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NAACP holds centennial convention in New York
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell speaks during the NAACP's centennial convention held on July 15, 2009 in New York City. The NAACP has been holding a week-long gathering which features numerous speakers and workshops. (UPI Photo/Monika Graff)
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Legion of Merit (2) Soldier's Medal Bronze Star Purple Heart

Colin Luther Powell (pronounced /ˈkoʊlɨn/; born April 5, 1937) is an American statesman and a retired four-star general in the United States Army. He was the 65th United States Secretary of State, serving under President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2005. He was the first African American to serve in that position. During his military career, Powell also served as National Security Advisor (1987–1989), as Commander of the U.S. Army Forces Command (1989) and as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (1989–1993), holding the latter position during the Gulf War. He was the first, and so far the only, African American to serve on the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Colin Luther Powell was born on April 5, 1937 in Harlem, a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Manhattan, to Jamaican immigrant parents Maud Arial (née McKoy) and Luther Theophilus Powell. He also has Scottish ancestry. Powell was raised in the South Bronx and attended Morris High School, a former public school in the Bronx, from which he graduated in 1954. While at school, he worked at a local baby furniture store where he picked up Yiddish from the shopkeepers and some of the customers. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in geology from the City College of New York in 1958 and was a self-admitted C average student. He was later able to earn a Master of Business Administration degree from the George Washington University in 1971, after his second tour in Vietnam.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Colin Powell."
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