For a running list of all our 2021 Black History Month profiles, click here.
Originally from Louisiana, Georgia Ann Hill Robinson (1879-1961) was already a longtime suffragette and NAACP organizer when she volunteered with the Los Angeles Police Department in 1916. Casting aside her life as a middle-class housewife, Robinson soon became invaluable to the police department. In 1919, she was hired as L.A.’s first Black policewoman (making her the second in the entire country) and assigned as a jail matron. She soon became involved in cases involving everything from juvenile delinquency to homicide. Troubled by the plight of unhoused women in L.A., she founded the Sojourner Truth Home, which she worked with the rest of her life. She also often took destitute women into her own home.
Her career was cut tragically short in the late 1920s, when she was blinded while trying to break up a vicious drunken fight between two inmates in the local jail. Though forced to retire, Robinson continued to work tirelessly for philanthropic causes, particularly ones concerning desegregation and women’s rights. “I have no regrets,” Robinson told Ebony in 1954. “I didn’t need my eyes any longer. I had seen all there was to see.”
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