Police Officer Ocea Bailey



Ocea Bailey joined the Lynchburg, Virginia police force and served a number of years. The story is that he quit police service because he would not join in the general police severity towards black citizens of Lynchburg. He lived next door, on Pierce Street, to the poet Anne Spencer, which probably had something to do with his reticence. My aunt Mary Steppe Booth remembers spending time at uncle Ocea's home, and that Anne Spencer would come out and pat them on the head as the children stood by her backyard fence. Afterwards, uncle Ocea owned an ice and coal company for many years, which probably brought him a better standard of living than police service. So he left Pierce Street for Monticello Avenue in Fort Hill. In the photo above he wears a cap with a “Chief” medallion on the top.



This photo appears to be taken in one of the old main street grocery stores in downtown Lynchburg. For sale are cabbages, seeds, shotgun shells, and beer at 10 cents a bottle. The officer on the left in his rain gear is Ocea.