Black History 365 – First African-American police officer in Boston, Massachusetts

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.

In 2016 for my Black History 365 series, I explore the obvious and not so obvious parts of American history that those called Black have taken part in. The things that we (Black people) have done other than be stolen from our homeland and made forced labor in a land foreign to us. I’m going to start this series by looking up the first time someone African-American did something and broke the color barrier in that activity or field. I’ll be starting with Wikipedia and working my way out:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_African-American_firsts

I will be learning a lot of this as I go since I am a product of the standardized Euro/Anglo/Caucasian leaning public school system. I hope you enjoy learning with me. I’ll be going down the list chronologically as it appears in the Wikipedia article.

If you have any other sources or additional information for this topic, please share in the comments. I also welcome any and all comments and discussion. Thanks for reading!

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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 www.boston.com from which I got the information below. There was also another follow up article on the same site.

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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