The Story of Samuel Battle, the NYPD's First African American Cop

Battle became the first African American member of the New York City Parole Commission in 1941. Family members attended his City Hall swearing-in.
Battle became the first African American member of the New York City Parole Commission in 1941. Family members attended his City Hall swearing-in.
Photo: WNYC

The Leonard Lopate Show is a radio program on WNYC that gives "insight into contemporary art, theater, and literature, plus expert tips about the ever-important lunchtime topic: food."

In this 17-minute segment from the show, we are introduced to Samuel Battle, the first black police officer in the City.

When Samuel Battle broke the color line as New York City’s first African American cop in the 1920s, he had to deal with racist colleagues, death threats, and government corruption, along with criminals and gang members.

Battle's story is told in full in a new book: One Righteous Man: Samuel Battle and the Shattering of the Color Line in New York available in in both digital and hardback versions.

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