Life and Death of First Black Secretary of State – Colin Powell


Kasia Jackson, Reporter

Colin Powell, first Black Secretary of State and a former four-star general, died of Covid-19 complications on October 18th, 2021. Powell battling cancer in addition to getting Covid-19 was too much for his body to endure.

Aside from the tragedy of his passing, he left behind an honorable legacy. Achieving a bachelor’s degree in geology and born from immigrant parents are a few of them. He made history by being the first Black Secretary of State during President Bush’s term. When he was a Vietnam War hero, he served in the first two tours and saved men from a burning helicopter. “He received the Soldier’s Medal” for doing such heroic actions (Rebecca Shabad, NBC News).

He was adored by President Biden, Bush, former Vice President Cheney and many more. With having such admiration, he received “the Presidential Medal of Freedom — twice,” (NBC News). Powell, typically classified as a Republican, has gone against his party by supporting “Barack Obama in 2008, as well as Hillary Clinton in 2016 and Joe Biden in 2020” (BBC).

Powell was fighting multiple myeloma, a cancer of the plasma cell that is supposed to help fight off infections, viruses, and more. He also had Parkinson’s disease, a condition that affects the central nervous system causing stiffness, loss of balance, tremors, etc. Powell was fully vaccinated when he tested positive with Covid, but he already had a compromised immune system that could not help fight off the virus. Since being vaccinated and still passing from Covid, it can be worrisome to others and cause questioning on the effectiveness of the vaccine. According to Rong-Gong Lin II, “Experts say Mr. Powell’s death should not be interpreted as a failure of COVID-19 vaccines in the broader population…Fully vaccinated patients who require hospitalization for COVID-19 are generally 80 or older or have compromised immune systems,” Dr. Chin-Hong said (Pittsburgh Post- Gazette). His age and conditions are contributions to the vaccine not being effective for him individually, not the vaccine being ineffective as a whole.

Leaving behind a legacy as such, may he rest in peace; condolences to his family and to all who cherished him.