Frederick Arthur Robinson

First Black Police Officer & Sergeant.

Frederick Arthur Robinson, one of four children, was born in August 1852 in Annapolis, Nova Scotia to Richard T. Robinson and Isabella Gordon, both of English descent.  The Robinson family moved from Nova Scotia to Cambridge in 1870 when Frederick was about 18 years old.

He was appointed to the Cambridge Police Force in April 1884, when Mayor Fox nominated him to become the first black police officer for Cambridge. He worked a beat that included Western Ave, Putnam Ave, Dana St, Broadway, and Inman to Main Sts.

Prior to becoming a police officer he worked as a laborer and a teamster. In 1904 the Police Force was reorganized and Mayor Daly promoted Officer Robinson to the rank of Sergeant.  In a Cambridge Chronicle newspaper article dated April 30, 1904 it stated that; “As a patrolman Mr. Robinson has done good services, and he is promoted solely on his merits.  He knows the duties of a patrolman, and will make a good sergeant.” He worked at Station 2 until his illness early in the summer of 1914, and retired later in 1914 with a pension after 30 years of service.

Sergeant Robinson passed away on December 4, 1914 at age 62 in his home on 15 Union Street, Cambridge, MA.  He is buried in Cambridge Cemetery.  As stated in the December 17, 1914 issue of the Cambridge Chronicle: “He was considered an ideal patrolman and superior officer, and his knowledge of police matters ranked him with the leaders.