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To Triumph, To Evolve, To Be Elite

West Point cadets dodge military punishment for raised fist picture

ByAlexia McKay

May 9, 2016


West Point Military Academy is deciding not punish 16 female African- American cadets posed in uniform with raised fists for an “old corps photo.” It is traditional for graduating seniors in small groups to pose in uniform in front of historic Nininger hall. The photo received scrutiny after a blogger suggested it was a reference to the black lives matter movement. But the military academy’s official inquiry concluded that it did not violate regulations.

The decision is getting a kit if positive feedback on Twitter. Carmen Berkley tweets ” Congrats black women of West Point! You deserve to raise your fists and graduate!” BLACK tweets, ” #CongratsBlackWomenofWestPoint on your matriculation frm one of the top US Military Academies in the country.”


We’re also sharing in the celebrations! For the record, we never thought it was a problem in the first place.

Congratulations ladies!



The U.S military has launched an inquiry to determine if 16 black cadets at West Point Academy broke the rules when they posed in their traditional grey uniforms holding up clenched fists. Traditionally, graduating cadets take pictures in traditional uniforms to echo historical portraits of the ones who came before them.

But the fists up image not only brought a lot of complaints from conservatives who believed the girls were violating a military policy, which prohibits active duty members from expressing political views. They also made people squirm who thought the image, symbolized the Black Lives Matter Movement; which depends on who you talk to, represents either anti-police and hate or pride and empowerment.

In an interview with ABC News, when asked about the girls, the editor of the military publication, Army Times, Anthony Lombardo says, “if these men and women are in uniform and they’re making a political statement, they could run afoul of a defense department regulation and they could be in serious trouble for that.”

However, according to a West Point graduate and mentor to the girl, they were simply celebrating their upcoming graduation and were not trying to imply any allegiance to any movement and didn’t anticipate the attention their picture caused.

West Point is not sure how long the inquiry will take and it’s too soon to say what the consequences could be for the ladies, who are supposed to be graduating May 21.westpoint2

Many people are defending the girls such as West point alumni and chairwoman of the academy’s board of visitors, Brenda Sue Fulton. She claps back on the critics by tweeting a different picture of the same ladies with the caption, ” Fearless, flawless, fierce. Ready.”
Our sediments exactly.

Let’s look at the bigger picture. Despite the controversy, these women are in a privileged place, receiving an education at one of the most elite military academies in the world. About 70% of West Point students are white and 80% are men. In other words, an African-American, let alone a black woman at West Point is a treasured rarity.

Cheers Royal Women.





Alexia McKay

A working journalist, entrepreneur and founder of RoyalTee Enterprises. Born and raised in Tampa, Fla. The vision of RoyalTee was inspired in 2015 by Alexia’s ambitions to return to her passion for creative writing and publishing and create a platform to showcase the excellence of minority women across the country through professional, personal and social ventures.