Fletcher “Flash” Wiley, a leading attorney, businessman and public servant in Boston, Massachusetts, was born on November 29, 1942 in Chicago, Illinois and his family moved to Indianapolis two years later. In 1952, Wiley was selected as a charter member of the “Gifted Child Program,” an innovative, resource-rich educational opportunity created by the Indianapolis Public Schools to provide at the elementary school level an expansive and accelerated curriculum for children with exceptional I.Q.s. At its inception, he was the only African American in a class of fifty gifted children. In 1958, Wiley was the top-scoring candidate in the written and in-water examination for Indiana State Park lifeguards. However, because the parks were segregated, he was denied a position because of his race. But as a Red Cross certified water safety instructor, he taught white lifeguards how to do their jobs. Upon Wiley’s graduation from Shortridge High School in 1960, he was recruited by football coach Ben Martin of the United States Air Force Academy to become the first African American football player at the Academy.
Successful in his application to the Academy, in 1961, Wiley became the first African American from Indiana appointed to a military academy. It was as a member of the Academy’s football team that he gained the nickname “Flash,” for his flashy play. In 1965, he became the fifth African American graduate of the Air Force Academy and the Academy’s first Fulbright Scholar. As such, he continued his studies at L’Institut Des Etudes Politiques at the University of Paris in France. Following his service as a captain in the U.S. Air Force, Wiley resigned his commission to pursue graduate studies. In 1974, he received a master’s in public policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and a law degree from Harvard Law School.
For twenty years, Wiley worked as a practicing attorney concentrating in the areas of corporate and commercial law, small business development, entertainment law and real estate. Early in his career he helped form the Boston-based law firm of Budd, Reilly and Wiley that became the largest minority-dominant firm in New England. Today, Wiley is president, COO and general counsel for PRWT Holdings, as well as an attorney “of counsel” at the law firm of Bingham McCutchen LLP in Boston, where he specializes in corporate and commercial law.
Wiley has been extensively involved in civic and charitable activities. In 1984, he founded and chaired the Governor’s Commission on Minority Business Development, stepping down in 1990. He also served for seven years first as president and later as national chairman of the Black Entertainment and Sports Lawyers Association, Inc, and he later served for two years as chairman of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce. Wiley is also a founding member of the Harvard Law School Black Alumni Association.
Wiley and his wife, Benaree Pratt Wiley, live in Massachusetts. They have two children: a son, Pratt, and a daughter, Benaree.