By Steve Neavling
Most people have never heard of James Wormley Jones.
The son of former slaves, Jones was 35 years old when he became the first black FBI agent 100 years ago.
There are no known pictures of him. He’s just a footnote in American history.
“There should be books written about James Wormley Jones,” said John Glover, who became the FBI’s highest-ranking black special agent before retiring in 1989.
Jones served in the Army’s regiment, Buffalo Soldiers, during World War I and was a police officer in Washington D.C.
In 1919, Jones was appointed to what was then the Bureau of Investigations. That same year, more than 100 black people were lynched during the Red Summer, Glover said at an event celebrating 100 years of African American special agents.
During the event, dubbed “Our History, Our Service,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said “diversity remains one of our top priorities here at the FBI.”
Today, 11.3% of the FBI’s employees are black.
“It’s true that we’ve made progress over the past century in the area of diversity, both as a nation and as an organization,” Wray said. “But we’ve got to constantly ask ourselves, ‘Where do we want to be another century from now?’”