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For African-Americans in Uniform, It’s Duty, Honor, Country. But Don’t Expect to Lead.

  • May 25, 2020

He added, “Now when I am in uniform, I feel colorblind, which is amazing.”

If you enter the Pentagon at the Potomac River entrance, where foreign dignitaries are greeted by the defense secretary, you will walk down the E Ring hall with its portraits of the men who have led the United States armed forces for the past century. To nearly a one, the African-American service members interviewed for this article said they paused when they walked by the painting of Gen. Colin L. Powell, the first and only black chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. His portrait, they said, came as both a relief — that he was there at all — and a reminder that no one else with their skin color had made it.

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