“It’s true that we’ve made progress over the previous century within the space of variety, each as a nation and as a corporation,” Wray mentioned. “However we’ve received to continually ask ourselves, ‘The place will we wish to be one other century from now?’”
The names of storied African-American particular brokers and trailblazers peppered discussions all through the day’s occasions. James Amos joined the Bureau in 1921 and would stay for greater than three a long time. In 1962, Aubrey Lewis and James Barrow turned the primary African-American brokers accepted to the FBI Academy. In 1976, a 26-year-old lawyer named Sylvia Mathis turned the primary feminine African-American particular agent.
In his remarks, Dr. Glover recalled the tight-knit community of African-American brokers within the early days. He knew brokers Lewis and Barrow. And he was shut mates with Edwin Woodriffe, the primary African-American particular agent to be killed within the line of obligation. Woodriffe and one other agent, Anthony Palmisano, had been killed 50 years in the past, in 1969, whereas making an attempt to arrest a fugitive in Washington, D.C. It was Dr. Glover who needed to break the information to Woodriffe’s spouse.
“We had been all shut mates as a result of there weren’t very many people,” Glover mentioned. “All of us knew one another.”
Retired Particular Agent Linda Berry mentioned throughout the panel dialogue that the FBI and different organizations ought to mirror the communities they serve. “It’s necessary for legislation enforcement,” mentioned Berry, the FBI’s second African-American feminine agent behind Mathis. “The whole lot that’s represented in your society, it must be a cross part in your group. How else are you able to perform? You possibly can’t. Particularly in legislation enforcement.”
Director Wray acknowledged in his remarks that there’s a lot to be achieved to extend variety within the ranks. However the Bureau is as much as the problem. “It may be isolating and intimidating when others in your group don’t share your background and experiences,” Wray mentioned. “We share that concern. That’s why variety stays one in all our high priorities right here on the FBI.”