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Sunday, May 31, 2020
 
 
Anthony Banks
Detective Alton C. Parker
Detective Homer Watkins
 
 
Anthony Banks
 
Anthony Banks, photo Courtesy of Freida Parker Steele
  The first Black police constable in Canada was Anthony Banks. He was appointed by S. S. McDonnell the Crown Attorney of Essex County. Constable Banks served in this role for over 25 years. He married Susan Simpson and they had fourteen children. His son Walter also served as a County Constable and lived in Colchester. Following the death of his wife Anthony Banks married a widow Mrs. William Rideout.
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Detective Alton C. Parker
 
 
Photo Courtesy of Freida Parker Steele
 
Alton C. Parker was born Windsor in 1907. Mr. Parker was both happily married to Evelyn and gamefully employed as a mechanic when he answered the call to serve and protect his community. In September of 1942 Parker became the first Black Constable to be employed by the Windsor Police Department. Although he faced opposition upon entering the force his outstanding character won over the hearts and minds of his fellow officers. He enjoyed serving the community and often encouraged other African Canadian to join the force. In July 1951 Parker became the first African Canadian to achieve the rank of Detective in Canada.
 
Dedication of Statue in Alton C. Parker Park  Photo Courtesy of Freida Parker Steele
  Such outstanding achievement in the field of law enforcement would be almost impossible to overshadow. Remarkably, Detective Parker is perhaps best known and most loved for his dedication to serving the community out of uniform. He was a founding member of ALPHA (Apartment Living for Physically Handicapped Adults). He also served on the board of directors of Goodwill
Dedication of Statue in Alton C. Parker Park Photo Courtesy of Freida Parker Steele
  Industries. In 1966 Detective Parker and his wife Evelyn began hosting the
annual Uncle Al’s Kids Party. An event that brought joy to so many children. (Please see the Celebrations section of this website)
 
Detective Alton Parker Retires  Windsor Star 30/12/1970
  Detective Parker received many awards. In 1976 Parker received both the Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship and the great honour of being named to the Order of Canada. Although seriously ill his wife Evelyn was by his side at Rideau Hall on this auspicious occasion. In 1977 he was awarded the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Medal. In 1986 Detective Parker received the Harry Jerome
Detective Alton Parker Retires
Windsor Star 30/12/1970
  Award in recognition of his commitment to youth. In 1988 Detective Alton C.
Parker was named the Person of the Year by the North American Black Historical Museum.
 
Funeral Service Honour Guard for Detective Alton C. Parker  Photo Courtesy of the Windsor Star 3/03/1989
  Alton C. Parker passed away February 28, 1989. Funeral services were held at the First Baptist Church where he was a faithful member all his life. Detective Parker touched so many lives that it was impossible for the church to accommodate the great numbers of individuals who turned out to pay their final respects. Therefore, the service was broadcast over speakers to surrounding
Funeral Service Honour Guard for Detective Alton C. Parker - Photo Courtesy of the Windsor Star 3/03/1989
  churches and carried live on CK.. Radio.
 
In 1976 Broadhead Park, the site of Uncle Al’s annual kids parties, was officially renamed Alton C. Parker Park in his honour. (Please see the Historic Sites section of this website) In searching for a words to describe Detective Parker certainly ‘Hero and Mentor’ would be heard. However, his daughter Frieda Parker Steele is most pleased that upon his death Detective Parker was described by his fellow officers as simply “A Christian Gentleman”.
 
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Detective Howard Watkins
 
Howard  Watkins, Photos Courtesy of the Windsor Star
 

Howard Watkins was born in the Watkins family home at 375 Watkins St (formerly known as the corner of Lot and Peter St. ) His grandfather Allen Watkins was a former slave who escaped in the 1830’s. Howard Watkins joined the Windsor Police Department as a uniformed constable in June of 1948. In 1960 Watkins joined the youth branch of the force and on May 1, 1960 he was made a Detective.

Detective Watkins was very involved with youth activities and Sandwich Baptist Church. Howard was married to

Photos Courtesy of the Windsor Star
  Laverda and had 4 children. Detective Watkins passed away June 13, 1968. Hundreds of people attended his
funeral at Sandwich Baptist Church and many more lined the sidewalks outside. The funeral procession was lead by a full police honour guard. Detective Watkins was buried in St. John’s Anglican Cemetery in Windsor.
 
Photos Courtesy of the Windsor Star
 
Photos Courtesy of the Windsor Star

Funeral Service Detective Howard Watkins, photo courtesy of the Windsor Start (Jun 12, 1968)
 
Gymnasium Named in Honour of Howard Homer Watkins, photo courtesy of the Windsor Start (Nov. 21, 1968)
 
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The opinions and interpretations in this publication are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Government of Canada.

 

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