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African-American Agents Reflect on 100-Year Anniversary

Many talked about how the FBI needs to reflect the communities it serves and their own personal pride in having served that mission.

“To be able to know that I played a part in the legacy that began in 1919 with the very first special agent, I’m honored,” said Jacques Battiste, who was a special agent for 22 years before retiring in 2017.

Michael Mason, who led the FBI’s field offices in Washington, D.C. and Sacramento before leading the Bureau’s Criminal Investigative Division, said the FBI was always supportive of him. An agent for 23 years, Mason said he encourages young people—particularly minorities—to consider the FBI if they want to make a difference—within the Bureau and in their own communities.

“At the end of the day, if we’re going to want this country to be a safe place, an inclusive place, a place that respects civil rights and the legislation that was passed in 1968, then we have to be part of that,” Mason said. “You can’t be a spectator and say, ‘OK, when the attitude and the environment gets rights and receptive and embraces me, then I’ll come in.’ No, you’ve got to come in and make it that kind of environment.”