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Decatur Presentation July 28th Do Not Miss Out!

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Robert Moore will be at the Decatur Civic Center on Thursday, July 28 at 5:30 PM to do the Know You Right Communicant Community Connection video which will be sponsored by sponsored by the City of Decatur and the Police Department.
To keep up with all of things Bob Moore please visit the page of events, which is updated regularly.

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Black U.S Marshals’ Traveling Exhibit

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Want to bring the history and the triumphs of the U.S Marshals to a location near you? Email Robert Moore at to learn how to make it happen! This exhibit brings to life the true history of U.S Marshals.

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African American Golfers’ Digest

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Springfield, Illinois resident and historian Robert Moore, himself a former U.S. Marshal. Moore, 68, has dedicated his retirement years to the history of African Americans in the U.S. Marshals Service, touring the nation with an exhibit he created on African American marshals and promoting his book, The Presidents Men: Black United States Marshals in America.

U.S. Marshals are the law enforcement arm of the federal court system. They protect judges; apprehend fugitives, transport prisoners, seize property confiscated by courts, and more.

“The heartburn I get is that the U.S. Justice Department approved the original history book (about the marshals) which left out all of the African Americans,” Moore says. “I don’t quite understand how they could justify that. We were just simply ignored; we weren’t viewed as important.


To read the full article please visit this site.

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Illinois Times Article about the Author

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Black marshals get their due

Springfield author tours nation to share history

Bass Reeves once single-handedly arrested 19 horse thieves. A deputy U.S. Marshal from 1875 to 1907, Reeves made more than 3,000 arrests and even once arrested his own son who was wanted for murder. But despite his reputation as a fearless and skilled officer, Reeves wasn’t mentioned in the U.S. Marshals Service’s official history book.

The reason is that Reeves was an African American, says Springfield resident and historian Robert Moore, himself a former U.S. Marshal. Moore, 68, has dedicated his retirement years to the history of African Americans in the U.S. Marshals Service, touring the nation with an exhibit he created on African American marshals and promoting his book, The Presidents Men: Black United States Marshals in America.

U.S. Marshals are the law enforcement arm of the federal court system. They protect judges, apprehend fugitives, transport prisoners, seize property confiscated by courts, and more.

“The heartburn I get is that the U.S. Justice Department approved the original history book (about the marshals) which left out all of the African Americans,” Moore says. “I don’t quite understand how they could justify that. We were just simply ignored; we weren’t viewed as important.”


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Recent News about the Author

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Local Author, Historian Retired U.S.Marshal Former Jackson Ms. Police Chief from Pontotoc Mississippi, who led successful effort to have Black Marshal’s recognized who served on James Meredith Protection detail 50 years ago at Ole Miss in 1962/63 to be Honored and will speak at Ole Miss Monday October 1, 2012 on U.S. marshal 50 Anniversary panel with the U.S. Marshal Director, James Meredith Son and three Deputy Marshals who served in Mississippi in 1962, who helped end racial segregation at Ole Miss


Author Robert Moore                                           Figure 2Kirk Bowden /Ole Miss 1962/63

For fifty years retired Deputy U.S. Marshal Kirk Bowden lived with the knowledge that he and five other Black Deputies and one Black U.S. Marshal were participants in one of the most celebrated Civil Rights Case in the history of the country, the Integration of Ole Miss and U.S. Marshal Protection detail that help contain a mob and insure that James Meredith was enrolled at the University of Mississippi in 1962. Deputy Bowden also lived with the fact that ten years ago white deputies were honored for their work at Ole Miss in 1962 and that the Black Deputies were never mentioned in the many books written about this Chapter in our Civil Rights History, until retired U.S. Marshal Robert Moore and Author of “The Presidents Men: Black United States Marshals in America” contacted him to verify that he and Marshal Luke Moore were participants of the protection detail. Following the publication of the book and many correspondences and meeting with University and Marshal Service officials the Author requested that these black deputies be recognized at the 50th Anniversary of the Integration of Ole Miss and that the only living Black Deputy, be invited to speak. One Monday October 1, 2012 at 9:30 am Deputy Marshal Kirk Bowden returned to Ole Miss as a speaker on a panel for the first time since 1962. “The U.S. Marshals and Oxford—a 50th Anniversary Panel included deputies who were the object of the riot and the Author who worked to have the black deputies recognized and included in the celebration.

