Who was the first African American Secretary of the United States Army?
Clifford Leopold Alexander Jr. (born September 21, 1933) is an American lawyer, businessman and public servant from New York City. He was the first African-American Secretary of the Army.
In 1963 during the John F. Kennedy administration, Alexander was called to Washington to serve as a foreign affairs officer on the National Security Council staff. He served next as deputy special assistant to President Lyndon B. Johnson, associate special counsel, and deputy special counsel on the White House staff, 1964–1967. Alexander was appointed as chairman of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 1967–1969. Acting as a special representative of the President, he headed the U.S. delegation to ceremonies marking the independence of the Kingdom of Swaziland in 1968.
Leaving government service after Republican Richard M. Nixon was elected to the presidency, Alexander practiced law with the Washington firm of Arnold and Porter between 1969 and 1975.
Alexander returned to public service as Secretary of the Army under the Carter Administration, serving from February 14, 1977, to January 20, 1981. He was the first African American appointed to this Cabinet position. During this time he concentrated upon improving the all-volunteer Army, stressing programs to enhance professionalism, and emphasizing the award of contracts to minority businesses to fulfill the federal commitment to encourage diversity.