HOUSTON – In 1948, the United States was suffering great racial turmoil. In the divided country, blacks and whites didn’t eat in the same places or hold the same jobs. That was the year that Edward A. Thomas became the city’s first black officer.
Even though Thomas had just served in WWII, he returned to a job that would not allow him to ride in a patrol car, eat in the cafeteria or even arrest a white man. His amazing resilience and continued dedication to the department despite his early years were traits remembered by Thomas’ friends, family and hundreds of thankful Houstonians.
Thomas passed away last week from natural causes at 94 years old. Just days before his passing, Thomas received the ultimate gift when HPD’s downtown headquarters was renamed in his honor, now known as the Edward A. Thomas building. As the longest-serving HPD officer in history, with 65 years on the force, it was a fitting tribute to Thomas’ legacy.