Simone Askew spent fall Saturdays in the car with her mother driving an hour from Northern Virginia to Annapolis to watch the Midshipmen play. She spent summers attending camp at the Naval Academy and paid visits to the U.S. Military Academy. Every year, she and her mother attended the Army-Navy game, and Simone would watch enthralled by the precision and splendor of cadets and midshipmen marching onto the field in formation before kickoff.

“I had never seen something like that,” Askew said. “I asked my mom, ‘What can I do to one day be in charge of that?’ It was a fairly artificial attraction, but it sparked my interest for sure.”

On Saturday, the day after her 21st birthday, military drums will begin their deafening tattoo before the Army-Navy game at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. Simone Askew will perform one final check of Army’s 4,400-member Corps of Cadets. Then she will lead them onto the turf in the ceremonial “March On” as first captain, the first African American woman to hold the highest student position at the Military Academy.

U.S. Military Academy, Simone Askew, African American History, Black History, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMN2nd Lt. Austin Lachance | Photo Credit


The National Museum of African American History and Culture is the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, history, and culture. It was established by Act of Congress in 2003, following decades of efforts to promote and highlight the contributions of African Americans. To date, the Museum has collected more than 36,000 artifacts and nearly 100,000 individuals have become charter members. The Museum opened to the public on September 24, 2016, as the 19th and newest museum of the Smithsonian Institution. (Website).

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