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Color: Black, Lavender, White
Food: Fish
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Season: Fall, Spring
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Birthplace
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania United States
Interview Description:

Biography |

Interview Date: 6/14/2003

Bernice Ayesa Hassan-Fletcher was born in Philadelphia on December 29, 1922. Her parents were immigrants, her mother from Jamaica and her father from Eritrea. Hassan-Fletcher graduated from West Philadelphia High School and immediately went to work following graduation.

With the United States' entry into World War II, opportunities for women to join the workforce were abundant. Moving to Berkeley, California, Hassan-Fletcher became a bookkeeper on a naval base in Oakland. Following the war, she went to work for the phone company, becoming one of the first African American women to work the telephone switchboards in Berkeley. Later, using her bookkeeping skills, Hassan-Fletcher became the accountant for the largest co-op in the city of Berkeley. After marrying Arthur Fletcher in 1964, she became the office manager of Berkeley High School.

Hassan-Fletcher and her husband moved to Washington D.C., where she became involved with the Model Cities Program that was part of President Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty. In 1968, she became the campaign manager for her husband's bid for lieutenant governor. In 1970, she became the office manager of her husband's consulting firm, Hassan-Fletcher & Associates. With the election of President Ronald Reagan, Hassan-Fletcher became the office manager to First Lady Nancy Reagan. Hassan-Fletcher was the first African American woman to hold this post. She returned to Fletcher & Associates following the Reagan administration.

In her spare time, Hassan-Fletcher loves to cook, baking breads and pastries as gifts during the holiday season. Hassan-Fletcher and her husband have three children, nine grandchildren and fourteen great-grandchildren.

Hassan-Fletcher passed away on October 15, 2015.

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