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Edith Taylor Langster

Edith Taylor Langster
Edith Taylor Langster

Edith Taylor Langster, former Tennessee state representative, Nashville city council member, and the city’s first-ever black female police officer, died June 30, 2024, at the age of 75.  

Langster graduated from Nashville’s Pearl High School in 1957 while schools in the city were still segregated. In 1972, she became the first black, female patrol officer for the Metro Nashville Police Department – the same year the state of Tennessee ratified the Equal Rights Amendment. She served with MNPD for a decade.  

She earned a bachelor's degree in sociology from Tennessee State University and began a career as a counselor. She eventually became a program development specialist at a Nashville mental health facility. 

In 1991, she began a political career, winning the District 20 seat on the Metro Nashville Council. She served on the city council for one term before running for and winning the District 54 seat in the Tennessee House of Representatives. 

Langster would serve in the Tennessee House for 12 years, chairing the house local government subcommittee and was a member of the house consumer affairs subcommittee, assistant majority Whip.  

She returned to the Nashville city Council in 2007, serving Council District 21 seat until 2015. 

Nashville Mayor Freddie O’Connell released a statement about Langster’s legacy in the city. 

“I join many in Nashville in mourning the loss of Edith Langster,” O’Connell said. “She worked tirelessly to elevate the voices of all those she represented in the State Legislature and the Metro Council, and I say that as a former constituent. Her courage and dedication to serving her community will be sadly missed.” 

Langster officer
A Metro Nashville Police Department photo of Langster on duty as the first black, female officer in the department.

The Metro Nashville Police Department also released a statement commemorating Langster along with a picture of her in uniform in 1972. 

“The MNPD joins with our community in honoring the life of Edith Taylor Langster, who recently passed away,” the statement read. “She was the first woman to serve as an MNPD patrol officer in 1974, and later became a member of the Metro Council and TN legislature. She loved people & public service.” 

Assessor of Property for Nashville and Davidson County Vivian Wilhoite said Langster was an important mentor for her and many others.  

“She saw that she could be a beacon of hope for someone,” Wilhoite said. “She saw that she could give help, and she also saw that she can try for somebody. You know sometimes people just want you to try. They just want to see what you can do for them and that you tried.  Edith was a person who was like, ‘I’ll try, and we will be successful together.'”