his February 2003 UN presentation were "wrong" and that it was "unlikely" that any stockpiles of WMDs would be found.


Additionally, Colin Powell was critical of other aspects of US foreign policy in the past, such as its support for the 1973 Chilean coup d'etat.


In September 2004, Colin Powell described the Darfur genocide as "genocide", thus becoming the first cabinet member to apply the term "genocide" to events in an ongoing conflict.


Colin Powell announced his resignation as Secretary of State on November 15,2004, shortly after Bush was reelected.


Bush's desire for Colin Powell to resign was communicated to Colin Powell via a phone call by Bush's chief of staff, Andrew Card.


In September 2005, Colin Powell criticized the response to Hurricane Katrina, and said thousands of people were not properly protected because they were poor, rather than because they were black.


In September 2006, Colin Powell sided with more moderate Senate Republicans in supporting more rights for detainees and opposing President Bush's terrorism bill.


Colin Powell backed Senators John Warner, John McCain, and Lindsey Graham in their statement that US military and intelligence personnel in future wars will suffer for abuses committed in 2006 by the US in the name of fighting terrorism.


Colin Powell served on the Council on Foreign Relations Board of directors.


In 2008, Colin Powell served as a spokesperson for National Mentoring Month, a campaign held each January to recruit volunteer mentors for at-risk youth.


In September 2009, Colin Powell advised President Obama against surging US forces in Afghanistan.


Colin Powell was a moderate Republican from 1995 until 2021, when he became an independent following the January 6 United States Capitol attack.


Colin Powell was pro-choice regarding abortion, and expressed some support for an assault weapons ban.


Colin Powell stated in his autobiography that he supported affirmative action that levels the playing field, without giving a leg up to undeserving persons because of racial issues.


Colin Powell originally suggested the don't ask, don't tell policy to President Clinton, though he later supported its repeal as proposed by Robert Gates and Admiral Mike Mullen in January 2010, saying "circumstances had changed".


At the 2007 Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado, Colin Powell stated that he had spent two and a half hours explaining to President Bush "the consequences of going into an Arab country and becoming the occupiers".


Colin Powell donated the maximum allowable amount to John McCain's campaign in the summer of 2007 and in early 2008, his name was listed as a possible running mate for Republican nominee McCain's bid during the 2008 US presidential election.


Colin Powell considered the administration to have had success and achieved progress in foreign and domestic policy arenas.


Colin Powell called on GOP leaders to publicly denounce such talk.


Colin Powell was very vocal on the state of the Republican Party.


Colin Powell remarked on Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's statements regarding immigrants, noting that there were many immigrants working in Trump hotels.


In March 2016, Colin Powell denounced the "nastiness" of the 2016 Republican primaries during an interview on CBS This Morning.


Colin Powell called Donald Trump a "national disgrace", with "no sense of shame".


Colin Powell wrote of Trump's role in the birther movement, which he called "racist".


Colin Powell endorsed Clinton on October 25,2016, stating it was "because I think she's qualified, and the other gentleman is not qualified".


On June 7,2020, Colin Powell announced he would be voting for former Vice President Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election.


Colin Powell acknowledged a "very personal" email relationship but denied further involvement.


On October 18,2021, Colin Powell, who was being treated for multiple myeloma, died at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center of complications from COVID-19 at the age of 84.


Colin Powell had been vaccinated, but his myeloma compromised his immune system; he had early-stage Parkinson's disease.


Colin Powell is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Section 60, Grave 11917.