Race and the Houston Police Department, 1930-1990

Race and the Houston Police Department, 1930-1990 : A Change Did Come

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In Houston, as in the rest of the American South up until the 1950s, the police force reflected and enforced the segregation of the larger society. When the nation began to change in the 1950s and 1960s, this guardian of the status quo had to change, too. In this book, Dwight D. Watson traces how the Houston Police Department reacted to social, political, and institutional change over a fifty-year period - and specifically, how it responded to and in turn influenced racial change. Using police records as well as contemporary accounts, Watson astutely analyzes the escalating strains between the police and segments of the city's black population preceding the 1967 police riot at Texas Southern University and the 1971 violence that became known as the Dowling Street Shoot-out. By 1977, the events surrounding the beating and drowning of Jose Campos Torres while in police custody encouraged Houston's growing Mexican American community to unite with blacks in seeking to curb police autonomy and brutality. Watson's study illuminates not only the role of a southern police department in racial change but also the internal dynamics of change in an organization designed to protect the status quo.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 256 pages
  • 160 x 241.3 x 22.9mm | 521.64g
  • Texas A & M University Press
  • College Station, United States
  • English
  • Annotated
  • Annotated edition
  • 15 b&w photos, bibliography, index
  • 1585444375
  • 9781585444373

Review quote

"Breaks new ground . . . The author places the issue of race at center stage with other social and political developments in Houston and shows quite well how the changing race relations in Houston were just as important in the development of the HPD as technology, the migration of blacks from the rural areas of Texas to the cities, and the emergence of Houston as a major shipping and aerospace center in the Southwest. . . . should become the model for subsequent books on policing in urban America."--W. Marvin Dulaney, College of Charleston, and author, "Black Police in America"--W. Marvin Dulaney, College of Charleston, and author, Black Police in Americashow more

About Dwight D. Watson

DWIGHT D. WATSON is an assistant professor of history at Texas State University. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Houston. He has previously worked as a correctional counselor, a prison grievance officer, a country probation officer, and state parole officer.show more

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