One of first black officers in Savannah laid to rest - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

One of first black officers in Savannah laid to rest

Posted: Updated:

By Michelle Paynter - bio | email

CHATHAM COUNTY, GA (WTOC) - A historic figure, a pioneer, one of the first black police officers in the State of Georgia was laid to rest on Friday.

Retired officer Alexander Grant, Jr. was 92-years-old. He was one of the original nine black officers to join the Savannah Police Department in 1947.

Sixty-one years ago Grant took an oath to serve and protect the citizens of Savannah.

Hundreds packed the Oakland Missionary Baptist Church on Buckhalter Road to say a final farewell.

Savannah Mayor Otis Johnson attended the funeral and spoke of Grant. "He was a police officer, he was one of the original nine, he is in the history books, no one can take him out," Johnson said.

Several police officers were also at the service, including Savannah Chatham Metro Police Chief Willie Lovett. Also there was retired officer John White. White is now the last of the original nine black officers.

White said, "Sixty something years ago, and they still remember him as the original nine and that's a wonderful feeling."

Grant actually only served on the Savannah Police Department for two weeks. Today at his funeral, the mayor explained why. The mayor said Grant was dismissed because of an allegation of something the department accused him of doing when he was just nine years old.

Many say the Army veteran, a Bronze Star recipient, was forced out because of racism.

"It has changed a lot when you think about it," said Mayor Johnson. "The resistance was so strong to the original nine and we now have Willie Lovett as police chief, that tells you how far we have come."

Officer White says he and grant were always proud to be among the first, now White is the last of that original nine.

"I cried thinking hey, I am the last of all," said White.

White stood shoulder to shoulder with the officers on the force today, all saluting one of the men who made the department what it is today.

Grant was laid to rest at Beaufort National Cemetery. He is survived by his wife, five children, and sixteen grandchildren.

Copyright 2010 WTOC. All rights reserved.

Powered by WorldNow