Colonel William A. Harris interview
Colonel William A. “Box” Harris (1918-1985) was a soldier, high-ranking police officer, and member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Harris was the first Black man to become a parole officer and Marshall for the state of Maryland. In this oral history interview, Harris details his time with the Baltimore Police Department and National Guard, including his involvement with the Cambridge and Baltimore riots of the 1960s. Harris addresses charges of police brutality and misconduct from his first-hand experience relating to the riots. He discusses his relationship with Mayor Thomas D’Alesandro III, as well as the mayor’s relationships with prominent civil rights leaders in Baltimore, including Furman Templeton and Carl Murphy. Harris goes into detail about his work alongside the NAACP and his opinions on the Black Panthers and the Soul School as part of the new generation of civil rights activists. He discusses the role of the Jackson family in Baltimore politics, and his work with Lillie May Carroll Jackson and Freedom House. Harris talks about the advancements made under Donald Pomerlau in integrating the Baltimore Police Department, including the prioritization of training and education within the department.