Black women are set to make military history on Saturday, as the West Point military academy graduates its class of 2019 with its highest-ever number of female African American cadets.
There are 34 black women cadets graduating from the academy Saturday, May 25 ― a record high number, the school confirmed to HuffPost. All will receive a Bachelor of Science degree and commissions as 2nd lieutenants in the U.S. army.
“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,” cadet Tiffany Welch-Baker told online publication Because of Them We Can earlier this month.
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32 Beautiful Black Women will be joining the long gray line very soon. The Class of 2019 has the most black women in its class to every graduate from West Point at one time. This photo warms my heart #BlackGirlMagic 📸: Hallie Pound #WestPoint #USMA #blackgirlmagic #blackgirlsrock @goarmy @westpoint_usma
There were about 1,270 cadets in the 2019 graduating class, of which 280 were women ― around 22%, per the school. And there were 189 black students in the class, around 15%.
The first woman to graduate from the academy, Andrea Hollen, was in the class of 1980, and in that same class was Vincent Brooks, the first black cadet to serve as first captain.
Once cadets graduate from the academy, located in New York, they serve on active duty in the military for at least five years.