Durham’s Civil Rights Heritage

First African American police officers
Jun. 29, 2013 @ 10:52 AM

Clyde Cox (d. 1970) was one of the first two African-American police officers in Durham and the first black detective in the state of North Carolina. He and James B. Samuel were hired July 1, 1944, to provide more law enforcement coverage in the African-American Hayti community. They and the black officers that followed them were known as the “Hayti Police.”

Separate facilities were maintained for black and white officers. Black officers were not allowed to use the water fountain or bathroom, eat lunch or change their clothes at police headquarters. Not until the 1970s did African-American officers become fully integrated into the department.