Who is Colin Powell?

The former general and secretary of state is one of America’s most famous black political figures. He was the first African-American to serve as Secretary of State (under President George W. Bush) from 2001 to 2o05. He also served as National Security Advisor and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under Republican presidents. He previously was honored for distinguished service during the Vietnam war and rose to the rank of four-star general during his illustrious military career.

Why is he on theGrio’s 100?

Powell, retired after a long career in key national security posts, reemerged in 2013 to sharply criticize the GOP, the party he has long been associated with and under which he served as National Security Adviser and Secretary of State.

“Should we really have gone after reducing the turnout of voters in those places where we thought it would make a difference?” he said. “The Republican Party should be a party that says, ‘We want everybody to vote,’ and make it easier for people to vote and give them a reason to vote for the party, and not to find ways to keep them from voting at all.”

He also said today’s GOP has a ““dark vein of intolerance” running through it.

What’s next for Powell?

It’s not clear whether Colin Powell wants to be in the political scene in a continued, sustained way. But he’s likely to continue to criticize Republicans if push controversial voter laws and use strong anti-Obama rhetoric, which has angered Powell in the past.

The big question is if the general will once again embrace Republican presidential candidates if a more moderate GOP nominee emerges in 2016 and courts his support. Powell endorsed Obama in 2008 and 2012.