West Point’s 2022 graduating class includes a record number of Black women cadets.
According to reports, the U.S. Military Academy’s graduating class includes 40 Black women cadets, making it the third time that the institution has graduated this many sisters since its inception in 1802.
“West Point’s class of 2022 has 40 Black women graduates! Congratulations to the class of ’22, and welcome to the Long Gray Line,” CEO and founder of Promise Media Group, Belinda Kendall, shared via Linkedin.
One of the graduates took to her TikTok account to give her followers a behind-the-scenes look at West Point’s annual photoshoot for Black women graduates.
“Every year at my college, the graduating class of Black women take a photo together,” Jei.ByDesign wrote in her video clip. “This year, our graduating class has the most Black women to graduate in USMA history. This has been a journey paved with a lot of tears, love, and community. Love all 40 of y’all!”
@jei.bydesign Graduation is tmrw! ❤️ #blackgraduates #blackwomenexcellence #blackwomengraduate #usma #unitedstatesmilitaryacademy #army #westpoint #blackhistory #makingblackhistory #loveablackwomanfrominfinity #chocolatesisters ♬ Peng Black Girls Remix – ENNY & Jorja Smith
In her caption, she noted that graduation was the following day.
“Graduation is [tomorrow]!” the caption said.
In a May 2021 blog post about diversity, West Point shared that one of the first Black women to graduate from the institution was a Detroit native named Pat Locke, who graduated in 1980.
“I am very big on mentors and having people to look up to, but as a black female, I noticed there aren’t many black female cadets who graduated,” said Class of 2023 Cadet Delorv’A Wilson. “The only black female grad I’ve ever met was Mrs. Pat Locke, the U.S. Military Academy Class of 1980 (one of the first African American women to graduate from West Point). Upon further research in trying to find more black grads, I realized there was only about four that graduated in the span of 64 years between the late 19th century and mid-20th century, and I found that strange.”
Despite this, the school has made strides to have a more inclusive student body. In 2019, West Point made history, as 34 members of its graduating class were Black women, and in 2020, that number increased to 38.
“There were only 13 in my class, I just counted, but the numbers keep going up and up,” one of West Point’s alums, Shalela Dowdy, previously said. “It’s encouraging and inspiring to see leaders graduating from the school that are from all different kinds of backgrounds and represent the diversity of the army itself. It makes me feel prideful that the academy is acknowledging diversity.”