George Hocker broke through barriers as one of the CIA’s first Black spymasters


Explore Our Galleries

A man stands in front of the Djingareyber mosque on February 4, 2016 in Timbuktu, central Mali. 
Mali's fabled city of Timbuktu on February 4 celebrated the recovery of its historic mausoleums, destroyed during an Islamist takeover of northern Mali in 2012 and rebuilt thanks to UN cultural agency UNESCO.
African Peoples Before Captivity
Shackles from Slave Ship Henrietta Marie
Kidnapped: The Middle Passage
Enslaved family picking cotton
Nearly Three Centuries Of Enslavement
Image of the first black members of Congress
Reconstruction: A Brief Glimpse of Freedom
The Lynching of Laura Nelson_May_1911 200x200
One Hundred Years of Jim Crow
Civil Rights protest in Alabama
I Am Somebody! The Struggle for Justice
Black Lives Matter movement
NOW: Free At Last?
#15-Beitler photo best TF reduced size
Memorial to the Victims of Lynching
hands raised black background
The Freedom-Lovers’ Roll Call Wall
Frozen custard in Milwaukee's Bronzeville
Special Exhibits
Dr. James Cameron
Portraiture of Resistance

Breaking News!

Today's news and culture by Black and other reporters in the Black and mainstream media.

Ways to Support ABHM?

By Dan De Luce, NBC

George Hocker
George Hocker, left, with Robert Gates, former director of the CIA and secretary of defense. (CIA Archive)

When George Hocker underwent a grueling training course to become a CIA spy, much of America was still segregated. That meant Hocker, as a Black man, could not go to restaurants in Virginia to meet with agency instructors playing the part of foreign informants.

Different exercises had to be developed for Hocker. “I had to have car meetings, whereas my classmates could go and have a nice meal in a restaurant,” he said.

Out of a class of 75, Hocker was the only Black person. He passed the course and went on to blaze a trail as one of the Central Intelligence Agency’s first Black clandestine officers, the first to open a CIA station abroad and the first to lead a branch inside the Directorate of Operations.

Hocker’s pioneering experience at the spy agency — along with a small number of other African Americans who joined in the 1960s — has been largely overlooked until recently, partly due to the secrecy that requires most CIA officers to serve in anonymity.

But the agency recently installed an exhibit dedicated to Hocker at its museum at CIA headquarters, and he is now writing a memoir, saying he wants to pass on the lessons he learned as a “Black spymaster” about resilience and determination.

NBC has more details about Hocker’s unique career.

You may not associate the CIA with Blackness, but visitors are now greeted by a Harriet Tubman statue.

Check out other breaking Black news stories.

Comments Are Welcome

Note: We moderate submissions in order to create a space for meaningful dialogue, a space where museum visitors – adults and youth –– can exchange informed, thoughtful, and relevant comments that add value to our exhibits.

Racial slurs, personal attacks, obscenity, profanity, and SHOUTING do not meet the above standard. Such comments are posted in the exhibit Hateful Speech. Commercial promotions, impersonations, and incoherent comments likewise fail to meet our goals, so will not be posted. Submissions longer than 120 words will be shortened.

See our full Comments Policy here.

Leave a Comment