From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

First African American Police Women in Lexington, KY

(born: 1925  -  died: 1949) 

It was previously written that the first three African American police women with the Lexington, KY, police force were hired in 1949. Below is the correct information. Apologies for the earlier errors.

 

Susan Layton Tabb was the first African American woman to join the Lexington (KY) Police Department, she was a matron as early as 1925 [source: R. L. Polk and Co.'s Lexington (Kentucky) Directory 1925, p.11]. Prior to her hire, the only other African American employee at the police department was Edward Norris, the janitor [source: p.15 in Lexington City Directory 1923]. Susan L. Tabb was born between 1884 and 1890 in Kentucky, and she was the wife of William H. Tabb. The family of four had lived in Ashland, KY, where Susan was a waiter in a restaurant and her husband was a chef at a hotel, according the 1910 U.S. Census. By 1920, Susan L. Tabb was a widow living in Lexington, KY, where she was a public school teacher and the family lived at 112 Georgetown Street [sources: 1920 U.S. Federal Census; and p.641 in R. L. Polk and Co,'s Lexington (Kentucky) Directory 1921]. She was a policewoman from as early as 1925 up to 1941, according to Polk's Lexington (Fayette County, KY.) City Directory. In 1936, she attended the National Urban League Conference in Buffalo, NY, June 3-6, 1930 [source: "Colored Notes" in the Lexington Leader, 06/10/1930, p.14]. Susan Layton Tabb died December 11, 1941 in Lexington, KY and is buried in the Highland Cemetery [source: Certificate of Death Registrar's #28388]. She died from a medical condition. Tabb last lived at 360 Chestnut Street in Lexington, KY, and she was thought to be 60 years old at the time of her death. She was the daughter of Leanna Scroggins Layton and James Layton.

 

Augusta M. Strong was the second African American woman to join the Lexington (KY) Police Department. She became a policewoman as early as 1943 [source: Polk's Lexington (Fayette County, KY.) City Directory, 1943]. Strong was born March 4, 1913 in Lexington, KY, and died July 9, 1967 [sources: Kentucky Death Index; and U.S. Social Security Death Index]. She was the wife of Joseph P. Strong. Prior to becoming an employee with the Lexington Police Department, Augusta M. Strong was a saleswoman with Mammoth Life and Accident Insurance Company in Lexington, KY [source: p.580 in Polk's Lexington (Fayette County, KY. City Directory 1939]. She and her husband lived at 600 W. Maxwell Avenue. According to the 1940 U.S. Federal Census, Augusta M. Strong had completed four years of college and was employed as a secretary at a doctor's office. Her husband was an insurance agent, and they lived in rented rooms.  By 1943, Augusta M. Strong was with the Lexington Police Department where she was employed until about 1947 when she and her husband were living at 930 Whitney Avenue [source: Polk's Lexington (Fayette County, KY.) City Directory 1947, p.537]. The couple is also listed in the 1948 city directory. In 1949, Augusta M. Strong traveled oversees for a year, U.S. Passport #6988. Her home address was given as Rt.6, Lexington, KY, and her birth location was Lexington, KY. She left the United States by way of Seattle, WA, on June 16, 1949 aboard the USAT Ainsworth bound for Yokohama, Japan, and returned to the United States on September 9, 1950 aboard the USNS General Daniel I Sultan, 1st class [sources: List of Outward-bound Passengers, List No. 6. United States Department of Justice. Immigration and Naturalization Service; and List of In-bound Passengers, List No.108. Treasury Department. United States Customs Service]. Strong arrived in San Francisco, CA by way of Yokohama, Japan. According to the passenger list, Augusta M. Strong was still married in 1950. In 1954, she was a nurse at the Community Infirmary [source: Polk's Lexington (Fayette County, KY.) City Directory 1954, p.568].

 

Susan Jesscelia Garr joined the Lexington (KY) Police Department in January of 1949 and remained with the Lexington Police Department almost three decades. She was there in 1960 when she lived at 440 Bamberger Road in Lexington, KY [source: p.242 in Polk's Lexington (Fayette County, KY.) City Directory 1960]. She retired in 1977 when she lived at 1167 Oakwood Circle in Lexington [source: U.S. Public Records Index, v.1; and Polk's Lexington City Directory 1977, p.272]. Susan J. Garr died May 3, 1990 and is buried in the Lexington Cemetery [sources: see Find A Grave information; and "Obituaries" in the Lexington Herald-Leader, 05/05/1990, p.B14]. Susan, whose name was sometimes written as "Susie," was born December 7, 1918, in Lexington, KY, the daughter of Theodore Sr. and Kate Gay Garr [source: Kentucky Birth Index]. She was the sister to Theodore Jr., Elinor, Naomi, Clara, Olga, Katie, Viola, Leonard, and Rowena Garr [source: 1920 & 1930 U.S. Census]. The family lived on Lee Street in 1930, and both Theodore Sr. and Theodore Jr. were employed as paper hangers with an interior decorating business. Susan J. Garr was a graduate of LeMoyne College in Tennessee, and while she was a student, she had lived with family in Memphis and was employed as a maid with a private family [source: 1940 U.S. Census]. Susan J. Garr was also the choir director at Quinn Chapel in Lexington, KY.

 

   See photo image of Susan J. Garr on p.47 in Images of America: Women in Lexington by D. Scaggs. 

 

 

References

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Entry: Mammoth Life and Accident Insurance Company
NKAA Source: R. L. Polk & Co.'s Lexington (Kentucky) directory, 1925
NKAA Source: Lexington city directory
NKAA Source: R. L. Polk and Co,'s Lexington (Kentucky) directory 1921
NKAA Source: Polk's Lexington (Fayette County, KY.) city directory (annual)
NKAA Source: Polk's Lexington (Fayette County, KY.) city directory (annual)
NKAA Source: Polk's Lexington (Fayette County, KY.) city directory (annual)
NKAA Source: Polk's Lexington (Fayette County, KY.) city directory (annual)
NKAA Source: Polk's Lexington (Fayette County, KY.) city directory (annual)
NKAA Source: Polk's Lexington (Fayette County, KY.) city directory (annual)
NKAA Source: Polk's Lexington city directory (serial)
NKAA Source: Lexington herald-leader (newspaper)

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Cite This NKAA Entry:

“First African American Police Women in Lexington, KY,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed December 18, 2018, http://nkaa.uky.edu/nkaa/items/show/1471.

Last modified: 2017-07-19 17:51:33