The Author family has a long history at Ole Miss. In 1949 “More than a decade before the University of Mississippi, a.k.a. Ole Miss, admitted its first black student James Meredith in 1962 , the friendship between a white art professor and a black artist quietly transcended the region’s deeply-held policy of racist segregation; columnist and Ole Miss alumnus Magee (The South is Round) charts this aberrant relationship, between University professor Stuart Purser and untrained artist M.B. Mayfield, a reticent, impoverished sharecropper who fed his endless drive to paint by extracting hues from flowers and vegetables. Professor Purser taught Mr. Mayfield art in a clandestine manner. Many other members of the Authors family have walked through the closet doors that Professor Purser cracked for M.B. Mayfield and the enrollment doors which James Meredith smashed.

As a cousin of Mr. Mayfield, and the author of the “The President’s Men: Black United States Marshals in America,” devotes an entire chapter to Mr. Meredith and the Black Marshals who supervised his protection detail and the six black deputies who rotated into Jackson and oxford from their assigned district in Washington DC in 1962/63 These Black Marshals contribution to the civil rights era was never identified in all the book writing about this moment in our history. The Chapter is titled Marshal Luke Moore: The forgotten Marshal who protected James Meredith during the integration of (Ole Miss) University of Mississippi

The author grew up in the segregated town of Pontotoc, Mississippi on a forty-acre farm just 30 mile from Oxford and the University of Mississippi and 10 miles from Ecru where his cousin Mr. Mayfield was born. In his home state he experienced the full force of a separate and unequal society. He grew up in a society where there were separate schools, separate drinking fountains, no public lodging, and where he was prohibited from eating in restaurants or other public eating-places.

The author experience the full sting of these racist policies, when he was required to purchase food from the back of an eating establishment, through a window cut in the back or side of the building. He walked in excess of 4 miles each day to school because no school bus transportation was provided.

Regardless of the circumstances of his living environment, he graduated from Pontotoc Colored High School in 1962, with the distinction of being voted most likely to succeed. After graduation, he served three years in the military in Kansas and Germany. He left Pontotoc for the army on August 13, 1962 47 days before the September 30. 1962 riot at Ole Miss. Due to his military obligations in Fort Jackson, South Carolina and the subsequent Cuban Missile crises three weeks later, the author was not aware of the riot or the historic mission of James Meredith, not only to enroll at Ole Miss, but to break the back of organized and “massive resistance” to integration in the south.

Even though he was not aware of Meredith fight, he began his on small rebellion against segregation, something he did not understand, by removing “white only” sign from a water cooler in a small town in Mississippi as he drove back to Fort Riley Kansas.

In 1964, while traveling in uniform to Mississippi, by Greyhound Bus, the author recounts stopping at a bus stop in Arkansas and wanting to purchase a hamburger. However, it was the practice if you were African American you purchase your food out back. That day the author initiated a quiet and unobserved civil disobedience act that ended his life- long practice of purchasing food from the back of white café. He challenged this practice by entering the establishment and being asked to be served.—He was served. The two experiences began the author’s long career of fighting for human and civil rights across the nation.

Following his tour of military duty, he returned to Mississippi and shortly thereafter, migrated to Rockford, Illinois. He arrived in Rockford with a high school education and twenty dollars in his possession.

Today, the Honorable Robert Moore (ret) United States Marshal and former Chief of Police of Jackson, Mississippi has been awarded a Bachelors Degree in Criminal Justice, and a Masters Degree in Public Administration, from the University of Illinois at Springfield. He was the recipient of the University 2009 Alumni Humanitarian award and the 2007 Federal Bureau of Investigation Directors Community Leadership award. Marshal Moore is a graduate of the Southern Police Institute’s National Police Academy, located on the campus of the University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky.

The self published author is a successful Business Man, a historian on black Marshals history, curator of the national traveling exhibit “The President Men: Black U.S. Marshals.” A President of the United States appointed his Marshal in Illinois, the Mayors of Savannah, Georgia, and Jackson, Mississippi has appointed him to the positions of Deputy Chief of Police and Chief of Police respectively. In 2002 he returned to his home state of Mississippi to become the 25th Chief of Police of Jackson Mississippi—the largest police force in Mississippi.

