Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Two firsts in Monrovia: Julian Fisher and Zella Vining

Monrovia starting keeping the peace with the election of a Town Marshall, but by 1903 established the seeds for the Police Department we have today. The jail was built sometime in 1904, and operated out of the Granite Bank Building until 1925, when a dedicated station house was built for the force.

 Julian Fisher and Zella L. Vining represented firsts. Julian Fisher, after whom the park is named, was the first African American police officer. Son of Lucky Baldwin’s blacksmith, Fisher was seen as an effective mediator between the black and white communities.

According to the Monrovia Daily News,  Ms. Vining was hired as a deputy marshal on May 27, 1918, without pay, to facilitate the handling of the rare female prisoner arrested in Monrovia.The article went on to say she was a stenographer and accountant in City Hall and would likely not be "burdened with police work." The non-paying job apparently didn't suit her as she quit on June 17, 1918.

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