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The Black Cop of Philadelphia collection


Held at: Historical Society of Pennsylvania [Contact Us]1300 Locust Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19107

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

These materials were collected by Arthur Matthews, retired homicide captain and chief inspector of the Philadelphia Police Department. Matthews was the first African American to head the city's Homicide Division in the 1960s. This small collection contains a copy of a letter from Arthur Matthews to Alphonso Deal, president of the Guardian Civic League of Philadelphia, from May 26, 1969 (Box 1, Folder 1), published items, photocopies of articles, and a paper titled "A Short History of African-American Policeman" that's accompanied by a list of "Significant court decisions that affected African Americans and others[sic] minorities with the Philadelphia Police Department" (Box 1, Folder 4). These writings were used in the program entitled "Historical Salute to African Americans in Law Enforcement" that was held by the city in 2006. A copy of the accompanying booklet is in the collection (Box 1, Folder 3). The photocopied articles primarily date from 1969 to 1980 and most feature Matthews and his work, along with other issues relating to African American police employees (Box 1, Folder 2). There is also a police department recruiting booklet (Box 1, Folder 3) and a book, Black Cops by James N. Reaves (Volume 1).

Gif of Arthur J. Matthews, 2012.

Accession number 2012.051.

Historical Society of Pennsylvania
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Cary Hutto
Finding Aid Date
; 2014
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Collection Inventory

Photocopy of letter - Arthur Matthews to Alphonso Deal, 26 May 1969.
Box 1 Folder 1
Photocopies of clippings pertaining to Arthur Matthews and African American police employees, 1969-1980.
Box 1 Folder 2
Publications - Be a Policeman, Build a Career; A Historical Salute to African Americans In Law Enforcement, 1888 to 2006.
Box 1 Folder 3
"A Short History of African American Policeman” [essay]; “ "Significant Court Decisions that Affected African American and Others[sic] Minorities Within the Philadelphia Police Department", undated.
Box 1 Folder 4
Black Cops by James N. Reaves.
Volume 1

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