Although he was born in the South, only miles from where the Marshal Service protected James Meredith in 1962 and 1963 as he led the integration efforts at the University of Mississippi in Oxford, his knowledge of the Marshals Service was non-existent. Growing up in Pontotoc, Mississippi it was never in his mind that he could become a Marshal or the Chief of Police in his home state of Mississippi. It certainly was not in his wildest dreams that he would meet a President or be appointed by one.

While doing the research for his book, “The Presidents Men: Black United States Marshals in America,” the author discovered that a Black U.S. Marshal supervised the James Meredith protection detail and that six Black Deputy marshals were assign to that historic detail after Meredith enrolled in School, but was never mentioned in any of the history book about this historic event. Fifty years later these deputies will be recognized for their participation in protecting Mr. Meredith.

About the Book

The Honorable Robert Moore, retired United States Marshal appointed by President Clinton in 1994 and former Chief of Police, of Jackson, Mississippi has published the first history Book on Black Presidential appointed United States Marshals in America. The book was self published by the author Robert Moore in January of 2011and it is reproduced, marketed and distributed through the family owned business of Robert Moore and Associates Black Marshals

* * * * * * *

“The President Men”

Just when you thought you had heard everything about the life and time of Frederick Douglass as a slave, an American abolitionist, editor, orator, statesman and reformer called “The Sage of Anacostia” and “The Lion of Anacostia,” comes along a book entitled, “The President’s Men Black United States Marshals in America. This book highlights the appointment and tenure of Frederick Douglass, the first Presidential appointed Black United States Marshals in America, Marshal Luke Moore , the second appointee, who supervised the James Meredith detail at the University of Mississippi in 1962, and 65 other Black Men and one female who have been confirmed by the United States Senate and received appointments from nine Presidents, from 1877 to the present including President Obama seventeen African American appointments. Mississippi presently has two U.S. Marshals appointed by President Obama.

Robert Moore’s book entitled, “The President’s Men: Black United States Marshals in America,” is unique and has both a rich Black history, and has a political overtone. The book informs readers about the experiences of 66 prestigious African-American men and one woman who received appointments as United States Marshals from nine Presidents over the last 222 years, since the Marshal Service has been in existence.

It is a political history book because these men were political appointees who were recommended by United States Senators or United States Representatives of the political party of the elected president and were confirmed by the United States Senate.


His purpose for writing the book was to honor and preserve the rich history of Black Presidential appointed U.S. Marshals, fill the information void about their history, and educate the nation about their accomplishments.

Black and white writers for movies, television, and books have ignored the role of African-Americans in the Marshal Service as heroes, police executives, reformers, and ordinary people. Since African-American Marshals have been ignored in the acting and literary world, society, including the African-American community, views the prestigious, authoritative Unites States Marshals as just white males and more recently white females.

This constant view of white actors being cast in the role of Marshals and Deputy Marshals has resulted in a “Certain Blindness” in our society about the roles and accomplishment of African -American Marshals and Deputy Marshals. Because of this “blindness,” the author was inspired to write this book. He was further motivated after being appointed as Marshal in 1994 by President Clinton and learning that 132 years of our history was omitted from the Marshals Service official history book.

Subsequent events, such as the bombing of the Alfred Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995, the 911 event in New York in 2001, and the execution of Timothy McVeigh in 2007 in Indiana, heightened his desire to publish the book. He wanted to insure that it was recorded that numerous African-American Marshals were serving this country in strategic positions in our government during the worse terrorist attack in the history of our country.

Finally, on behalf of the late Senator Ted Kennedy, he received an inquiry from the secretary of the United States Senate inquiring if an African-American had ever been appointed Marshal from the state of Massachusetts. After that call, he was thoroughly convinced that there was a need for this history book to be published.


Book Synopsis

“The President’s Men: Black United States Marshals in America.”

History books, television and movies have shaped the images of how we think U.S Marshals look–These Books, Movies & Televisions productions have introduced Matt Dillon of the T.V. Series” Gun smoke,” and the recent movies the “Fugitive” chasing Dr. Kimble, (Harrison Ford) and the “U S. Marshals,” chasing a black fugitive played by (Wesley Snipes) have not told us the whole truth. Even the Marshal Service official history book have not presented an accurate picture of the brave people who help shape this nation while serving this nation as deputy United States Marshals and Presidential appointed Marshals.  These images and lack of information has created a, “ Certain Blindness” in the African American Communities and the larger society about the participation of black men and women in the oldest federal law enforcement agencies in the nation who have contributed to the building of this nation—

The New Black History/Political Book entitled “The President’s Men: Black United States Marshal in America,” will shatter these old images of how we think U.S. Marshals look and leave readers asking the question, how could 132 year of these men and women’s history, who were appointed by our Presidents, be summarizes in two and one half sentences in the Marshals Service official history book.  

