In 1956, Charles Gittens, the first Black Secret Service agent, beat racism to protect U.S. presidents, breaking the color barrier in the service at a time of segregation when Black people were not given positions of distinction.
He performed his role assiduously, but not without some racial discrimination he faced on the job. Two decades later when Zandra I. Flemister also joined the Service as its first Black woman agent, she faced the same problem and was even told that she could not wear her hair in an afro.
She had to leave largely because of discrimination after only four years of being with the agency. Still, she was a trailblazer who dedicated her life to service and inspired a future generation of agents, the agency said in a statement after her death in February this year at 71 years old. Here are some facts about Flemister you should know: