Marcia Anderson­­­: 1st Black Female Major General in the U.S. Army

Marcia Anderson­­­: 1st Black Female Major General in the U.S. Army
Major General Marcia M. Anderson is the highest ranking African American woman in the U.S. Army. Photos by Zondra Hughes

Major General Marcia M. Anderson is the highest ranking African American woman in the history of the U.S. Army.

In 2011, she made history as the first African American woman in the Army’s history to achieve the rank of major general. As Deputy Chief of the Army Reserve, Maj. General Anderson’s responsibilities include developing professional training and leadership programs throughout the country.


Maj. Gen. Anderson recently participated in the 2012 Essence Music Festival where she highlighted the Army Reserve’s role in empowering the nation’s soldiers, families, and their communities, and her commitment to empowering women is clear. “There are two pieces of advice that I would give women,” she tells rolling out. “One is a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt, ‘well-behaved women rarely make history.’ I didn’t say misbehave,” she jibes, “I just said don’t behave.”

She continues, “And [secondly] — if you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu.  You need to remember that and internalize that, and [you should] not be afraid to invite yourself to meetings that you know you’re supposed to attend. And [get] involved in activities [where] you’ll add value.”


Immediately following  the Essence event, Maj. General Anderson attended the National Urban League’s annual conference and served on the Saving Our Sisters panel, where she expounded on the Army Reserve’s efforts to empower soldiers and their communities through service, education and family support.

The trailblazer  epitomes the “citizen-soldier,” as Maj. Gen. Anderson is also an attorney who works as a Clerk of Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, in Madison.

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