The first black US Secretary of state, Colin Powell has died today due to complications arising from covid-19. This was announced by his family through a Facebook post. The Powell family stated “We have lost a remarkable and loving husband, father, grandfather and a great American,” they said, adding that he had been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.
The 84-year-old 4-star general served as former U.S. Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and helped shape foreign relations in several Republican administrations. The four-star general was raised in the South Bronx. “He was highly respected at home and abroad. And most important, Colin was a family man and a friend.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a laudatory statement that Powell’s life was nothing less than a personification of the American Dream. “It is hard to imagine a more quintessentially American story: A son of Jamaican immigrants who learned Yiddish from his boyhood neighbors in the Bronx becomes a four-star general in the United States Army and serves four presidential administrations, including as National Security Advisor, the youngest-ever Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the first Black Secretary of State,” he said.
Current American Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters in a press conference that Powell was always ready to help those under him, having total regard for everyone at the State Department regardless of rank. When he “hopped on to the elevator he pulled others on with him. He wasn’t overly concerned with hierarchy; he wanted to hear from everyone.
“He walked around the building, dropping into offices unannounced, asking people what they needed, making sure they knew he was counting on them. Secretary of State Powell was, simply and completely, a leader.”