Way back in 1868, New Hanover County had three law enforcement personnel, a white sheriff, the first black deputy and the first black jailer.
It was not until 1982 that Joseph McQueen Jr. was elected the county’s first black sheriff. While working as a deputy he rose to Chief of Detectives and in 1981 he made the historic decision to run for sheriff. With his popularity in all ethnic, economic and social groups he won easily becoming the county’s first black sheriff.
According to a Star News editorial Nov 14, 1982, “whites and blacks elected him together, he is everybody’s sheriff.” He remained popular during his entire tenure, until leaving office in 2000.
Date posted: May 22, 2013
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