Horatio J. Homer broke barriers when he became the first black police officer in Boston’s history in 1878. Homer served on the police force for over 40 years.
Homer was born in Farmington, Connecticut, on May 24, 1848, to Sarah Fields and Charles Homer. As a young boy, he took a job working in a hotel as a bellhop. He traveled a lot and worked numerous of jobs. He also worked as a porter on a Pullman car that ran from Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.
Homer later relocated to Boston in 1873 and worked as a waiter in various hotels. In 1878 he began working as a janitor at the Globe Theatre on Washington Street. While working at the theater, he met numerous influential men, who suggested he become a police officer.
On December 24, 1878, Homer joined the Boston Police Department. By 1895, he had been promoted to the Rank of Sergeant. Homer was a gifted musician, proficient in a wide variety of instruments including the violin, viola, cello, and double bass. Homer retired from the police force on January 29, 1919, at the age of 71.