Boston's First Black Police Officer Honored

(NECN: Scot Yount, Boston) - "It's amazing because we never really knew our grandfather," said Maria Homer, Homer's granddaughter.

In the nation's first police force, the first African American police officer was Horatio Homer, and on Saturday, he was honored at Boston Police Substation B-2.

It was previously believed that the department didn't appoint men of color until 1919.

Now recently uncovered evidence proves that Homer in fact was the first of six men recruited, not in 1919, but in 1878, just a decade after the 14th Amendment.

"Just 10 years after being granted citizenship, Sgt. Homer became a member of the oldest law enforcement agency in the nation, in the city that played an enormous role in the anti-slave movement," said Randall Halstead of the Boston Police.

Homer's two granddaughters didn't know much about him until the Boston Police Department started digging.

"You don't get over it, it still is overwhelming, it really is," said Maria Homer.

"Considering the time that he lived in, he was a pioneer, and he had to persevere through hardships. It was twice as hard," said Lilian Homer, also a granddaughter.

On this day they learned a lot more about their father's father, celebrated for his accomplishments and what he gave to the city.

"They believed in him, and they supported him, and then he paved the way, provided that pathway," said Lilian Homer.

Sometimes news can be something old.

"I know he loved his job, and he stuck with it for 40 years," said Lilian Homer.

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