Home > Uncategorized > First African-American Newark police officer honored during Black History Month ceremony

First African-American Newark police officer honored during Black History Month ceremony

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All around the grave of the first African-American Newark police officer were tangible signs of his legacy: 75 to 80 Newark police officers in their crisp uniforms, standing at attention today as they saluted his resting place.

Augustus Dickerson did not go beyond the rank of patrolman, but his ability to be appointed to the force and serve for just four years — from 1874 to 1878 — less than a decade after the Civil War, was an incredible accomplishment, said Levi Holmes, a Newark police detective and president of the Bronze Shields, an organization representing African-American police officers in Newark.

“He embodies perseverance and determination and not just as a police officer, but as an African American,” Holmes said today at Fairmount Cemetery in Newark. “Imagine you were the only black officer in the force. Imagine how he persevered. Imagine the trial and tribulations he had to endure at the time.

“It’s motivation enough for us to do our job everyday,” he said.

The ceremony, which was also held to recognize February as Black History Month, started off with a procession through the cemetery that included a Newark police honor guard and students from Malcolm X. Shabazz High School’s ROTC program.

Acting Essex County Prosecutor Robert Laurino, Newark Police Deputy Director Niles Wilson and Floyd Bostic, first president of the Bronze Shields, were among the law enforcement officials who attended today’s event.

 

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