In April 1961, Bolden was working as aSecret Service agent based in Chicago when President Kennedy arrived for a political event atMcCormick Place. Bolden was assigned to guard a restroom that had been cordoned off exclusively for the president.
“My colleagues kidded me about having bathroom detail,” Bolden said.
“Most agents liked to be shoulder to shoulder with the president. But
as fate would have it, when the president arrived that morning, he had
to use the washroom.”
Bolden said the president stopped at the door of the restroom to ask
Bolden if he was a Secret Service agent or a Chicago policeman. Bolden
told him that he was an agent.
“The president said, ‘Mr. Bolden has there ever been a Negro Secret Service agent onWhite House detail inWashington, D.C.?’
” Bolden said. “I told him, ‘Not to my knowledge, Mr. President.’ And
he asked me if I would like to be the first, and I told him, ‘Yes, sir,
Mr. President.’ “