West Point Graduates a Historic 34 Black Female Cadets
The image on our cover page is in honor of the first and largest class of Black Women graduates of the U.S. Military Academy in its history.
West Point celebrated a record-breaking milestone on a Saturday in May 2019, graduating its largest-ever class of black women. The U.S. Military Academy saw its most diverse class ever get their diplomas in 2019, with 34 black women graduating together, and 223 women in total. The number is the largest since the first female cadets graduated in 1980, according to the Associated Press. The AP reports that of the class of about 1,000, with 88 Latinos and 110 African-Americans – double the number that graduated just six years ago.
The history-making women posed together for a photo ahead of their ceremony in their uniforms with ceremonial sabers that has since gone viral.
Cadet Tiffany Welch-Baker, spoke to the website “Because Of Them We Can,” about her feelings about being a part of this historic graduating class. “My hope when young black girls see these photos is that they understand that regardless of what life presents you, you have the ability and fortitude to be a force to be reckoned with.”
West Point created its office of diversity in 2014 to try to attract, retain and promote a “more diverse workforce” according to its website.
Here’s what another cadet had to say said, “I just showed myself and those who thought I could do it initially that yes, I can,” Senior Cadet Stephanie Riley told the AP. “And not just, ‘yes, I can.’ I can show other little girls that, yes, you can come to West Point. Yes, you can do something that maybe the rest of your peers aren’t actually doing. And yes, you can be different from the rest of the group.”
She added that the milestone was extremely important to her considering she previously felt that she had to prove herself more than her West Point classmates. “Even a classmate told me, I think our freshman year, that I only got in because I was a black female,” Riley recalled.
Both the above statement and the following are from ABC News one of the media giants that broke this historical announcement along with other agencies.
The following link you hear more from the graduating cadets:
CNN Replay - West Point graduates most diverse class in its history
United States Military Academy Class of 2019