HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WHLT) – The funeral for one of the first Black highway patrolmen in Mississippi was held on Saturday, December 18 in Hattiesburg.

Walter Crosby was one of three African American men to be commissioned to the Mississippi Highway Patrol (MHP) in 1972. The 71-year-old was on his third battle with cancer before he died.

Crosby was born in Hattiesburg and was the oldest of six siblings. He married the first Black Chancellor Clerk of Holmes County and had six children of his own.

Crosby’s achievement to become a highway patrolman did not come easily. A lawsuit was necessary for him to reach his goal.

“He always thanked me, and I always thanked them. I filed the lawsuit, but I didn’t have to go through that door and survive with men. I do not personally feel comfortable with, but they did what they had to do, and they survived. Each time I see a young, African American patrolman I say, ‘Praise God for those three men,'” said Attorney Constance Slaughter Harvey.

Walter Crosby, Lewis Young and R.O. Williams were all commissioned into MHP after the lawsuit.

Crosby died just months shy of the 50th anniversary of him joining the MHP.