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HomeVideoWATCH: Why the story of Colin Powell, the son of immigrants, became...

WATCH: Why the story of Colin Powell, the son of immigrants, became a symbol for many Americans


Former Secretary of State and four-star general Colin Powell was a product of the South Bronx and the New York City Public School System. He was also the son of immigrants from Jamaica, and didn’t shy away from sharing that part of who he was, which became “foundational” to not only his career, but the way people saw him, Los Angeles Times Executive Editor Kevin Merida said. “It made him very proud. He carried that. He wore that. He liked to tell stories about that,” Merida said.

Merida, who covered Powell for decades as he rose through the ranks of the military and diplomatic service, reflected on Powell’s career with the PBS NewsHour’s Nicole Ellis before a Nov. 5 funeral service at the Washington National Cathedral.

Powell was by his own admission a mediocre student throughout high school, which “says a lot about it’s not where you start, but where you finish. And Colin Powell was really proud of his achievements, but he also didn’t take himself too seriously. You know, he was very comfortable in his skin … was regular in a way that not many people in Washington were formal but regular. And I think it was really good to see someone of his stature to to be someone you could aspire to,” Merida said.

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