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A ‘forgotten pioneer’: Northeastern graduate Zandra Flemister was a trailblazer, the first Black woman to serve in the U.S. Secret Service

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One year before Zandra Flemister, the first Black woman to serve in the U.S. Secret Service, joined the federal agency, blazing a trail for other women in a historically white institution, she was a Northeastern University student

Flemister, who died on Feb. 21, graduated with her bachelor’s degree in political science in 1973. On Aug. 5, 1974, she was appointed as a special agent assigned to the Washington field office, where she served until her resignation in June 1978.

In the days since her death, Flemister has come to be seen as a “forgotten pioneer” for women and minorities, battling adversity in the Secret Service before discovering a lifelong passion for public service in the U.S. State Department, says John Collinge, Flemister’s husband.

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