Powell, known as the first Black U.S. secretary of state (who paved the way in several Republican presidential administrations) also assisted in forming American foreign policy in the final years of the 20th century and the early years of the 21st.
“General Colin L. Powell, former U.S. Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, passed away this morning due to complications from Covid 19,” the Powell family wrote on Facebook, CNN reported.
“We have lost a remarkable and loving husband, father, grandfather and a great American,” they added, also mentioning that Powell was fully vaccinated.
Powell was sworn in as President George Bush’s secretary of state in 2001, and climbed up to the highest-ranking Black public official to date in America.
“I think it shows to the world what is possible in this country,” Powell said of his history-making nomination during his Senate confirmation hearing. “It shows to the world that: Follow our model, and over a period of time from our beginning, if you believe in the values that espouse, you can see things as miraculous as me sitting before you to receive your approval.”
Powell was born in in Harlem, New York, to Jamaican immigrants and went to school at the City College of New York, becoming involved in in ROTC.
“I liked the structure and the discipline of the military,” Powell said, according to a CNN profile of him in the early 2000s. “I felt somewhat distinctive wearing a uniform. I hadn’t been distinctive in much else.”
Known nationally, and around the world due to his famous position, Powell was Bush’s “top diplomat,” CNN reported during rocky times including the terrorist attacks of 9/11.
After stepping away from politics, Powell moved toward a more private life, CNN reported. He joined the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins in 2005 and was a strategic adviser until his passing, the article added.
Not one to shy away from the politics, he spoke his mind against President Donald Trump’s antics by snubbing him during his second presidential campaign in 2020 and supported then-presidential nominee Joe Biden in June last year, while holding Trump’s feet to the fire.
“We have a Constitution. And we have to follow that Constitution. And the President has drifted away from it,” he told CNN, adding that he “certainly cannot in any way support President Trump this year.
“I can no longer call myself a fellow Republican. I’m not a fellow of anything right now,” he told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria on “GPS.” “I’m just a citizen who has voted Republican, voted Democrat throughout my entire career. And right now, I’m just watching my country and not concerned with parties.”
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