By Christina Santucci
Arthur Hill left his mark through his service in the New York Police Department, with his work at the Guy R. Brewer Democratic Club in southeast Queens and on his family, loved ones said, and now a corner in St. Albans bears his name.
Councilman Leroy Comrie hosted a co-naming ceremony for the late police assistant chief and political activist Saturday at the corner of Hannibal Street and Ilion Avenue.
“He was a real mentor, a real teacher and a real person who cared about people and about seeing the right things done,” Comrie said after the ceremony.
An Army veteran who was born in 1922 and served in World War II, Arthur Hill joined the NYPD in 1946 and was assigned to the 28th Precinct in Harlem.
His brother Elighu Hill, who served in the Fire Department, joked that Arthur Hill wrote in his yearbook he had wanted to be a firefighter. And Elighu Hill had penned that he hoped to be a mounted policeman. However, their wishes ended up nearly reversed.
“I was always proud of him,” his brother Elighu Hill said. “As much as I taught him, he taught me.”
Arthur Hill rose to assistant chief in 1971, and over the years, he received two commendations, three Meritorious and three Excellent Police Awards, along with numerous citations for his community service, according to Comrie’s office. He also served as commanding officer for Malcolm X’s funeral in February 1965 and was the first African-American Commander of the Support Service Unit, the councilman said. Arthur Hill retired from the NYPD in 1973 and later worked for UPS, Comrie said.
“I am so honored that he was hard on me and hard on all of us because it definitely helped shape my life,” Comrie said.
Arthur Hill was also recognized for his political activism.
“He helped me wear out two cars,” joked longtime friend Livingston Francis. “They were almost his cars when he got finished. We went to so many meetings that it was as though Arthur was always in my car.”
It was through his politics that Arthur Hill became close to U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel (D-Harlem) who attended Saturday’s co-naming.
“If he loved anyone, he loved Charlie Rangel,” joked former Councilman Archie Spigner, who works with the Guy R. Brewer Democratic Club.
“He became the executive secretary of the club, and that’s the guy who does the work. He’s the guy who makes the club look good, and Artie was very generous with his time and his resources,” Spigner said.
Several elected officials described how Arthur Hill helped them navigate their way into the city’s political world.
“For many of us younger people coming up, Artie was a person that we looked up to, he was a person that took people under his wing and helped us to know what it meant to try to serve your community and be an upstanding citizen,” said Assemblyman William Scarborough (D-Jamaica).
Francis recalled how he and Arthur Hill would drive around with their wives in the backseat while they hashed out ideas to better their communities.
“I’m sure we did a very god job because the world continues,” he said with a laugh.
Arthur Hill, who died in 2010, is survived by his wife, Patricia and his four children.
“He was very influential and I loved him very much,” Arthur Hill Jr. said of his father.
Reach Managing Editor Christina Santucci by phone at 718-260-4589 or by email at [email protected].