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Alma Powell

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Information about Alma Powell

Profile image of Alma Powell

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
Occupation(s):
Civic Leader

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Yellow
Favorite Food:
Chicken
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall, Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Home
Favorite Quote:
Hold Fast To That Which Is Good.

Birthplace

Born:
10/27/1937
Birth Location:
Birmingham, Alabama

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
Occupation(s):
Civic Leader

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Yellow
Favorite Food:
Chicken
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall, Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Home
Favorite Quote:
Hold Fast To That Which Is Good.

Birthplace

Born:
10/27/1937
Birth Location:
Birmingham
See how Alma Powell is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Alma Vivian Johnson Powell was born on October 27, 1937 in Birmingham, Alabama to Mildred Elisa Bell and Robert Charles Johnson. Powell is the eldest of two daughters. She attended Pratt Elementary School and Parker High School. Powell’s father was her high school principal. She graduated in 1954 and went on to Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee at the age of sixteen. In 1957, Powell graduated from Fisk University with her B.A. degree.

Powell’s first job was as a radio show host. She had a show called 'Luncheon with Alma' that featured women’s news and lunchtime listening music. A year later, Powell decided to move north to Boston, Massachusetts. There, she went to Emerson College to study pathology and audiology. Between 1958 and 1962, Powell worked for the Boston Guild for the Hard of Hearing as an audiologist. In 1962, Powell met her husband, General Colin Powell, and was married the same year in Powell’s hometown of Birmingham. Powell traveled around the world with her husband and family as her husband rose to the rank of general in the U.S. Army. Powell was the chair of America’s Promise - The Alliance for Youth and authored two children’s books, America’s Promise and My Little Wagon. Powell served as vice chair of the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts and chair of the Pew Center for Civic Change.

Powell received several awards and honors including the doctorate of humane letters from Emerson College in 1996; the Pew Center for Civic Change Award in 1997; and the Washingtonian of the Year Award for 2000.

Powell is married and has three children, Michael, Linda and Annemarie.

