Colin Luther Powell (5 April 1937-18 October 2021) was the US Secretary of State from 20 January 2001 to 26 January 2005, succeeding Madeleine Albright and preceding Condoleezza Rice.
Colin Powell was born in the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City, New York in 1937 to a Jamaican-American family. Powell rose through the Reserve Officer's Training Corps and service in Vietnam to the top ranks of the US military by the early 1970s. Under Ronald Reagan's administration, Powell's ability to command a briefing session with crisp and precise language gained him the position of presidential national security adviser. In 1989 he became the first African-American to serve as Chairperson of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, reflecting the status of the military as the most racially integrated organization in American society. He was commander of US forces during the Gulf War, demonstrating his first sure touch with the media when he explained US policy towards Iraq. In this he was haunted by the memory of Vietnam and applied his doctrinal belief that US military action had to be accompanied by clear political and legal direction and possessed of overwhelming force. After retirement he led a US delegation to Haiti with Jimmy Carter and successfully convinced the dictators there to quit the country in the face of a US military invasion. In 1996, he was regarded by some as a certain Republican Party nomination for the presidency if only he would run. However, he opted not to run, citing a lack of interest in politics. He went on to serve as George W. Bush's Secretary of State from 2001 to 2005, building up an international coalition for the invasion of Iraq in 2003. In 2004, he resigned as Secretary of State. On 7 June 2020, he announced that he would vote for the Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, and he left the Republican Party following the 2021 United States coup d'etat attempt. He died of COVID-19 in October 2021 at the age of 84.