While Blacks—especially those with Native American ancestry or fluency—were often recruited as deputy marshals in Indian Territory, they were often kept out of law enforcement positions. That is until the 20th century when major cities began to bring in Black officers slowly. One such officer was Georgia Ann Robinson, the first Black woman to become a police officer.
Georgia Ann Robinson was born May 12, 1879, in Opelousas, Louisiana as Georgia Ann Hill. At 18, she moved to Kansas and took work as an instructor in households. It was after marrying Morgan Robinson that she moved west to Colorado and then California.
Active in the women’s suffrage movement, she would remain active in activism for most of her life. After arriving in Los Angeles, Robinson became a ranking member of the city’s NAACP.
Law Enforcement Career
Los Angeles had a shortage of officers in 1916 as a result of World War I. A few years later, the LAPD recruited Robinson to join the force as an officer. She joined the force in 1919, becoming the first Black woman to serve as an officer in the U.S.
Robinson focused on homicides and juveniles, allowing her to continue to help those both in her city and in her community. Roughly nine years later, she would retire from the LAPD after being attacked by a prisoner who injured her. The attack resulted in Robinson losing her eyesight.
After leaving the force, she founded the Sojourner Truth Home which served as a shelter for women and girls. Georgia Ann Robinson passed away on September 21, 1961 at 82.