100 Years of African-American Special Agents: Jacques Battiste

Retired Special Agent Jacques Battiste served for 22 years in the FBI before retiring in 2017. He shared his thoughts on his career, the FBI, and the role of African Americans during events in November 2019 marking the 100-year anniversary of the first African-American special agent, James Wormley Jones.


Video Transcript

I had the opportunity as a child to watch a TV show called The FBI Story. It was an episode where an actor by the name of a young Richard Roundtree played the first FBI agent to appear. Inspector Erskine worked with him on the episode, and he had to basically get the rest of the individuals in the office to understand that there was no difference between this young man and the rest of the agents when it came time to do their jobs.

To me personally, to be able to stand in a room with other fellow African-American agents, both male and female, and know that I play a part of a legacy that began in 1919 with the very first special agent, I'm honored. I'm truly honored from the very core of my being.

It's important because as the socioeconomics continue to change in this country and in the world, it is important to have people who come from the same cultures that this country was made upon. African Americans have played a significant role in the development of this country, and the continuing perpetuance of this country.        

It is only right that we share in the history of this country by being trendsetters, leaders, and forerunners, and helping to keep this country's constitution in place and to help keep this country safe against foreign and domestic invaders. We deserve every opportunity in our place in history, not only because of the 400-plus years that have happened in the past, but because of the legacy that we have to continue to perpetuate excellence in this country.

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