Dean Discusses Black History Project With History Professor
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Cadets brief the Dean of the Academic Board Brig. Gen. Reeves on the archives exhibit entitled, “Foundations: Black Experiences of West Point." (Photo Credit: Elizabeth Woodruff) VIEW ORIGINAL
Dean Discusses Black History Project With History Professor
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Cadets work on research for the Black History Project at West Point. (Photo Credit: Elizabeth Woodruff) VIEW ORIGINAL

“A student of history will have encountered enough of the human condition in our past to know that there’s no problem that’s a 100% new under the sun.” – Lt. Col. Rory McGovern, Department of History professor at the U.S. Military Academy.

Tune in to the newest episode of the “Inside West Point: Ideas That Impact” podcast at

Through stories uncovered by the Black History Project research at West Point, Dean of the Academic Board Brig. Gen. Shane Reeves and McGovern explored the importance of studying history for shaping strategic thinkers.

“Studying history provides people the tools they need to become strategic thinkers, training them to ask the right questions and thoroughly investigate any problem,” McGovern said.

Reeves and McGovern provided valuable insights into the legacies of some of West Point’s earliest Black graduates and their inspiring impact. Listen as they discussed the personal and inspiring stories of these trailblazers, from men like James Webster Smith to Charles Young.

In this episode, you will learn the following:

1. How does studying history contribute to the development of strategic thinkers, particularly in the military and national security sectors?

2. What challenges did the earliest Black cadets at West Point overcome and how can these stories inspire others?

3. What are the practical skills and perspectives gained from studying history that can be applied to solve dreadful problems and lead teams effectively?

If you’re interested in learning more, you can find the Black History Project’s digital archives exhibit, “Foundations: Black Experiences of West Point” online at

Join Reeves each month as he takes you behind the scenes to explore the applied research and cross-disciplinary work being done by the academy’s scholars. From high-energy lasers and autonomous robots to civil-military relations and ethics, “Inside West Point” goes beyond the textbook to give you a deeper understanding of the complex issues shaping the modern battlefield. Hear directly from the experts as they make even the most complex topics accessible to a broad audience.

You can find the “Ideas that Impact” podcast, as well as several other podcasts produced at West Point at or on your favorite podcast platform, including Apple podcasts, Google podcasts, Spotify and Podchaser (Inside West Point: Ideas that Impact). You can also follow on Instagram (@dean.usma), Facebook (Dean of the Academic Board-West Point), Threads (@dean.usma) and Twitter (@DeanUSMA) for updates. Learn more about the West Point Academic Program at