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34 Black Women Make History in West Point's 2019 Graduating Class

Oyin Balogun
May 19, 2019
07:30 A.M.
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West Point set a new mark in history after it announced that it would be graduating her most extensive set of black female cadets this month.


Thirty-four black women will be the latest graduating class from the US Military Academy at West Point. The famed Academy, established in 1802, graduated its first ever black cadet decades ago during the "Reconstruction" in 1877.


The school, situated some miles north of New York City, will, therefore, set a new record graduating the women. It is a fantastic era for the Academy as the latest reports come a year after Lt. Gen. Darryl A. Williams became the first Black officer to assume command at the age-old Academy following her appointment.

In a similar vein, Simone Askew was appointed the leader of the Corps of Cadets making her the very first Black woman to do so. The remarkable changes couldn't be more welcome, especially after the latest update hit the media.


Since the Reconstruction, no black student ever graduated. The 20th century passed by barely graduating any Black cadet and that was when Benjamin O. Davis Jr., a black cadet, was admitted in 1932.

According to reports, Davis was a target of racism. His fellow cadets avoided him like the plague, he ate alone, roomed alone, and they heavily criticized his dark skin. Following his eventual graduation in 1936, he went on to become a notable figure in the Air Force.


To honor the veteran and in apparent remorse, West Point recently named cadet barracks after Davis. Now that the world is fast evolving and racism has become recognized as a shameful act, notable victims like Davis are fit to be honored.


It is, however, a great relief to find that African Americans are aptly employed to take charge of essential roles as cadets. Other prominent Black figures in the Academy’s history like Davis include Vincent K. Brooks and Col. Kristin Baker, who was appointed black captain of the Corps of Cadets in 1979 and 1989 respectively.


To commemorate and immortalize the newest record, some of the graduating women took photos. One of the cadets, Tiffany Welch-Baker, explained how vital the new record is while speaking in an interview with Because of Them We Can.

“My hope when young Black girls see these photos is that they understand that regardless of what life presents you, you have the ability and fortitude to be a force to be reckoned with,” she said.

The news, amongst the many others, has indeed become a subject of discussion with many coming forward to laud the Academy for its unprejudiced decisions.