Colin Powell: There’s a great story from the Civil War, where a Confederate general is writing to the Confederate government in Richmond, and it has to do with the issue of allowing blacks to serve in the Confederate army, or conscripting them for the Confederate army. And this Confederate general writes to Jefferson Davis and he says, “Don’t let this happen. Whatever you do, don’t let this happen. Because if blacks can wear a uniform with brass buttons, and a belt with a brass buckle, and if they can go and serve and lay down their lives, they are the equal to us. And if that is the case, the whole theory of the Confederacy is a lie. So whatever you do, don’t let black men serve.” The history of the black experience in the United States military for 300 years is a repetition of that. Black men were always willing to serve, as were black women, in the hope that their service as equals, willing to lay down their lives, and fight for what their country believed in, would transfer over into civilian life. They were disappointed for most of our history. But with each conflict, things got a little bit better, until we finally reached the period where a black man, or a black woman, can rise to the top. So the answer to your question is, yes, it motivated me to fight back and to prove that if I’m your equal in performance, then segregation has to be a lie.