Breaking Barriers: A Look Back At The Life Of Colin Powell
By Ryan Shepard
October 18, 2021
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.