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The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr.

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Information about The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr.

Profile image of The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr.

Profession

Category:
LawMakers
PoliticalMakers
Occupation(s):
Government Lawyer
Presidential Appointee

Favorites

Favorite Color:
North Carolina Blue
Favorite Food:
Spaghetti, Chili
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Anywhere Warm
Favorite Quote:
I Think Therefore I Am.

Birthplace

Born:
6/21/1942
Birth Location:
Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Profession

Category:
LawMakers
PoliticalMakers
Occupation(s):
Government Lawyer
Presidential Appointee

Favorites

Favorite Color:
North Carolina Blue
Favorite Food:
Spaghetti, Chili
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Anywhere Warm
Favorite Quote:
I Think Therefore I Am.

Birthplace

Born:
6/21/1942
Birth Location:
Winston-Salem
See how The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Former United States Secretary of the Army and former United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs Togo Dennis West, Jr. was born on June 21, 1942 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina to Togo D. West, Sr. and Evelyn E. Carter West. His grandmother named him after Japanese Admiral Heihachiro Togo, hero of 1905’s Russo-Japanese War. West grew up in East Winston, North Carolina where his mother was a teacher and his father was the principal of Atkins High School. West attended Atkins High School, graduating in 1959 as a member of the National Honor Society, valedictorian and an Eagle Scout with Bronze Palm. In 1965, he earned his B.S. degree from Howard University and worked briefly as an electrical engineer. West entered Howard University Law School and in 1967 worked as a legal intern for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. West became managing editor of the Howard Law Journal and graduated first in his class with his J.D. degree in 1968.

After clerking for Harold R. Tyler, Jr., a federal district court judge, West was commissioned a second lieutenant in the United States Army. West served in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps where he was recognized with the Legion of Merit and the Meritorious Service Medal. He subsequently practiced law with Covington & Burling in Washington, D.C. before being appointed associate deputy attorney general by President Gerald Ford in 1975. West served in several capacities in President Jimmy Carter’s administration including general counsel to the Navy from 1977 to 1979; special assistant to the secretary and to the deputy secretary of defense in 1979; and general counsel to the United States Department of Defense from 1980 to 1981. He returned to private practice as managing partner at Patterson, Belknap, Webb and Tyler and later served as senior vice president for government relations with Northrop Corporation. In 1993, West was appointed United States Secretary of the Army by President Bill Clinton. In 1998, President Clinton appointed West as United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs. West succeeded Eddie Williams as president and CEO of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies in 2004. In 2006, he founded TLI Leadership Group and served as its Chairman.

West was the recipient of numerous honors including being named Distinguished Eagle Scout in 1995. He later received scouting’s coveted Silver Buffalo Award and the Silver Beaver Award for his work with youth. West was married to the former Gail Berry.

West passed away on March 8, 2018 at age 75.

West was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 8, 2007.

See how The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr.'s interview, session 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. describes his mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. describes his mother's upbringing
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. describes his father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. remembers his paternal grandfather
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. talks about his Chinn ancestors
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. describes his paternal relatives
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. describes his father's education
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. recalls his father's early teaching career
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. describes how his parents met
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. talks about his father's career
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. talks about being an only child
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. describes his earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. recalls the East Winston neighborhood of Winston-Salem, North Carolina
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. describes his experiences of religion
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. describes his early interest in sports
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. talks about North Carolina's colleges
  • Tape: 2 Story: 11 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. remembers the popularity of tobacco use
  • Tape: 2 Story: 12 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. recalls the business community in Winston-Salem, North Carolina
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. describes his early education
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. describes the Safe Bus Company
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. recalls the black business community in Winston-Salem, North Carolina
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. recalls the entertainment of his youth
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. describes his home life
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. remembers joining the Boy Scouts of America
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. remembers a naval cruise with the Boy Scouts
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. describes his travels with the Boy Scouts
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. remembers becoming an Eagle Scout
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. recalls his experiences as an Eagle Scout, pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. recalls his experiences as an Eagle Scout, pt. 2
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. remembers his academic success
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. describes his father's legacy as an educator
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. describes his interest in literature
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. remembers his high school teachers
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. describes his high school activities, pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. describes his high school activities, pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr.'s interview, session 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. remembers school segregation in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. remembers school segregation in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. talks about segregation in Winston-Salem, North Carolina
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. recalls his peers at Atkins High School in Winston-Salem, North Carolina
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. describes his involvement in the Boy Scouts
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. recalls his father's interest in the U.S. military
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. describes his experiences at Atkins High School
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. describes the student body at Atkins High School
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. describes his high school graduation
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - The Honorable Togo D. West Jr. recalls his decision to attend Howard University
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. remembers his first impressions of Howard University
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. describes his engineering coursework
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. recalls his peers at Howard University, pt. 1
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. remembers Stokely Carmichael
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. recalls his peers at Howard University, pt. 2
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. recalls his summer activities
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. talks about his love of reading
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. recalls his decision to attend law school
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. recalls learning about the history of Howard University
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. recalls the Civil Rights Movement in North Carolina
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. talks about segregation in the South
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. recalls his influences at Howard University
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. describes his law school professors, pt. 1
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. remembers Patricia Roberts Harris
  • Tape: 7 Story: 8 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. describes his law school professors, pt. 2
  • Tape: 7 Story: 9 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. remembers Jeanus B. Parks
  • Tape: 8 Story: 1 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. remembers Carl Edwin Anderson
  • Tape: 8 Story: 2 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. describes the mentorship of Jeanus B. Parks
  • Tape: 8 Story: 3 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. recalls meeting his wife
  • Tape: 8 Story: 4 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. describes the start of his legal career
  • Tape: 8 Story: 5 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. recalls working for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
  • Tape: 8 Story: 6 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. recalls Thurgood Marshall's appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court
  • Tape: 8 Story: 7 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. recalls the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York
  • Tape: 8 Story: 8 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. describes his peers at the Howard University School of Law
  • Tape: 9 Story: 1 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. remembers JeRoyd W. Greene, Jr., pt. 1
  • Tape: 9 Story: 2 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. remembers JeRoyd W. Greene, Jr., pt. 2
  • Tape: 9 Story: 3 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. describes the legacy of the Howard University School of Law
  • Tape: 9 Story: 4 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. remembers Judge Harold R. Tyler, Jr.
  • Tape: 9 Story: 5 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. describes Harold R. Tyler, Jr.'s legal career
  • Tape: 9 Story: 6 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. recalls serving in the Judge Advocate General's Corps
  • Tape: 9 Story: 7 - The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr. remembers Nathaniel R. Jones