Biography / Administrative History
Title: Hadwick Thompson papers
Collection number: MS 45
.15 linear feet
(1 box + 1 oversized box)
African American Museum & Library at Oakland (Oakland, Calif.)
Abstract: Hadwick A. Thompson (1919-2002) was born on November 17, 1919 the son of Hadwick and Edna Thompson of Willows, California
and the grandson of California pioneer Alvin Aaron Coffey. The Hadwick Thompson papers consist of twenty photographs, correspondence,
business cards, and a funeral program that document the life and activities of Hadwick Thompson as the first African American
police officer to join the Oakland Police Department.
Languages represented in the collection:
No access restrictions. Collection is open to the public.
Materials are for use in-library only, non-circulating.
Permission to publish from the Hadwick Thompson Papers must be obtained from the African American Museum & Library at Oakland.
Hadwick Thompson papers, MS 45, African American Museum & Library at Oakland, Oakland Public Library. Oakland, California.
Processed by Sean Heyliger, 06/29/2013.
Biography / Administrative History
Hadwick A. Thompson (1919-2002) was born on November 17, 1919 the son of Hadwick and Edna Thompson of Willows, California
and the grandson of California pioneer Alvin Aaron Coffey. Thompson was raised in Willows, California and graduated from Willows
High School in 1938 before joining the U.S. Navy the following year. During World War II, he was stationed on the U.S.S. Ramsey
in Hawaii and witnessed the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Thompson was eventually transferred to submarine service and
stationed on the submarine U.S.S. Pollack for the remainder of the war earning four Bronze Stars.
Following the war, Thompson joined the California National Guard and the California State Police. In 1947, Thompson and Clarence
Williams became the first African American police officers to join the Oakland Police Department. Thompson was as a police
officer with the Oakland Police Department for over twenty five years, working as a specialist in the community affairs department
and supervising youth programs until his retirement in 1973. After his retirement, he continued to work as a police officer
with the Bay Area Rapid Transit police force and as a fraud investigator with the Bank of California before retiring in 1992.
Thompson was also active in a many civic and service organizations. He serviced as the president of the Pearl Harbor Survivors
Association, Oakland Chinatown Lions Club, and was a national director for the U.S. Navy League and was an active member of
the National Black Chamber of Commerce, Commonwealth Club, California Pioneer Society, and Men of Tomorrow, Inc.
The Hadwick Thompson papers consist of twenty photographs, correspondence, business cards, and a funeral program that document
the life and activities of Hadwick Thompson. Photographs in the collection include portraits of the Thompson family, a class
photograph of the Chrome School in Glen County, California, Thompson’s activities as a member of the Oakland police department,
and several social and civic events attended by Thompson. Correspondence includes a complaint letter written to Thompson while
he served on the National Black Chamber of Commerce, and Thompson’s funeral program following his death in 2002.
Series I. Photographs
Series II. Correspondence
Series III. Printed material
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in
the library's online public access catalog.
Oakland (Calif.). Police Department--History.
African American police--California.
African American families--California--Oakland.
Glenn County (Calif.)--History.