The President’s Men: Black United States Marshals in America explodes with new findings about Black U.S. marshals, whose contributions and achievements were once summarized by only two-and-one-half sentences in the official record book about U.S. Marshals. Presidential approved and appointed; the book explains that they were his men and women to marshal in law enforcement. The book is a twelve years’ research journey by Robert Moore, author, who became the second African-American from Illinois to be appointed to the position of an U.S. Marshal in 1994 by President Bill Clinton.
The President’s Men: Black United States Marshals in America gives new insight into the oldest law enforcement agency in the nation and will introduced readers to the 66 prestigious black men and women who have received these appointments from only nine presidents since the inception of the Marshal Service in 1789. Readers will be shocked to learn that Frederick Douglass, appointed by President Rutherford B. Hayes in 1877 was the first African American to be appointed a United States Marshals and that it would be 85 years before another African American, (Assistant U.S. Attorney Luke Moore), would be appointed to this position in 1962 by President Kennedy. Readers will also be inspired and motivated by the story of Deputy U.S. Marshal Bass Reeves, one of the first black deputy marshals appointed in 1875, by Judge Isaac Parker in the Western District of Arkansas. Reeves served 32 years as a federal marshal. He is credited with killing fourteen men in the line of duty, arresting his own son for murder and making over 3000 other arrest.
The President’s Men: Black United States Marshals in America will give readers an inside look a why the Washington, DC Bar Associations opposed Marshal Douglass nomination and what major newspaper was a part of an attempt to have President Hayes remove Douglass from office after he was confirm as Marshal for the District of Columbia. Readers will be able to read Marshal Douglass letter to the editor of this major newspaper defending himself. You will also gain insight into the author fight to save his nomination in Springfield, Illinois, 116 years after Marshal Douglass successful fight in 1877 and the role three prominent U.S. Senators played in saving their nomination.
The President’s Men: Black United States Marshals in America is a book that fills in what history left out. It gives a clear historical picture of the selection of African-American Marshals by Democrat and Republican Parties’ presidents in the 222-year history of these appointments. A history book for all ages, it may be used by libraries, high schools, colleges–for law enforcement studies, Black History, American History courses, and political science instructions.

Have thing Changed a lots since then—

On October 1,1962 when James Meredith walked into the doors at Lyceum Hall at Ole Miss to register, the significant of his achievement were impossible to absorb, however, for those of us that were shackled by discriminatory laws, policies and practice, that too many of us were ignorant of, his efforts meant that at Ole Miss, he crushed forever the southern Strategy of “Massive resistance” to integration and opened the doorway of American History through which all the epic civil rights events of the 1960s would follow.

It meant that people like Reverend Clemmons King who walked through those same door in 1958 to try and register for class register, want be seize by the police and packed off to an insane asylum, it meant that black police candidates in Jackson, Mississippi could be hired in 1963 as police officers, It meant that the author could return to Mississippi 40 years later as the 25th chief of Police of Jackson and purchase a home in the neighborhood of his choice

It means that the Chew family who grew up in Pontotoc, Mississippi can have 5or 6 members of their family be graduates of Ole Miss.

The measurement of change generated by Mr. Meredith stand and the good work of many other people is still being evaluated, was the goal of segregationist to keep the school kids in separate school or keep the races separate. Opportunities for most people achieved, integration of schools perhaps reversed.

Robert Moore


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U.S. Marshal Luke Moore

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U.S. Marshal Luke Moore at Ole Miss, 1962

Many Americans are familiar with the now iconic images of James Meredith, the black student who desegregated the University of Mississippi in October 1962, surrounded by white U.S. marshals assigned to protect him and ensure that a U.S. Supreme Court desegregation order be enforced.  Few of us are aware of the critical role that U.S. Marshal Luke Moore and other black Deputy U.S. Marshals played in that episode.  For the first time historian, author, and former U.S. Marshal, Robert Moore discusses the role of the black marshals in his new book, The Presidents’ Men: Black U.S. Marshals.  Robert Moore (no relation to Luke Moore) describes that role below.

