Zandra Flemister, the first Black woman hired as a Secret Service Agent
Zandra Flemister, the first Black woman hired by the U.S. Secret Service, had the face of a gorilla placed on her office door, and she was called a ‘nigger’ by her colleagues.
Her job was to protect the President, but White men who ran the Secret Service, didn’t see it that way.
She suffered the same racism as Abraham Bolden, the first Black Secret Service Agent assigned to the White House Detail.
Flemister has died at the age of 71, leaving behind as her legacy a rich political career, her fight with Alzheimer’s, and a lawsuit that details the widespread racism and discrimination she suffered during her tenure at the federal agency known for protecting presidents, which Bolden has said is rife with racism.
Flemister, who died Tuesday, was “a trailblazer” and “inspired a future generation of agents,” the Secret Service’s director, Kimberly Cheatle, said in a statement announcing her death.
She started her work at the Secret Service in 1974, four years before her transfer out to the foreign service – which in part protects Americans abroad – in 1978.
While at the Secret Service, Flemister guarded the families of US presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter.