The Black Cop of Philadelphia collection

Collection 3809

1969-2006, undated
(0.2 Linear feet ; 1 box)

Summary Information

The Historical Society of Pennsylvania
Creator - Donor
Matthews, Arthur J.
The Black Cop of Philadelphia collection
1969-2006, undated
0.2 Linear feet ; 1 box
Finding aid prepared by Cary Hutto
Mixed materials [Box]

Preferred citation

Cite as: [Indicate cited item or series here], The Black Cop of Philadelphia collection (Collection 3809), The Historical Society of Pennsylvania.

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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).

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

 The Historical Society of Pennsylvania ; 2014

1300 Locust Street
Philadelphia, PA, 19107


The collection is open for research.


Gif of Arthur J. Matthews, 2012.

Accession number 2012.051.

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Controlled Access Headings


  • African American men.
  • African Americans in mass media.
  • African Americans--Biography.
  • African Americans--Pennsylvania--Philadelphia.
  • African Americans--Relations with whites.
  • Philadelphia (Pa.). Police Department.

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Collection Inventory

Box Folder

Photocopy of letter - Arthur Matthews to Alphonso Deal 26 May 1969 

1 1

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Photocopies of clippings pertaining to Arthur Matthews and African American police employees 1969-1980 

1 2

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Publications - Be a Policeman, Build a Career;  A Historical Salute to African Americans In Law Enforcement, 1888 to 2006 

1 3

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"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 

1 4

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Black Cops by James N. Reaves 


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