When James Meredith sought to legally become the first African American to attend the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss), the duty of upholding the federal law, that would allow him to do so, fell upon the shoulders of United States marshals and deputy U.S. marshals who risked their lives to make his dream a reality.  Meredith, a U.S. Army veteran and native of Mississippi, had been dissatisfied with race relations in the South and in a calculated move, applied for admission to Ole Miss.  The university, repeatedly citing administrative technicalities, refused his application numerous times over a twenty-one month period between January 1961 and October 1, 1962.

The continued rejection of his application prompted Meredith to write to Thurgood Marshall, then head of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Legal Defense Fund.  Impressed by Meredith’s determination to integrate Ole Miss, Marshall and the Legal Defense Fund attorneys, filed a lawsuit on his behalf on May 31, 1961.  The case eventually reached the U.S. Supreme Court which decided on Monday September 10, 1962 that he should be admitted.

Mississippi Governor Ross Barnett, an ardent segregationist, vowed to block his admission despite the Supreme Court ruling, and in a statewide television broadcast, called that effort “our greatest crisis since the War Between the States.”  He then added that “Schools will not be integrated while I am your governor.”  Attorney General Robert Kennedy would later call the confrontation the last battle of the Civil War.”

Barnett’s defiant stand now set up a major challenge to President John F. Kennedy who was required to uphold the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling.  The President sent deputy U.S. marshals to Oxford, Mississippi, the locale of Ole Miss, to ensure that Meredith was safely enrolled and protected until he graduated.  After three attempts by Chief U.S. Marshal J.P. McShane, who led a small contingent of marshals to enroll Meredith, were blocked by Mississippi politicians and state troopers, President Kennedy ordered a much larger group of deputy U.S. marshals, a 127 man contingent, to carry out the court order and to protect Meredith.  After Meredith successfully enrolled on October 1, this larger contingent was supervised by U.S. Marshal Luke Moore.

Luke Charles Moore was born in Collinsville, Illinois on February 25, 1924 but resided in Memphis, Tennessee where he attended local public schools and entered Lemoyne College in 1942.  His college career was interrupted when he was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1943.  Moore was assigned to the 92nd Infantry (Buffalo) Division, and saw combat in Italy in 1944 and 1945.  After his discharge from the Army in 1946, Moore enrolled in Howard University and graduated with honors in 1949.  In 1950 he entered Georgetown University Law School and graduated near the top of his class in 1954.

Moore was admitted to the District of Columbia Bar in 1955 and joined the Washington, D.C. law firm of Cobb, Howard & Hayes where he remained until 1959 when President Dwight D. Eisenhower appointed him Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia.  In 1962, President Kennedy appointed Moore Chief United States Marshal for the District of Columbia.   With that appointment Moore became the first African American to serve as Chief Marshal in any Federal District since President Rutherford B. Hayes appointed Frederick Douglass as U.S. Marshal for the District of Columbia in 1877.  Moore’s appointment came just months before the Ole Miss Crisis.

Under orders from President Kennedy, over 300 U.S. Border Patrol agents were made special deputies, bring the total number of federal law enforcement officials to 538.  They were soon tested.  On October 1, ten days after his admission was first blocked by Mississippi officials, Meredith finally became a student at Ole Miss.  Later that day rioting broke out on the Ole Miss campus.  The marshals and federal troops were called up to restore order.  By the time the violence ended two men were killed including a French journalist and 28 deputy marshals were wounded by gunfire.

Following the initial confrontation, Marshal Luke Moore worked directly under Chief Marshal McShane and U, S Attorney General Robert Kennedy, supervising, coordinating and monitoring the U.S. Marshal’s activity in Oxford.  In his supervisory capacity Moore traveled to Oxford on numerous occasions although few knew of his role and his visits at the time.

Moore was not the only African American Marshal involved in the Ole Miss integration.  Black deputy U.S marshals were not allowed to participate in the initial integration confrontation but soon afterwards they became a regular part of the Meredith security detail.  The Kennedy Administration did not send these marshals in September and October, 1962, fearing that their presence would further inflame the crowds opposed to the integration of Ole Miss.  In this regard the Kennedy Administration was following a precedent established by President Eisenhower during the 1957 Little Rock Crisis, when he called out the 101st Airborne to the city to enforce a desegregation order and protect the nine black high school students designated to integrate the school.   Eisenhower ordered that only white soldiers of the unit be sent to Little Rock.

