This hour-long, one-on-one interview program provided a rare, insightful glimpse into the life and career of General Colin Powell. Taped live on April 29, 2006 at George Washington University, General Colin Powell was interviewed by political commentator and author, Juan Williams.
An Evening With Colin Powell marks the tenth in the series of PBS-TV interviews produced by The HistoryMakers. Powell’s son, Michael Powell, began the program by welcoming all those in attendance. The opening procession was conducted by Howard University’s AFROTC DET 30 in honor of Powell’s military service.
General Powell began the interview speaking about his childhood and his family’s Caribbean heritage. He shared stories of his career as a soldier and his appointment as the first African American United States Secretary of State. He went on to explain the history and contributions of African Americans in the military and their involvement in every war in the history of the United States.
Historic footage was used to showcase key moments in Powell’s life, including his induction into the Leavenworth Hall of Fame, and speeches in support of the troops throughout his time as U.S. Secretary of State. At the conclusion of the interview, Powell reflected on his life and shared his hopes for the future.
General Colin L. Powell, USA (Ret) became the 65th Secretary of State on January 20, 2001. While Secretary, Powell led the State Department in major efforts to solve regional and civil conflicts in the Middle East, between Israel and its Arab neighbors, in Sudan, the Congo and Liberia, in the Balkans, Cyprus, Haiti, Northern Ireland and elsewhere. Before becoming Secretary of State, Colin Powell served as a key aide to the Secretary of Defense and as National Security Advisor to President Ronald Reagan. He also served thirty-five years in the United States Army, rising to the rank of Four-Star General and serving as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (1989—1993). During this time, he oversaw twenty-eight crises, including the Panama intervention of 1989 and Operation Desert Storm in the 1991 Persian Gulf War.
General Powell is the recipient of numerous U.S. military awards and decorations including the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Army Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Soldier’s Medal, Bronze Star Medal, and the Purple Heart. General Powell’s civilian awards include two Presidential Medals of Freedom, the President’s Citizens Medal, the Congressional Gold Medal and the Secretary of Energy Distinguished Service Medal. His many international awards include a French Legion of Honour and an honorary knighthood bestowed by H.M. Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain.
General Colin Powell and his wife, Alma Johnson Powell, have three children, Michael, Linda and Annemarie, and three grandchildren.
Juan Williams, one of America’s leading political commentators and writers, is a Political Analyst for the Fox News Channel. Williams is the author of the critically acclaimed biography: Thurgood Marshall—American Revolutionary, as well the nonfiction bestseller, Eyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Years, 1954-1965, the companion volume to the highly acclaimed television series. Williams is also the author of This Far by Faith—Stories from the African American Religious Experience, My Soul Looks Back in Wonder—Voices of the Civil Rights Experience, and I’ll Find a Way or Make One, a tribute to historically black colleges and universities. Williams spent eighteen months as host of NPR’s afternoon talk show, Talk of the Nation. He has won several awards for investigative journalism and his opinion columns, as well as an Emmy Award for TV documentary writing.
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