West Point Appoints First African-American Woman First Captain

Simone Askew was recently selected as West Point’s First Captain for the 2017-2018 school year. Askew is the first African-American woman to be selected for the honor of First Captain, which is the highest ranking cadet at West Point.

According to a press release from the school, Askew will be responsible for the “overall performance” of all cadets. She will also serve as a liaison between the corps and the administration. The international history major will begin her work in this position later this month.

Brig. Gen. Steven W. Gilland additionally stated that “Simone truly exemplifies our values of Duty, Honor, Country. Her selection is a direct result of her hard work, dedication, and commitment to the Corps over the last three years.”

The United States Military Academy Preparatory School, more commonly known as West Point, was founded in 1802 and began to accept women in 1976. The selective institution has over 4000 cadets, 20 percent of which are women.

Just 37 years ago, West Point had its first African-American women graduates, Joy Dallas and Pat Walker Locke and now their highest ranking cadet is an African-American woman. West Point’s Corps of Cadets still consists mainly of white men, but the appointment of Simone Askew as First Captain marks progression.

Chantè Russell

Chanté Russell is a Howard University print journalism major from Raleigh, North Carolina. Her entire life has been shaped by her passion for writing, fashion and activism. Those passions have led her to create a blog entitled Be The Zeitgeist and serve as a staff writer for Howard’s student newspaper, The Hilltop. She has also written for Lady With Attitude and worked as a freelance journalist. Some of her biggest role models include Anna Wintour, Maya Angelou and her cousin, Dr. Jennifer Edwards, who inspired Chanté to attend Howard. After completing college, Chanté hopes to work as a fashion journalist and use her platform to combat cultural insensitivity within the fashion industry and improve the public perception of the industry.

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