Once Meredith was enrolled, however, African American marshals were assigned to his security detail at Ole Miss.  Eight of these marshals, Richard Kirk Bowden, James Palmer, Howard Riley, Oscar Spearman, Joseph Robinson, Cleveland Braxton, Frank Lamondue, and Braxton Harris, all rotated in and out of Oxford and Jackson along with a much larger contingent of white U.S. deputy marshals in October, November, and December 1962.  Initially even these federal law enforcement officers were subject to Mississippi segregation.  When they were in Oxford, they were housed by local black beauticians Thelma Boone Price and Cecilia Nelson, who were active in the civil rights movement. By Christmas, 1962, they were accommodated, along with white deputy marshals at the Oxford Holiday Inn.

Luke Moore remained Chief U.S. Marshal for the District of Columbia after President Kennedy’s assassination and through the administration of his successor, President Lyndon Baines Johnson.  In 1969 Moore was reappointed to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington, D.C.  Three years later President Richard Nixon appointed Moore Judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.  Judge Moore remained on the bench until his retirement in 1987.

Judge Luke Charles Moore died in Atlanta, Georgia on December 18, 1994.  He was 70.

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Gittens, Charles LeRoy

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Gittens, Charles LeRoy (1928–2011)

Charles L. Gittens was an American Secret Service agent.  He joined the Secret Service in 1956, becoming the agency’s first African American agent.  An Army veteran, Gittens began his career at the agency’s office in Charlotte, North Carolina.  However, he was soon posted to its New York field office, where he was part of an elite “special detail” that targeted counterfeiters and other criminals across the country.

Gittens was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on August 31, 1928, one of seven children.  His father, a contractor, immigrated to the United States from Barbados.  Gittens enlisted in the United States Army before finishing high school.  He was promoted to lieutenant in the Army and was stationed in Japan during the Korean War.  Gittens earned his GED while serving in the Army.  After his discharge, Gittens earned a bachelor’s degree from present-day North Carolina Central University.  He completed the four-year academic program in three years, and graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Spanish.

While teaching school in North Carolina, he was encouraged to take the Civil Service examination for Federal law enforcement agents.  After passing the exam, he was recruited into the United States Secret Service.  His career assignments included North Carolina, New York, Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C.

His first marriage was to Ruth Hamme; the marriage ended in divorce after 28 years.  His 10-year marriage to Maureen Petersen also ended in divorce.  Survivors include a daughter from his first marriage (Sharon Quick of Washington, D.C.), and two stepdaughters.

Gittens spoke Spanish fluently and was assigned to Puerto Rico from 1968 to 1970 as the island’s senior agent.  In 1969 he accompanied New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller on his visit as presidential emissary to Latin America and the Caribbean republics.

In 1971, Gittens was appointed special agent in charge of the Washington, D.C. field office, a prestigious posting in which he supervised approximately 120 agents.  Gittens—a founding member of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives—was also tasked by the Secret Service with helping to boost the recruitment of minority and female agents.  After retiring in 1979, he joined the Justice Department’s Nazi-hunting Office of Special Investigations and became deputy director of the criminal division.

Though Gittens never claimed discrimination from other agents or supervisors, he still faced it on the job.  While guarding President Lyndon B. Johnson on a trip to Dallas, he and other agents entered a restaurant, and its manager initially refused to serve him because he was black.

Gittens earned respect from other agents by occasionally working the streets.  He is credited with tackling a suspect who bolted while Gittens was monitoring a counterfeiting bust.  Charles LeRoy Gittens died on July 27, 2013 in an assisted living center in Mitchellville, Maryland.  He was 82.

Jenée Desmond-Harris, “First Black Secret Service Special Agent Dies,” The Root, posted August 10, 2011, 4:15 p.m.; Abraham Bolden, The Echo from Dealey Plaza (New York: Three Rivers Press, 2008); Del Quentin Wilber, “Charles L. Gittens, First Black Secret Service Agent, Dies at 82,” Washington Post, August 10, 2011.

