Life began in the Cedar Grove neighborhood of Shreveport when mom and dad, Johnny and Archie, brought me home to my two older brothers, Jeffery and Archie, Jr. We were one big family, until dad left when I was four. Mom was left alone to raise three boys, and had to work two jobs just to make ends meet. But that never stopped my mom from teaching us the value of resilience, determination, and humility. Her achievements awed me: she bounced between her jobs, raised us, and even earned a bachelor’s degree along the way. She did this while always placing others above herself. Learning from my mom instilled in me a sense that anything was possible, especially if you are willing to put in the work. I tried to follow her example by focusing on my schoolwork and on track, both of which earned me a nomination and selection to West Point.
At West Point, I wanted to shape the institution as much as I knew it would eventually shape me. I got involved with student leadership on campus and was eventually selected as Class President—the first African American cadet to be selected in West Point’s 215-year history. Along the way, I became Track and Field Team Captain and secured a spot on the Dean’s List my first year. Upon graduation, I was commissioned as a Field Artillery Officer and posted at Fort Stewart. I had the honor and privilege to serve alongside my brother, a Master Sergeant in the Army Medical Service Corps., during that time. After posts at Forts Sill, Stewart, Benning, and Campbell, I deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. I led elements from a platoon to a company, receiving Ranger and Airborne qualifications as well as a Bronze star, and served alongside some of the most incredible soldiers I will ever have the privilege to meet.
In 2015, I handed over my company guidon in a hanger in Jalalabad, Afghanistan and started my legal education at Harvard Law School a month later. I spent my summers in law school clerking for U.S. Circuit Court Chief Justice Carl E. Stewart in New Orleans, assisting Governor John Bel Edwards on criminal justice reform, and working as a summer associate at Sidley Austin LLP. Instead of following the typical arc of a Harvard Law School graduate’s career by working at a law firm, I have decided to return home to Shreveport to serve. I promised myself that I would give back to the community that has given me so much. That is a promise I plan to keep.