If you want a good look at a decorated African American, look no further than the career of Colin Luther Powell. On this day in 2001, he was brought out of retirement by President George W. Bush and sworn in as Secretary of State. He would become the first Black Secretary of State in the history of the country. Since he was brought out of retirement to such a high ranking position, his tenure in the position would probably be one of the most interesting. However, there was a reason they chose Powell, and it wasn’t to push the race card. The Bush campaign knew exactly what they were getting thanks to Powell’s past ambitions.
Spending the majority of his career on the battlefield, Powell fought bravely in the Vietnam War with the U.S. Army. It is well known that everyone who came back from that war was changed, for better or for worse. Throughout his time in the army, he rose to the rank of general, showing strong leadership qualities for a soldier of his age. These same qualities are what landed him the National Security Advisor position with then President Ronald Reagan. President Reagan held him in high regard during his term, which led to his next big opportunity down the road.
George Bush, Sr., took some cues from Reagan and appointed Powell as the chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff. Together, they played an instrumental role in the resolution of the first Gulf War. In a surprising move, Powell retired from service in 1993, and toured the country sharing his intellect on the lecture circuit. He was already riding high with a successful autobiography entitled “My American Journey,” which is why it came as a shock when President George W. Bush pursued the accomplished statesman and appointed him as Secretary of State in 2001. When you consider the firestorm that had to be kept calm under during the President’s term, Bush made the correct decision by adding Powell to his team
After George W. Bush got elected for a second term, Powell signed his resignation, a surprising turn of events. He was replaced by Condoleezza Rice, the second African American and the first female ever to hold the position. There have been many rumors regarding why someone as decorated as Colin Powell tendered his resignation, but whatever his motivation, he will still be one of the few reasons that the Bush campaign survived a second term.