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Bolden, Abraham

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Bolden, Abraham (1935- )

Abraham Bolden, often erroneously referred to as the first black Secret Service Agent, was in fact the first black agent assigned to the prestigious White House Detail.  Bolden was born to Daniel and Ophelia Bolden in East St. Louis, Illinois on January 19, 1935.  He graduated from East St. Louis’s Lincoln High School in 1952 and attended Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri on a music scholarship, graduating cum laude in 1956.  After graduation, Bolden married his longtime friend and schoolmate Barbara L. Hardy.  The marriage lasted 49 years until her death on December 27, 2005.  The couple had three children.

In 1956 Bolden became the first African American to be employed as a detective by the Pinkerton National Detective Agency.  He then served as an Illinois State Highway Patrolman.  In October 1960, Bolden joined the US Secret Service, becoming their second black agent (after Charles L. Gittens, who was hired in 1956).  Bolden was assigned to investigate counterfeiting cases.

On April 28, 1961, President John F. Kennedy, after a brief conversation with Bolden in Chicago, had him join the White House Secret Service Presidential Protective Division.  From June 6, 1961 to July 6, 1961, Bolden traveled with and guarded President Kennedy.  Following his probationary period, Bolden decided to return to Chicago as a field agent in the counterfeiting division.

After Kennedy’s assassination on November 22, 1963, Bolden’s career imploded.  He accused the Secret Service of misconduct regarding the Dallas, Texas tragedy and threatened to divulge information concerning the President’s lack of proper security to the Warren Commission investigating the President’s death.  The Commission never called Agent Bolden to testify.  Instead, in May 1964, Bolden was fired from his post and then arrested by Secret Service agents who charged him with soliciting a $50,000 bribe from a counterfeiting ring that he had helped to break.

Bolden was convicted and imprisoned at the Springfield, Illinois Medical Center for Federal Prisoners, despite the admission by one of main prosecution witnesses, counterfeiter Joseph Spagnoli, that he had been encouraged to lie during the trial.  During his confinement, prison officials attempted unsuccessfully to declare Bolden insane.  He remained at Springfield until his parole in September 1969 after serving three years and three months of a six-year sentence in Federal confinement.  Bolden returned to Chicago and worked for several companies in Chicago while trying to clear his name for what he believed was an unjust conviction.

In January 1978 Bolden gave testimony on his experiences and his allegations concerning the Kennedy Assassination to two investigators of the House Select Committee on Assassinations.  The Committee’s final report, released in March 1979, stated that the Secret Service was deficient in the performance of its duties in Dallas.  Bolden felt vindicated by this report.  In 2008 Bolden wrote The Echo from Dealey Plaza which detailed his charges.  The book describes the racism in the Secret Service at the time, and his difficulties with both colleagues and supervisors during his six years with the agency.  He also discussed how he failed to recognize the consequences of challenging this powerful agency in the 1960s when whistleblowers were rare and often not deemed credible.

Bolden’s 40-year campaign to clear his name and highlight abuses in the Secret Service around the Kennedy Assassination have finally been recognized.  He was the recipient of the 2008 Scottish Hugo’s Companion Tankard Award for Courage, the 2008 African American Arts Alliance Award for Excellence, and the 2008 Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Award for Courage.  He has also been cited by the National Urban League as being one of America’s Outstanding Black Men.

Abraham Bolden, The Echo from Dealey Plaza (New York: Three Rivers Press, 2008); Del Quentin, “The First Black Secret Service Agent,” The Washington Post, August 10, 2011; interview with Abraham Bolden by the author, January 4, 2014; UNITED STATES v. BOLDEN 355 F.2d 453 (1965); “Admits Bolden Trial Perjury: Spagnoli Tells of Trying to Aid Self,” Chicago Tribune, January 21, 1965; “Blunders and Wonders of Nov. 22, 1963,” Flagpole Magazine, November 19, 2008.

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Most Recent Book Release From Author

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Release of  Latest Book.

Our latest  book on the contribution of our forgotten Marshals is due for release on January 3rd, 2011.

Features of the Book

Author:  Robert Moore

“The Presidents” Men Black United States Marshals in America”

Black Marshal Publishing

3709 Kingsley Drive

Springfield, Illinois 652711

Perfect Bound

Size: 9 x 7

135  pages.

ISBN: 978-0-615-39530-2.