WEST POINT, N.Y. - The United States Military Academy at West Point will see a historic number of African-American women graduate this year.
The Philadelphia Tribune reports that 32 African-American women will cross the stage later this month. They are the largest group in the institution's 216-year history.
West Point was founded in 1802, but an African American cadet didn’t graduate from the academy until 1877, the Tribune reported.
To memorialize the achievement, the 2019 graduates participated in the traditional Old Corps photoshoot, according Because of Them We Can, a website dedicated to sharing inspiring stories of “black excellence.”
“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," Tiffany Welch-Baker, one of the cadets, told the website.
Welch-Baker said she left active duty to attend West Point, and added that when she arrived to the campus, she questioned whether she made the right decision.
“In just a short while I met so many cadets that looked like me, and that offered me some comfort. I have been fortunate to have my sisters in arms, we have been fortunate to have each other,” she told the website.
This story was reported from Los Angeles.