Colin Powell Biography
Colin Powellformer Secretary of State, retired general
Born: April 5, 1937
Birthplace: New York, New York
Powell's parents, Luther and Maud Powell, were Jamaican immigrants who lived in the South Bronx. After attending the New York City public schools, Powell enrolled in the City College of New York (CCNY), where he earned a bachelor's degree in geology and participated in ROTC. After graduating in 1958, he became an Army second lieutenant. He later earned an MBA from George Washington University in Washington, DC. He served 35 years in the military, and became a 4-star general. From 1989 to 1993, Powell served as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the nation's highest military position, reporting to the president. He was in command during the 1991 Persian Gulf War. After retiring he wrote his autobiography, My American Journey. In 1997 he established America's Promise - The Alliance for Youth, a nonprofit organization to help needy and at-risk children. After being unanimously confirmed by the Senate, he was sworn in as the 65th Secretary of State on January 20, 2001. Powell is married to the former Alma Vivian Johnson of Birmingham, Alabama. They have one son, two daughters, and two grandsons.