Claim to Fame: Best-selling Author and Former U.S. Secretary of State
The retired four-star general from the United States Army was the 65th US Secretary of State, serving under President George W. Bush, and was the first African American to serve in that position. During his military career, Powell also served as National Security Adviser, as Commander of the U.S. Army Forces Command and as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, holding the latter position during the Persian Gulf War. He was the first, and so far the only, African American to serve on the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and was the first of two consecutive African American office-holders to hold the key Administration position of U.S. Secretary of State. He is also the author of My American Journey, a biographical book about his career and life lessons.