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Marguerite P. Justice Papers

Identifier: SPC-2019-050

Scope and Contents

The Marguerite P. Justice Papers (1930s-1990s) includes information regarding the Los Angeles Police department, Los Angeles Police Commission; correspondence and paperwork associated with the Westside Property Owners' Protective and Improvement Association; over 300 photographs of family, Justice's city council race; images taken on the set of Adam-12, travel photographs, photos of Mayor Sam Yorty, Linda Darnell, and others; letters addressed to Justice; copies of outgoing correspondence from Justice; LAPD employee report, 1971; texts of speeches delivered at various community events; pamphlets from various California police officer's wives organizations; materials gathered from civic organizations Justice was involved in; material belonging to Justice's husband such as correspondence; and educational records.


  • circa 1930s-1990s


Conditions Governing Access

There are no access restrictions on this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Director of Archives and Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical materials and not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.

Biographical / Historical

Marguerite P. Justice (1921-2009), fondly referred to as "Mama J," was the first African American woman to serve as a Los Angeles Police Commisioner. She was born Marguerite P. Lecense in New Orleans, Louisiana, and was the youngest of three children to Albert and Louis Lecesne. In 1945, Justice moved to Los Angeles where she worked as a seamstress, and then became personal assistant to actress Linda Darnell. Justice gave up her position with Darnell to marry William H. Justice whom she met through church.

An active member of her community, Justice participated in multiple organizations such as the Westside Property Owners and Improvement Association, the Los Angeles Southwest Commitee for Employment of Probations, the Exposition Community Coordinating Council, as well as the Community Redevelopment Agency board where she worked alongside Los Angeles City Councilman, Billy Mills. She was also an active member of the United Methodist church. Justice served in the Los Angeles Police Commission from 1971-1973 earning praise for her sensitivity to police oversight and minority communities. Justice ran for City Counicl in 1975, but was unable to obtain the position. She continued to participate in community activism and support the Los Angeles Police Department. Justice received the Police Historical Society's Jack Webber Award in 2004.


6 boxes

2.67 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



The Marguerite P. Justice Papers collection includes, correspondence, photographs, reports, pamphlets, speeches, and other materials regarding the Los Angeles Police Depatment, Los Angeles Police Commission, and varying clubs and organization in the city of Los Angeles.


Arranged in 5 series:

  1. Series I. Work, 1944-1988, undated
  2. Series II. Clubs and Organizations, 1938-1990s, undated
  3. Series III. City of Los Angeles, 1961-1991, undated
  4. Series IV. Correspondence, 1960s-1991, undated
  5. Series V. Photographs, undated

Separated Materials

This collection includes 3 pamphlets entitled, "Race, Ethnicity and Religion in a Changing America: Observations for the 1980s" by James B McKeer; "A New Look at Prejudice: Program Implications for Educational Organizations" by Helen Fooss; "Report to the People: A Publication of the California State Legislature, 1969." It also includes the "Charter of the City of Los Angeles," compiled by Roger Arneburgh and Rex E. Layton.

Processing Information

Danielle A Trujillo, 2020-02-21

Marguerite P. Justice Papers
Danielle A Trujillo
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the California State University Dominguez Hills, Gerth Archives and Special Collections Repository

University Library South -5039 (Fifth Floor)
1000 E. Victoria St.
Carson CA 90747