John Milledge

Black History Heroes | John Milledge
Posted on 02/09/2020
John Milledge

John Milledge was one of the first black officers to serve in Dade County. Hired in 1944 by the City of Miami to patrol the “ Central Negro District,” he later became the first black officer in the history of Dade County to be killed in the line of duty.

In 1939, Mr. Milledge and his wife, Edna moved into the new Liberty City Housing Project at Northwest 14th Avenue and 62nd Street. In 1942, Milledge was chosen to serve as auxiliary police officer for the housing complex. Milledge patrolled the complex and was involved in civil defense activities in the black community during World War II. It was this experience that led to his becoming one of Miami’s first black officers.

Fearing white outrage at the appointment of black police officers, department and city leaders arranged for the first five black officers to be trained in secret at the Liberty Square recreation center.

The five were sworn in on September 1, 1944, but were anything equal to white officers. They rode on bicycles rather than in police cars; they were only allowed to patrol the “Negro precinct;” they were not allowed to wear their uniforms to the courthouse, and they were not allowed to arrest whites. They wore the same uniform as white officers and received the same pay. Unlike the white officers, however, the black officers were not under civil service protection and did not receive pensions, retirement benefits or job protections.

John Milledge was killed in the line of duty after serving two years as a police officer. His killer was arrested 43 years later and sentenced to time served in pre-trial detention and probation. John Milledge’s name is inscribed on the National Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington, D.C. and a plaque bearing his name is in the lobby of the Miami Police Department.

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SDIRC would like to thank the Indian River County NAACP Branch #5151 for providing the content in today's 'Black History Heroes' biography.