ATF has a long legacy as a Federal law enforcement agency. Our roots can be traced back to 1791 when the first tax on distilled spirits was implemented by the new Secretary to the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton. With the creation of the Office of the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue in 1792, a cadre of Federal revenue officers was hired to collect and enforce the nation’s alcohol taxes.
Since the mid–1800s, ATF and its legacy agencies have embraced diversity by hiring men and women of diverse backgrounds, race, ethnicities, cultures and religions who have served as Federal law enforcement officers and inspectors.
However, not until 1965 and the passage of civil rights legislation were these pioneers of the American Federal law enforcement community afforded the equality that many of their fellow officers often took for granted.
Nevertheless, these Women, African American, Hispanic, Native American, and Asian American ATF legacy law enforcement officers proudly carried out their oaths to protect and defend the constitution and enforce the rule of law.
As we look at these diversity memorabilia, let’s remember these women and men for their steadfastness and courage in building and advancing the legacy of the ATF.
Note: Some of these images are official Prohibition Agent credentials from the 1920s. (Courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration)