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Secret Service Pioneer Shares Tales of Danger, Bigotry

(October 31, 2011)

PHOENIX, AZ -- (Marketwire) -- 10/31/11 -- Legalized discrimination continues in the United States, and one has only to hear about new state laws governing immigrants to witness it, says Donald W. Tucker, one of the nation's first black Secret Service agents and author of "The Two-Edged Sword" (www.dontuckerbooks.com).

"It's an old problem and a continuing one in the United States, from the overt prejudice against Irish Americans in the 19th century to the Jim Crow laws that segregated black Americans in the 20th century," says Tucker, whose book recounts both his adventures and his experiences dealing with overt racism with federal law enforcement. "It's an issue that should concern everyone."

Tucker grew up in the ghetto of Chicago's South Side. His "one in a million" winning lottery ticket out was a football scholarship to the University of Iowa. With a bachelor's in criminology/sociology, he became one of the first black federal drug and law enforcement agents in 1961.

However, there were many who tried to push him back from whence he came.

"Whether posing as a drug buyer or dealer in counterfeit money, protecting a political dignitary or performing administrative duties, I always knew that for many I was 'just a blackie,' one step removed from the cotton fields," he writes in his memoir.

When he joined the U.S. Secret Service in 1965, he was one of only 19 blacks out of more than 300 agents nationwide. The black agents, he writes, never stood "shoulder to shoulder" with their white colleagues when it came to commendations and promotions.

He initially hid his anger and kept quiet for fear of losing his job. But he could not keep quiet forever.

"Around the office and in Secret Service circles I became known as Tucker, the Troublemaker," he writes, "the agent who would stand up for any other black -- or white agent, too, if need be -- to fight for equal recognition and equal consideration."

Stories like Tucker's are not only revealing and fascinating, they are a record of American history and the everyday heroes who fought for equal rights.

About Donald W. Tucker

Donald W. Tucker got his early education on the streets of Chicago's South Side. His career in federal law enforcement included overseeing the investigation of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and serving as U.S. Marshal for Arizona.

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Ginny Grimsley

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