Our hearts are heavy at the Urban League of Greater Atlanta as we express our sincere condolences and appreciation for a life of servant leadership to his wife Alma, family, friends, and loved ones of General Colin Powell, who began his professional life in the military and served in high-level posts in multiple administrations in a storied career. Gen. Powell, the first Black American to serve as the Secretary of State and the first Black chair of the Joint Chiefs, died today at age 84 from complications of Covid-19 and pre-existing conditions, his family reported.
“The Black community lost an admirable leader and a self-proclaimed ‘reluctant yet courageous soldier’ today in Gen. Colin Powell, who was an exceptional leader who did not let political party affiliation dictate his stand on the important issues of the day,” said Nancy Flake Johnson, ULGA president and CEO. “His voice will be missed as we all try to pull together to advance Democracy, combat hatred and racism, and give everyone a fair chance to succeed in our nation.”
In a televised interview after the insurrection on Capitol Hill in January 2021, Gen. Powell said of politicians in Congress, “… We need people who will speak the truth, who remember that they are here for our fellow citizens. They are here for our country. They are not here simply to be reelected again.”
Born in Harlem on April 5, 1937, to parents who emigrated from Jamaica, Colin Luther Powell spent his formative years in the Bronx in a community of immigrants who were Jewish, West Indian, and Italian. He entered active-duty military service after college in 1958 and remained a loyal servant-leader for the rest of his life.
Thank you for your service and the dignity and pride you brought to Black Americans and our nation. Rest in peace and power, Gen. Powell. You will be sorely missed but never forgotten. We pledge to carry on your legacy through our continued fight for our Democracy and a world that is just and that honors and respects all people.