See how Alma Powell is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Alma Powell's interview, session 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Alma Powell lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Alma Powell describes her maternal family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Alma Powell describes her maternal grandmother's early teaching career
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Alma Powell describes her maternal grandfather's education
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Alma Powell describes her maternal family's roots in Belltown, Kentucky
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Alma Powell describes how her maternal grandparents met
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Alma Powell talks about the history of Kentucky's Berea College
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Alma Powell describes the founding of Kentucky's Middlesboro Colored School
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Alma Powell describes her mother's siblings
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Alma Powell describes Kentucky's Berea College
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Alma Powell describes the impact of Kentucky's Day Law upon Berea College
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Alma Powell describes her maternal grandmother's relationship to Berea College
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Alma Powell talks about her maternal great grandfather's slaveholder
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Alma Powell describes her maternal grandfather's gift to his wife
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Alma Powell talks about the Palmer Method of penmanship
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Alma Powell describes her paternal grandparents, pt. 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Alma Powell describes her paternal grandparents, pt. 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Alma Powell describes her paternal grandparents' life in Birmingham, Alabama
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Alma Powell describes her family members' employment during World War II
  • Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Alma Powell describes her parents' courtship
  • Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Alma Powell describes her mother's career after her marriage
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Alma Powell describes her mother's work with the Girl Scouts of the United States of America
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Alma Powell describes her earliest childhood memories
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Alma Powell talks about her paternal grandmother, Alma Smith Johnson
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Alma Powell remembers Camp Pauline Bray Fletcher
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Alma Powell recalls her childhood vacations to the Great Smoky Mountains
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Alma Powell describes her early memories of her sister
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Alma Powell describes the smells of her childhood
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Alma Powell describes the sounds of her childhood
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Alma Powell remembers Birmingham's Enon Ridge community
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Alma Powell remembers her neighbors in Birmingham, Alabama
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Alma Powell remembers her daily route to Birmingham's South Pratt School
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Alma Powell remembers her time at Birmingham's South Pratt School
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Alma Powell describes her childhood friend, Willa Yvonne Echols Hamilton
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Alma Powell recalls her early impression of Birmingham, Alabama
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Alma Powell recalls race relations during her childhood in Birmingham
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Alma Powell remembers instances of passing for white in the South
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Alma Powell talks about the decision to pass for white
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Alma Powell remembers her time at Birmingham's Lincoln School
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Alma Powell describes Birmingham's A.H. Parker High School
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Alma Powell recalls the uniforms at Birmingham's A.H. Parker High School
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Alma Powell describes her social life in Birmingham, Alabamga
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Alma Powell recalls her impression of Fisk University's social life
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Alma Powell describes her childhood holidays
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Alma Powell describes her parents' social life in Birmingham
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Alma Powell remembers her decision to attend Fisk University
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Alma Powell describes Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Alma Powell remembers her time at Fisk University, pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Alma Powell remembers her time at Fisk University, pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Alma Powell talks about majoring in theater at Fisk University
  • Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Alma Powell recalls her friend's departure from Fisk University
  • Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Alma Powell reflects upon Fisk University's social reputation
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Alma Powell remembers her radio program, 'Luncheon with Alma'
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Alma Powell recalls living in Boston, Massachusetts during graduate school
