First female Secretary of State dies at 84

By: Sierra Wells

Managing Editor

Madeleine Albright, America’s first female secretary of state, died on March 23. She was 84 years old.

“Madeleine Albright was a force. She defied convention and broke barriers again and again. She was an immigrant fleeing persecution,” President Joe Biden said. “A refugee in need of safe haven. And like so many before her — and after — she was proudly American.”

According to the United States Office of the Historian, earning the title of Secretary of State in 1997, Albright served under the Clinton Administration until 2001.

Albright was also the ambassador to the United Nations for the years preceding her appointment as secretary of state.

Madeleine Albright receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama.
Photo courtesy: Wellesley College

In 2012, President Barack Obama awarded Albright with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She has also been a member of the National Women’s Hall of Fame since 1998.

Albright was a published author who wrote novels such as “Hell and Other Destinations,” “Memo to the President Elect,” “Fascism: A Warning” and more.

Biden declared flags would be flown at half-staff until March 27 at the White House, military posts, naval stations, federal naval vessels and all public buildings, including Tarleton State University.

“As a mark of respect for former Secretary of State Madeleine Korbel Albright and her life of service to our Nation, I hereby order, by the authority vested in me as President of the United States by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff,” Biden said.

The order also took effect at United States locations abroad, such as legations, embassies, military spaces and consular offices.

Tarleton Assistant Professor of Political Science Dr. Marcie Reynolds appreciates Albright’s influence on women in the United States.

“Madeleine Albright’s appointment as the first female Secretary of State was important for many reasons. One is her work allowed U.S. citizens, especially the young, to see a woman capably representing the U.S. on an international level,” Reynolds said. “Beyond any consideration of partisan politics, she helped advance openness to an equality of opportunity for women to serve their country in top leadership roles.”

Albright touched the lives of countless Americans and will continue to impact the United States with her legacy.

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