In the wake of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the Secret Service came under close scrutiny for its failure to protect the president. Some of the agents assigned to the motorcade never recovered from that day and were haunted by the events that took place. Prior to that day, the Secret Service had received numerous warnings of assassination attempts on Kennedy’s life. One plot in Chicago, was actively foiled but several weeks later in Dallas, the agency would not be as fortunate. As the Warren Commission began its investigation, dozens of witnesses came forward with their story of what they saw or heard and among those was the first African-American secret service agent to guard a sitting president. Abraham Bolden was junior agent on post when by chance, Kennedy walked past him. He turned to Bolden and asked him if he would like to be the first Black American to protect the president. Bolden agreed and the following week, he reported for duty in Washington.
After accepting President Kennedy’s invitation to join his Secret Service detail, Bolden reported to his new post but found himself surrounded by a climate of right-wing agents, incompetence, racism and perhaps treason. In the book, he recounts his early life and the hostile environment he stepped into after accepting Kennedy’s proposal. Bolden truly believed in the job he was assigned and after Kennedy’s murder, he approached the Warren Commission to request to testify about the failure of the Secret Service to act on warnings of the impending assassination and the incompetence that plagued the agency. His decision to testify and the aftermath form the basis of this book and present a stgory that is nothing short of shocking.
Bolden was labeled as whistle blower, and his decision to speak out against the government resulted in him losing his job and being forced to defend himself in a sham criminal case concocted by his former employer. He was convicted in sham trial based on false testimony, he served several years in prison before being released. Upon his release, his life took an even darker term as the government continued to punish Bolden for what it considered to be an act of aggression. The battle against the U.S. Government took many years from his life and he explains his ordeal in this eye-opening account of the murder of John F. Kennedy and Bolden’s life afterwards.
In his later years, he worked in the automotive industry and lived a quiet life with his wife Barbara who passed away in 2006. Bolden is still alive and the memories of Dallas fresh in his mind as if they happened yesterday. The government has always attempted to explain Kennedy’s murder as the work of a loan assassin. But stories such as these cast doubt on the official narrative as we begin to see the forces which were opposed to the young president. Those of us who are interested in the assassination will find this book highly interesting and tragic at the same time for two lives were destroyed as a result of the events that day. Regardless of what your thoughts are regarding Oswald’s guilt or innocence, this is the story of Abraham Bolden at the echo from Dealey Plaza.