Race and the Houston Police Department, 1930–1990
A Change Did Come
Publication Year: 2005
Published by: Texas A&M University Press
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The study of the Houston Police Department (HPD) changed my life fundamentally, I hope for the better. I would like to thank my family, friends, colleagues, and the HPD. A special debt of gratitude for assistance with this project goes to the Manuscript Division of the Library ...
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Recent well-publicized cases of the abuse of power by the police in Los Angeles, New York, Atlanta, and Houston have revealed how little we know about how the police function and how pervasive race is in determining police behavior. When Lee Patrick Brown was named chief of ...
CHAPTER 1. “A Change Gonna Come”: Jim Crow Challenges during the Depression and World War, 1929–43
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On Thursday August 1, 1929, Mayor Walter Monteith appointed Percy Heard as chief of the Houston Police Department. Heard’s appointment signaled the beginning of a new era in policing for Houston. By this time, the city was ...
CHAPTER 2. “Almost the Law”: Black Police and the Ordeal of Jim Crow Policing in Postwar Houston, 1944–59
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In 1944, the hope and promise of the impending double victory over fascism abroad and racism at home inspired many African Americans to reach higher for self-betterment. Immediately following World War II, institutional bureaucracies were among the most important and influential forces in the shaping of modern ...
CHAPTER 3. Circling the Wagons: Police Department Retrenchment in a Time of Social Change, 1960–73
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The maintenance of segregation in America was challenged in the 1960s by the various components of the civil rights movement. At the same time, the Houston Police Department was vainly trying to maintain the last vestiges of the Jim Crow hierarchy in the city. This chapter examines the ...
CHAPTER 4. “What a Mess We Have Here”: Chaos with the Breakdown of Leadership in the Police Department, 1973–78
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The police in America were besieged in the 1970s with demands for change from outraged citizens, who felt that the police had lost control. At times, the violent reactions of police departments to social change set the stage for dramatic and brutal confrontations. The HPD was no different ...
CHAPTER 5. The Storm Clouds of Change: The Death of José Campos Torres and the Emergence of Triracial Politics in Houston, 1978–80
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As the drama over the Randy Webster and Billy Keith Joyvies shootings was subsiding, another highly publicized case of police violence rocked the city of Houston. On the night of May 5, 1977, the arrest, beating, and drowning of Jos� Campos Torres brought the storm clouds ...
CHAPTER 6. Calming the Raging Sea: Katherine J. Whitmire, Lee P. Brown, and the High Tide of Change for the Police Department, 1981–90
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By the 1980s, the Houston Police Department had earned a reputation as mean, racist, and brutal because of its long history of episodic violence against the citizens of Houston. This is a harsh but accurate depiction of the forces that shaped the HPD’s public image and defined its ...
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Urbanization and modernization engulfed twentieth-century Houston. From 1900 to 1990, the city’s population increased fiftyfold, but the police department never grew large enough to protect the city adequately. The HPD’s steadfast desire to maintain tradition, including racial ...
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Page Count: 222
Illustrations: 15 b&w photos. 6 tables.
Publication Year: 2005
Series Title: Centennial Series of the Association of Former Students, Texas A&M University