A Complex Legacy: Colin Powell Embodied ‘His Two-ness’ of Being Black and American

Colin Powell, wearing glasses, looking up and to the left. One hand on his mouth while holding a pen, with a US flag behind him

Colin Powell was a patriot who embodied DuBois’ “two warring ideals in one dark body.” For Powell to have reached the heights he did required dogged strength and perhaps far greater effort to hold it together than his white predecessors. In America, being Black and a patriot is—as DuBois hinted at more an a century ago, and as Powell’s life attests to—a very complicated, even painful, affair.