Washington, D.C.
FBI National Press Office
(202) 324-3691
February 15, 2019

The FBI Celebrates 100 Years of African-American Special Agents

Our History, Our Service

Throughout 2019, the Federal Bureau of Investigation will honor the 100-year history of African-American special agents’ service to the FBI and the United States through a coordinated campaign titled Our History, Our Service. As we recognize the contributions made by African-American FBI special agents, we reaffirm our commitment to our mission—to protect the American people and uphold the Constitution of the United States.

James Wormley Jones, believed to be the FBI’s first African-American special agent, was appointed on December 2, 1919. Hundreds of African-American special agents have since followed in his footsteps, including the first African-American woman, Sylvia Mathis, who joined the special agent ranks in 1976. As we honor Jones and the countless others that followed him in their pursuit to serve the American people as FBI special agents, we acknowledge the truth of our history and the promise of our future as we hold firm to our core values: rigorous obedience to the Constitution of the United States; respect for the dignity of all those we protect; compassion; fairness; uncompromising personal integrity and institutional integrity; accountability by accepting responsibility and the consequences for our actions and decisions; leadership, both personal and professional; and diversity.

The FBI enforces more than 300 federal statutes and conducts criminal and national security investigations, and we are best equipped to carry out our law enforcement and national security duties when our employees possess a broad range of education, experiences, and skills in order to be successful in our mission. The ethnic and racial makeup of special agent applicants have been the most diverse over the past three years, and through the Diversity Agent Recruitment program, the FBI is working to hire more than 900 FBI special agents of all backgrounds during this year. 

To learn more about this commemoration, please visit fbi.gov/aasa100 and follow the hashtag #OurHistoryOurService.  

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