Abraham Bolden holds a proclamation celebrating his presidential pardon and honoring his work as the nation’s first Black Secret Service Agent to work on a presidential detail.
Six weeks ago, Abraham Bolden hung up the phone and drank a glass of water at his Auburn Gresham home as he absorbed the news he’d waited decades to hear.
He received a presidential pardon.
President Joe Biden issued it nearly 60 years after Bolden, the nation’s first Black Secret Service agent to serve on a White House detail, was convicted on trumped-up bribery charges in retaliation for blowing the whistle on the racist and unprofessional behavior of fellow agents.
“It just felt as if a ton had been lifted off my shoulders,” Bolden, 87, said after a ceremony today in the Loop where he was honored by Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and County Commissioner Stanley Moore.
“It was indeed a trial and tribulation to suffer for a crime I knew I didn’t commit,” he said.
He faced charges in 1964 for allegedly accepting bribes from counterfeiters.
His first trial resulted in a hung jury. He was convicted in a retrial that relied on witnesses who later admitted lying at the prosecutor’s request.
Bolden, who served on the protection detail of former President John. F.Kennedy spent more than three years in federal prison.
“This presidential pardon was a long time coming but finally what we have known has been so true and proven, that you, sir, are worthy of trust and confidence,” Moore said today.