Lt. Gen. Darryl A. Williams will become the first Black superintendent of West Point in its 216-year history on Monday (July 2).
The Grio reports that the Alexandria, Virginia native, who is a 1983 graduate of the school and has held high-ranking positions in Europe and Asia, will take over from Lt. Gen. Robert L. Caslen Jr., who has served more than 40 years in the Army.
Founded in 1802, West Point didn’t graduate a Black cadet until 1877 and no Black cadet graduated in the 20th century until Benjamin O. Davis Jr completed the program in 1936. During Davis’ matriculation, he was often shunned by other cadets because he was Black.
However, Williams’ appointment comes less than a year after Simon Askew, a Black cadet and Rhodes Scholar, assumed the top position at West Point’s cadet chain of command. The new designation is also a sign of the Academy’s shift toward a more diverse demographic.
The academy recently announced that the more than 1,200-member incoming class of 2020 includes 186 African-Americans.
Williams will take command as the academy’s 60th superintendent during a ceremony Monday morning in West Point’s Jefferson Hall.