Former President George W. Bush nominated Colin Powell as his Secretary of State on Dec. 16, 2000. Powell was the highest-ranked African-American in the U.S. government at the time.
Prior to setting this milestone, Powell had been appointed National Security Advisor by Ronald Reagan in 1987, the first Black American to hold the position. In 1989, he became the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for President George G.W. Bush. He continued to serve in the position when President Bill Clinton took office.
When Powell stepped down as Secretary of State in 2004, Condoleezza Rice was nominated and appointed to replace him after Bush's re-election.
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(Photo: Pool Photo/Liaison via Getty Images)