100th Anniversary of 1st Black NYPD Officer

by Ayvaunn Penn, Your Black World

On tomorrow counting back a century, it will be the 100th year anniversary of the first black officer being sworn into the New York Police Department. Samuel Jesse Battle, a son of former slaves, became their first black sergeant and lieutenant.

Although a joyous accomplishment, Battle had to dodge some racial obstacles first. He had the scores to be appointed with the police department but they threw him a curve ball when their physician conducted his physical exam. Their doctor wrongfully diagnosed him with a heart murmur in turn thwarting Battle’s dream.

Battle decided to get a second opinion from one of the top white physicians in his region. In doing so, he found that he was actually in good health. NYDailyNews.com reports that after the second exam and “through pressure from black activists, the NYPD swore-in Battle on June 28, 1911.”

This is a part of Ayvaunn Penn‘s Black and Making It series. She is also a spoken word artist and an award winning writer completing her degree in English and philosophy. For more of her witty-word works click here. To have your original poetry featured by Ms. Penn on Your Black Poets, click here.


2 responses to “100th Anniversary of 1st Black NYPD Officer

  1. Dear Ms. Penn,
    In researching Samuel Battle for a novel I wrote that took place in NYC in 1911, I came across your article and wondered if I could use the photo for my blog. It’s the photo where Battle is shaking hands with Fiorello LaGuardia in 1943. See my website for more info on the book called THE TRIANGLE MURDERS. Thanks!

    • Dear Lynne Kennedy,
      Hello! It is good to hear from you and thank you for your courtesy. I actually obtained the photo from a different website which the photo was originally linked and credited to. At this time, however, it appears the website I obtained it from is no longer available. The rule of thumb I always use when borrowing any material is to give credit to the original source. Best wishes, and may you continue to have great success with your writing!
      – Ayvaunn

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