Black History 365: Horatio Julius Homer

Since there are so many facets of the history that people of African descent have made in this country, I’ve decided to continue my “Black History 365″ series from my poetry blog here on my AfrocentriqueAZ blog. I’ll be posting a new “First Black” every Wednesday. This week is Horatio Julius Homer

1878:  First African-American police officer in Boston, Massachusetts: Sergeant Horatio Julius Homer.

1878: First African-American police officer in Boston, Massachusetts: Sergeant Horatio Julius Homer.

Interestingly enough, there was no Wikipedia article about this even though it was on their list of African-American firsts article. So, I did a google search and found an article on http://www.boston.com/ fron which I got the information below.

Homer was born in Farmington, Conn., in 1848, when slaves were still held nearby. After brief stints as a waiter and a railway porter, his work ethic and a bit of luck earned him a shot in the Boston police department — then-City Councilor John Jay Smith was an abolitionist eager to get a black man on the force, and the man who was then chairman of the board of police commissioners, Henry Sturgis Russell, was open to change.

Homer became well respected in the department encouraging the hires of four other African-Americans. By 1895, he was promoted to sergeant. But by 1903, he was again the only African-American on the force, “a relic from a more tolerant age.’’

He retired at 71 in 1919, having lasted 41 years and through 12 police commissioners.

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