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Alma Powell describes her first engagement
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Alma Powell describes her home and social life in Boston during graduate school
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Alma Powell recalls her training in speech pathology and audiology at Boston's Emerson College
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Alma Powell recalls meeting General Colin L. Powell for the first time
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Alma Powell describes her early attraction to General Colin L. Powell
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Alma Powell remembers meeting General Colin L. Powell's family
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Alma Powell recalls when her mother met General Colin L. Powell's parents
  • Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Alma Powell recalls her introduction to U.S. military life
  • Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Alma Powell recalls searching for housing in Fayetteville, North Carolina
  • Tape: 6 Story: 12 - Alma Powell recalls living with their white U.S. military friends in Fayetteville, North Carolina
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Alma Powell recalls General Colin L. Powell's service in the Cuban Missile Crisis
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Alma Powell explains why students marched in Birmingham during the Civil Rights Movement
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Alma Powell remembers the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Alma Powell remembers the bombings in Birmingham, Alabama
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Alma Powell recalls the first time General Colin L. Powell returned from Vietnam
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Alma Powell recalls being apart from General Colin L. Powell during the Vietnam War
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Alma Powell recalls living in Phenix City, Alabama
  • Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Alma Powell recalls living on post at Fort Benning, Georgia, pt. 1
  • Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Alma Powell recalls living on post at Fort Benning, Georgia, pt. 2
  • Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Alma Powell recalls her time on post at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas
  • Tape: 7 Story: 11 - Alma Powell recalls General Colin L. Powell's second tour in Vietnam
  • Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Alma Powell describes General Colin L. Powell's reticence about his war experiences
  • Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Alma Powell recalls General Colin L. Powell's second tour to Vietnam
  • Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Alma Powell remembers General Colin L. Powell's M.B.A. degree
  • Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Alma Powell remembers the births of her children
  • Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Alma Powell talks about Brigadier General George B. Price
  • Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Alma Powell recalls the start of General Colin L. Powell's Washington, D.C. career
  • Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Alma Powell recalls General Colin L. Powell's White House fellowship
  • Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Alma Powell remembers her admiration of First Lady Pat Nixon
  • Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Alma Powell reflects upon her and her family's political affiliations
  • Tape: 8 Story: 10 - Alma Powell remembers her early social life in Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 8 Story: 11 - Alma Powell remembers the White House Fellows' travels
  • Tape: 8 Story: 12 - Alma Powell recalls General Colin L. Powell's service in Korea
  • Tape: 8 Story: 13 - Alma Powell remembers her community in Prince William County, Virginia
  • Tape: 8 Story: 14 - Alma Powell recalls her children's year-round schooling in Prince William County, Virginia
  • Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Slating of Alma Powell's interview, session 2
  • Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Alma Powell remembers General Colin L. Powell's return to Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Alma Powell describes hosting U.S. military social gatherings
  • Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Alma Powell talks about U.S. Army wives' social lives
  • Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Alma Powell describes the role of entertaining in the U.S. military, pt. 1
  • Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Alma Powell describes the role of entertaining in the U.S. military, pt. 2
  • Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Alma Powell describes the National War College in Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Alma Powell recalls General Colin L. Powell becoming Charles Duncan, Jr.'s military assistant
  • Tape: 9 Story: 9 - Alma Powell recalls travelling during her husband's assistantship to the secretary of defense
  • Tape: 9 Story: 10 - Alma Powell recalls accompanying Jane D. Weinberger on their travels abroad
  • Tape: 9 Story: 11 - Alma Powell recalls leaving her daughter at home when she traveled abroad
  • Tape: 9 Story: 12 - Alma Powell recalls General Colin L. Powell's return to the U.S. Army
  • Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Alma Powell talks about the status of African Americans in the U.S. military
  • Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Alma Powell describes General Colin L. Powell's duties as assistant to Caspar W. Weinberger
  • Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Alma Powell recalls General Colin L. Powell's proximity to crises as the defense secretary's assistant
  • Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Alma Powell recalls living in Germany when General Colin L. Powell commanded the V Corps
  • Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Alma Powell recalls the Iran-Contra Affair's impact upon General Colin L. Powell's career
  • Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Alma Powell recalls when General Colin L. Powell became national security advisor
  • Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Alma Powell describes the White House security clearance process
  • Tape: 10 Story: 8 - Alma Powell recalls her son's accident during his U.S. Army service in Germany
  • Tape: 10 Story: 9 - Alma Powell recalls her son's recovery process
  • Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Alma Powell describes the impact of her son's accident
  • Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Alma Powell remembers her son's wedding
  • Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Alma Powell recalls her son's keynote speech at The Pentagon
  • Tape: 11 Story: 4 - Alma Powell describes General Colin L. Powell's role as national security advisor
  • Tape: 11 Story: 5 - Alma Powell explains the impact of the Goldwater-Nichols Act
  • Tape: 11 Story: 6 - Alma Powell talks about President Ronald Wilson Reagan's leadership
  • Tape: 11 Story: 7 - Alma Powell remembers preparations for the 1988 Moscow Summit
  • Tape: 11 Story: 8 - Alma Powell describes the impact of the Cold War
  • Tape: 11 Story: 9 - Alma Powell reflects upon the ongoing conflict in the Middle East
  • Tape: 11 Story: 10 - Alma Powell describes General Colin L. Powell's career in the 1980s and 1990s
  • Tape: 11 Story: 11 - Alma Powell talks about the criticism of First Lady Nancy Reagan
  • Tape: 12 Story: 1 - Alma Powell describes the enlisted aide program
  • Tape: 12 Story: 2 - Alma Powell recalls relocating to Fort McPherson near Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 12 Story: 3 - Alma Powell remembers seeing a German officer at the Reforger exercise
  • Tape: 12 Story: 4 - Alma Powell recalls General Colin L. Powell's Joint Chiefs of Staff chairmanship
  • Tape: 12 Story: 5 - Alma Powell describes her U.S. military housing in Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 12 Story: 6 - Alma Powell remembers the beginning of the Gulf War
  • Tape: 12 Story: 7 - Alma Powell talks about First Lady Laura Bush
  • Tape: 12 Story: 8 - Alma Powell talks about the chairmanship of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
  • Tape: 13 Story: 1 - Alma Powell describes the White House in Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 13 Story: 2 - Alma Powell describes The Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia
  • Tape: 13 Story: 3 - Alma Powell recalls hosting General Mikhail A. Moiseyev and Galina Moiseyev
  • Tape: 13 Story: 4 - Alma Powell remembers meeting General Mikhail A. Moiseyev and Galina Moiseyev
  • Tape: 13 Story: 5 - Alma Powell recalls giving Galina Moiseyev a tour of Fort Drum in New York
  • Tape: 13 Story: 6 - Alma Powell recalls befriending General Mikhail A. Moiseyev and Galina Moiseyev
  • Tape: 13 Story: 7 - Alma Powell recalls General Mikhail A. Moiseyev and Galina Moiseyev's sentiments about the United States
  • Tape: 13 Story: 8 - Alma Powell talks about volunteerism's uniqueness to America
  • Tape: 13 Story: 9 - Alma Powell talks about the mission of the Gulf War
  • Tape: 13 Story: 10 - Alma Powell recalls President William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton's election
  • Tape: 13 Story: 11 - Alma Powell recalls bombings during General Colin L. Powell chairmanship of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
  • Tape: 13 Story: 12 - Alma Powell recalls General Colin L. Powell being considered for president
  • Tape: 14 Story: 1 - Alma Powell reflects upon the state of the world
  • Tape: 14 Story: 2 - Alma Powell recalls General Colin L. Powell's retirement from the U.S. military
  • Tape: 14 Story: 3 - Alma Powell describes the founding of America's Promise Alliance
  • Tape: 14 Story: 4 - Alma Powell recalls the President's Summit for America's Future
  • Tape: 14 Story: 5 - Alma Powell describes the purpose of America's Promise Alliance, pt. 1
  • Tape: 14 Story: 6 - Alma Powell describes the purpose of America's Promise Alliance, pt. 2
  • Tape: 14 Story: 7 - Alma Powell describes the Best Friends Foundation
  • Tape: 14 Story: 8 - Alma Powell describes communities of promise
  • Tape: 14 Story: 9 - Alma Powell recalls becoming chair of America's Promise Alliance
  • Tape: 14 Story: 10 - Alma Powell remembers General Colin L. Powell's appointment as secretary of state
  • Tape: 14 Story: 11 - Alma Powell recalls General Colin L. Powell's early challenges as secretary of state
  • Tape: 15 Story: 1 - Alma Powell talks about the 2000 presidential election
  • Tape: 15 Story: 2 - Alma Powell talks about diplomatic challenges
  • Tape: 15 Story: 3 - Alma Powell reflects upon the country's leadership after September 11, 2001
  • Tape: 15 Story: 4 - Alma Powell talks about Osama bin Laden
  • Tape: 15 Story: 5 - Alma Powell recalls establishing a chain of concern with the other cabinet wives
  • Tape: 15 Story: 6 - Alma Powell recalls her volunteerism with the other cabinet wives
  • Tape: 15 Story: 7 - Alma Powell recalls General Colin L. Powell's 2003 speech to the United Nations
  • Tape: 15 Story: 8 - Alma Powell recalls Michael Powell's challenges on the Federal Communications Commission
  • Tape: 15 Story: 9 - Alma Powell describes General Colin L. Powell's disinterest in sightseeing
  • Tape: 15 Story: 10 - Alma Powell reflects upon the future of America's Promise Alliance
  • Tape: 15 Story: 11 - Alma Powell describes the reception of her book, 'America's Promise'
  • Tape: 16 Story: 1 - Alma Powell shares her hope for politics in the United States
  • Tape: 16 Story: 2 - Alma Powell describes her concerns for the African American community, pt. 1
  • Tape: 16 Story: 3 - Alma Powell talks about the SEED School of Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 16 Story: 4 - Alma Powell describes her concerns for the African American community, pt. 2
  • Tape: 16 Story: 5 - Alma Powell reflects upon the future of the family unit
  • Tape: 16 Story: 6 - Alma Powell reflects upon her legacy
  • Tape: 16 Story: 7 - Alma Powell narrates her photographs, pt. 1
  • Tape: 17 Story: 1 - Alma Powell narrates her photographs, pt. 2