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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Baltimore, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Violet Hill Whyte: Baltimore’s Lady Law

Baltimore Black History

 
 
Violet Hill Whyte: Baltimore’s Lady Law Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, February 12, 2017
1. Violet Hill Whyte: Baltimore’s Lady Law Marker
Inscription.  As a teacher and mother of four, Mrs. Violet Hill Whyte of Carrollton Avenue did not fit the accepted image of a policeman in the 1930s. Regardless, on December 3, 1937, she became the city’s first African-American police officer. Whyte refused to carry a gun and earned her nickname “Lady Law” by working countless sixteen-hour days. Over her thirty-year career, she strived to improve the juvenile justice system and protect the young people of West Baltimore.
 
Location. 39° 17.612′ N, 76° 38.933′ W. Marker is in Baltimore, Maryland. Marker is on Payson Street. The marker is on a brick post at the entrance to a parking lot. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Baltimore MD 21223, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Royal Theater & Pennsylvania Avenue (here, next to this marker); The Murphy Family and The Afro-American (a few steps from this marker); The Arabbers (a few steps from this marker); The Maddox Family and Time Printers (within shouting distance of this marker); Clarence and Parren Mitchell
Violet Hill Whyte: Baltimore’s Lady Law Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, February 12, 2017
2. Violet Hill Whyte: Baltimore’s Lady Law Marker
(within shouting distance of this marker); Lucille Clifton (within shouting distance of this marker); Mother Lange and the Oblate Sisters of Providence (within shouting distance of this marker); Lillie May Carroll Jackson & Juanita Jackson Mitchell (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Baltimore.
 
Also see . . .
1. Wikipedia entry for Violet Hill Whyte. ExcerptL
Whyte was appointed to the northwest district at Pennsylvania Avenue and Dolphin Street by Commissioner William Lawson. She was not given a gun. Her duties included patrolling the streets, homicide investigations, narcotics cases, assaults, cases of sexual abuse, and robberies. She was known to work undercover. Youth who lived in her district said later that she would often intervene when she saw students skipping school. Her efforts earned her the nickname "lady law." Juvenile Court Judge Charles E. Moylan Jr. described her as "a one-woman police force and a one-woman social worker combined". In 1955, she was promoted to sergeant and oversaw policewomen. She ended her career in the Western District. Before her retirement in 1967 after 30 years of service, she
Lt. Violet Hill Whyte (1897–1980) image. Click for full size.
Close up of photograph reproduced on the marker
3. Lt. Violet Hill Whyte (1897–1980)
was promoted to lieutenant.
(Submitted on November 23, 2019.) 

2. African Americans in the Baltimore Police Department. 2002 article by Ret. Det. Kenny Driscoll in the Baltimore City Police History website. Excerpt:
The First African American Police Officer in the Baltimore Police Department was Officer, Violet Hill Whyte when she was hired on 3 Dec 1937. In an editorial, the Baltimore Sun said, “She worked in an all-white, mostly male-dominated institution, and won the respect of all those she worked with, she did it through hard work, and human understanding.” The Sun report went on to say she explained her success by saying, “Im not afraid of hard work.”

During her 30 years on the police force, she proved “hard work!” time and time again, She worked 16 to 20 hour days. Often she would begin her shift at 6 a.m. and not leave until midnight or 1 a.m. only to go home and go back to the station by 6 a.m. She worked cases, as well as collecting clothing for inmates, and the poor. She made holiday baskets for the needy and counseled delinquent kids and their families. She once said, “Being first at anything is hard because you represent so many others; if you do poorly, everyone will think all those you represent will also do poorly.”
(Submitted on November 23, 2019.) 
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Categories. African AmericansLaw EnforcementWomen
 

More. Search the internet for Violet Hill Whyte: Baltimore’s Lady Law.
 
Credits. This page was last revised on December 6, 2019. This page originally submitted on February 19, 2017, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 231 times since then and 63 times this year. This page was the Marker of the Week December 1, 2019. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on February 19, 2017, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland.   3. submitted on November 23, 2019. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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