When he finished breaking tackles, Herbert Lincoln helped break barriers.
The Alston High School Athletics Hall of Famer became one of the first black police officers in the Town of Summerville. He helped pave the way for others to be hired after him as well.
“I came up around a lot of [wise] elderly people, and they used to keep me straight,” Lincoln said.
That teaching put Lincoln on a path toward a future in law enforcement. After high school in the 1960’s, Lincoln says he helped an officer trying to make an arrest in front of a grocery store. He says, that prompted the Summerville Police chief at the time to offer him a job. Lincoln’s father, was skeptical.
“He said, is you crazy? No, no, no…that ain’t for you,” Lincoln said.
Turned out it was for him. Lincoln went to the academy in Columbia in 1973, and shortly after becoming one of the first African American officers in Summerville, he spread his wings and accepted an offer to join the Dorchester County Sheriff’s office. That was something he had to explain to the Summerville chief.
“Chief Farmer asked me, Lincoln, you mean we sent you to school and you come back and now you’re going to work for Carl Knight?”, Lincoln recalled. “He said, I know, I understand.”
After more than a decade with the sheriff’s office, Lincoln finished his career in law enforcement as a constable. A job he did until just five years ago. He was honored just last weekend at the MLK Commemorative Tributes event at Charleston Southern University for his years of service.