This one-on-one interview features host and 60 Minutes correspondent Bill Whitaker in an animated and history-filled discussion with the first black captain at West Point and four-star General Vincent K. Brooks. Valor In The Face of Racism: The History of African Americans in the Military provides a rare opportunity for viewers to learn about the rich history of African Americans in the military—one that dates back to the founding of the United States and continues to today. Brooks hails from a family who boasts four U.S. Army Generals consisting of his father, brother and cousin and a history that can be traced back to the 1600s. His recount of African American history is compelling, as is his “must see” review of America’s war and military efforts, that include segregation and integration of the U.S. Armed Forces as well as the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, World War I and II, the Korean and Vietnam War, and modern day combat like the Persian Gulf War and the Iran Iraq War. The role of African Americans to persist even when confronting racist ideology and beliefs is revelatory. The discussion also features a Q&A session with questions from The HistoryMakers MilitaryMakers Advisory Committee. Don’t miss out on this in-depth exploration of the history of African Americans in the U.S. military.
This 90-minute program is scheduled to stream on YouTube at 12:00 noon EST on Thursday, December 10, 2020 as the tenth installment of The HistoryMakers 20@2020: 20 Days and 20 Nights Convening and Celebration.
Bill Whitaker has covered major news stories domestically and across the globe for CBS News over four decades. He is the 2018 winner of the RTDNA’s highest honor, and the Paul White Award for career achievement. He was named a 60 MINUTES correspondent in March 2014; the 2020-’21 season will be his seventh on the broadcast. Whitaker’s investigation with the Washington Post into the origins of the opioid crisis has won more awards than any other 60 MINUTES work. The first report in the two-part series revealed how the DEA’s efforts to curb the epidemic were hampered by a law pushed by drug industry lobbyists. Whitaker graduated from Hobart and William Smith Colleges with a B.A. degree in American history and from Boston University with a master’s degree in African-American studies. Whitaker also holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley. He was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Hobart and William Smith Colleges in 1997.
Vincent K. Brooks is a career Army officer who recently retired from active duty as a four-star general. During his senior year at West Point, General Brooks was chosen for the paramount position a cadet can hold -- the cadet brigade commander or “First Captain” – making him the first African American to lead the student body. He is also the eighth African American in history to attain the military’s top rank – four-star general in the United States Army. He has a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point; a Master of Military Art and Science from the prestigious U.S. Army School of Advanced Military Studies at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas; was a National Security Fellow at the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government; and holds an honorary Doctor of Laws from the New England School of Law. Widely respected as a speaker and leader of cohesive, innovative organizations, within and beyond the military, his areas of expertise are: leadership in complex organizations, crisis leadership, and building cohesive trust-based teams, national security, policy, strategy, international relations, military operations, combating terrorism and countering the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, diversity and inclusion. He is a combat veteran and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.