U.S. Rep. Johnson Teams Up with
West Point Alums to Boost African American Enrollment

According to National Center for Education Statistics data, only 11 percent of West Point’s student enrollment in the fall of 2022 consisted of Black or African American individuals. In an effort to encourage a more diverse and inclusive future for the prestigious West Point Academy, U.S. Congressman Hank Johnson has embarked on a mission to inspire African American students in his district to apply to the renowned military institution by raising awareness of these extraordinary opportunities available there.

On August 16, Congressman Johnson spoke to Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) cadets at five DCSD high schools: Towers, Southwest DeKalb, Lithonia, Redan, and Martin Luther King, Jr. High. Joining him were African American West Point alums who shared their successful experiences at the renowned military academy. Their stories showcased the exceptional potential for growth, leadership, and service that West Point develops within its cadets.

Board members speak with JROTC cadets“This is an opportunity to enlist more African Americans in West Point, which is the feeder line to become flag officers in the military,” Congressman Johnson said. “This is a chance for them to get a world-class education and come out with a degree and a commission as an officer in the pipeline to move up in the military, which is a great career of service to the nation. I hope they take advantage of this opportunity and make us proud.”

The visit has already yielded positive results, as a handful of DCSD JROTC cadets have applied to West Point. A required part of the application process involves securing a nomination from a congressional representative or senator, which U.S. Rep Johnson was happy to accommodate.

This initiative has also garnered support from prominent figures in the education sector. DCSD Superintendent Devon Q. Horton and DeKalb County Board of Education members joined him on several school visits. Dr. Horton addressed students at Redan High School and emphasized the incomparable value of a West Point education.

“West Point just doesn’t produce military leaders; they produce some of the best top leaders in the country and arguably in the world,” Dr. Horton said. He encouraged students to heed the wisdom of West Point alums and take advantage of the available opportunities, as he echoed the sentiments of many who see West Point as an excellent incubator for leaders looking to refine their knowledge, discipline, and personal growth to realize their fullest potential.

Hank Johnson and District reps with JROTC cadets