Rare Book & Manuscript Library
 

New York Police Department Guardians Oral History Collection, 2015-2016

Summary Information

Abstract

The fourteen interviews of the NYPD Guardians oral history collection document the history of the fraternal organization and the experiences of members as police officers in New York City. The New York Police Department Guardians Association was founded in 1943 and recognized by the NYPD as a fraternal organization in 1949. Over the years it has served African American officers and civilian employees of the NYPD by developing community; providing education and mentorship; advocating within the department; and taking legal action to combat discrimination in hiring and promotion. The narrators discuss the impact of the Guardians on officers' careers, the group's advocacy against discrimination in the NYPD, and developments in police work from the 1960s-2010s.

At a Glance

Call No.: OHAC
Bib ID 12231326 View CLIO record
Creator(s)
Title New York Police Department Guardians Oral History Collection, 2015-2016
Physical Description 1329 pages ((.75 linear feet of transcripts in 2 boxes)); 18 digital audio files (Sound recordings)
Language(s) English
Access

Access: Open.

Arrangement

Arrangement

Interviews are arranged alphabetically by narrator's last name.

Description

Scope and Content

The fourteen interviews of the NYPD Guardians oral history collection document the history of the fraternal organization and the experiences of members as police officers in New York City. Topics include: the impact of the Guardians on officers' careers; the group's advocacy against discrimination in the NYPD; litigation in the 1980s regarding promotion exams; and activities of the Civilian Complaint Review Board, which at times saw the Guardians at odds with the NYPD Patrolmen's Benevolent Association. Narrators also discuss their daily work as officers and developments in policing from the 1960s-2010s. They reflect on police and community relations in New York during their youths and conversations about race and policing at the time of the project. Other organizations discussed are 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care and the Policewomen's Endowment Association.

Narrators are Eric Adams, Reuben Bankhead, Charles Coleman, Caudieu Cook, Deatra Fuller, Lester H. Grissom, Leroy Hendricks, Edgar Jones, Patricia Martin, Gary Miller, Robert Nero, Alicia Parker, Joseph Richardson, Annette Spellen, and Graham Weatherspoon.

Interviews are fixed as digital sound recordings (in WAV format), PDF transcripts, and print transcripts. Certain interviews were redacted. Redactions in the audio are marked by silence in the recording, lasting as long as the redacted portion. Redactions are also noted in the transcript. The archives did not receive unredacted versions of the interviews in question.

Using the Collection

Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Access Restrictions

Access: Open.

Restrictions on Use

Copyright by the Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York, 2015-2016.

Related Material

Charles Coleman Collection of The Guardians Association Newsletters,1986-2015, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University.

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Processing Information

Finding aid by David A. Olson, incorporating description by Liz H. Strong. 9/2017

Revision Description

2017-09-11 xml document instance created by David Olson

2019-06-08 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.

Subject Headings

The subject headings listed below are found in this collection. Links below allow searches at Columbia University through the Archival Collections Portal and through CLIO, the catalog for Columbia University Libraries, as well as ArchiveGRID, a catalog that allows users to search the holdings of multiple research libraries and archives.

All links open new windows.

Genre/Form

Heading "CUL Archives:"
"Portal"
"CUL Collections:"
"CLIO"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
"ArchivedGRID"
Interviews Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Oral histories Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

Subject

Heading "CUL Archives:"
"Portal"
"CUL Collections:"
"CLIO"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
"ArchivedGRID"
African American police -- New York (State) -- New York Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Black lives matter movement Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Community policing -- New York (State) -- New York Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Discrimination in law enforcement -- New York (State) -- New York Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
NYPD Guardians Association. Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
New York (N.Y.).--Police Department--History. Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
New York (N.Y.).--Police Department.--Civilian Complaint Review Board Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
New York (N.Y.).--Transit Police Department Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
New York City Housing Authority.--Police Department Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Patrolmen's Benevolent Association of the City of New York Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Police administration -- New York (State) -- New York Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Police misconduct -- New York (State) -- New York Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Police-community relations -- New York (State) -- New York Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Policewomen -- New York (State) -- New York Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note

History

The New York Police Department Guardians Association was founded in 1943 and recognized by the NYPD as a fraternal organization in 1949. Over the years, it has served African American officers and civilian employees of the NYPD by developing community; providing education and mentorship; advocating within the department; and taking legal action to combat discrimination in hiring and promotion. In 1966, the Guardians endorsed the formation of the city's Civilian Complaint Review Board, a decision opposed by the police union, the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association of New York. The Guardians were also involved in litigation in the early 1980s regarding disparate outcomes by race for the NYPD's entrance and promotion examinations. The latter resulted in a 1985 settlement to establish quotas for promotions. The NYPD Guardians Association continues to provide advocacy and community for members.