Cordus Jackson

Cordus Jackson and his son, Artie Jackson, look at a photo taken while Cordus Jackson served as Killeen’s first black police officer.

In 1961, the first black police officer in the Killeen Police Department was hired after spending two years on patrol with the Bryan Police Department.

Some eight years later, Cordus Jackson rose through KPD’s ranks to chief of detectives.

“Black, white, it didn’t make no difference,” said Jackson, now 83, and suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. “Human beings were what I was concerned about back then. We had some of the world’s best. I was happy. I was thankful. I was appreciative. We had some really good people back then.”

As the years have passed, so too has Jackson’s memory of those times. But Herald newspaper clippings from the late 1960s and early 1970s saved by Jackson’s family help his story live on forever.

According to previous Herald reports, Jackson helped qualm civil unrest in Killeen during the civil rights era, received numerous awards and commendations for breaking up crime and mentored other young, aspiring black police officers.

Jackson has a large family and as they sat at their home in Killeen scrolling through old photos and Herald clippings on Saturday, they remembered what it was like in Killeen all those years ago.

“There were some racial issues, but nothing like you hear in the deep South or anything,” said Jackson’s son, Artie, who owns Artie’s Heating and Air Conditioning in Killeen and Temple. “We got along pretty good with

everybody. Even though we grew up in a black neighborhood, we still had a lot of white friends. We went to a lot of police functions and interacted with their kids and everything.”

There may have been a few late nights, but Cordus always came home.

“I remember Mom would be worried just because he was a policeman,” said Blynthia Fairweather, the oldest of Jackson’s five children. “Our families always wondered if there would ever be that knock on the door. Other than that, we’re a God-fearing family and we prayed a lot. I know Mom always prayed for Dad … But in my heart, I always knew he’d come home each night.”

Artie said he and his siblings were insulated from the turbulence of the time by their father.

“I’m almost sure there were some racial incidents, but we just never knew about it,” Artie said. “We were probably protected from it. They guarded us.”

Jackson doesn’t remember much about those times, but he does remember watching over his children.

“Everybody that knew me at that time, they knew I wasn’t going to put up with nobody that messed with my kids,” Jackson said. “They didn’t mess with my kids.”

Jackson said his police family helped raise his own family, and he’s thankful to have served Killeen as a police officer.

“But we were all happy and thankful as a family.”

cthorp@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7552​

(2) comments

RShelton

My father H.E. Shelton worked with Mr. Jackson on the force they were partners.They remained friends until my father passed away.

Dick Adams

Cordus has been a friend of mine since 1962. He is a very fine gentleman. My father was Chief of Police in 1962. I was a police reserve officer from 1966 to 1968. I worked with Cordus. He was always very fair with everyone and treated everyone with respect. His wife was principal of Marlboro Heights Elementary Schoo. They are fine people. He rose to the rank of Assistant Chief of Police. He has been a great asset to the City of Killeen and the Killeen Police Department.

Richard "Dick" Adams

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