1st black Secret Service agent dies at age 82

By the Associated Press | August 9, 2011 | 8:44 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) — The nation's first black Secret Service agent Charles L. Gittens has died. He was 82.

The McGuire Funeral Home in Washington confirmed that Gittens died on July 27. A spokesman for the agency confirmed that Gittens was the first black agent but said no further details would be immediately available.

According to an obituary in the Herald-Sun of Durham, N.C., Gittens joined the presidential protection outfit in 1956 in the Charlotte, N.C. office. He retired in 1979.

Danny Spriggs, vice president of global security for The Associated Press and former agent, calls Gittens "just an outstanding guy." He says Gittens mentored young African-Americans like him who were coming up through the ranks.