In the last week of May, history was made at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point when it graduated 34 African-American women in its Class of 2019! Although the Class was comprised of more than 950 cadets, they represented the largest number of Black women to graduate from the premier military academy since its creation in 1802. Prior to the May 2019 graduation, there had never been more than 20 Black women to graduate from West Point.
This accomplishment was made possible because of Black trailblazers such as Colonel Charles Young of the U.S. Army and Lieutenant Colonel Charity Adams Earley of the Women’s Army Corp of the U.S. Army. As the first African-American officer in the Women’s Army Corp (originally known as the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corp), she was assigned to be the commanding officer of the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion. This was the first battalion of African-American women, approximately 850, to serve internationally during World War II. At the end of the war, Earley, as a lieutenant colonel, was the highest ranking African-American woman in the Army.