Furman Melton was born in Spindale, North Carolina, in 1933. He served briefly in the United States Navy and worked in the textile mills before joining the Greensboro Police Department in February 1958. During his career, Melton worked in the patrol division, vice squad, the narcotics division, led the burglary squad for ten years, worked a three-year term in special intelligence, and headed the homicide division.
By 1963, although Melton had been promoted to detective, he was put back into patrol work to monitor demonstrations and marches as one of seventeen police officers assigned Captain William H. Jackson’s demonstration and marching patrol squad. Melton once arrested Jesse Jackson, then president of the North Carolina A&T State University student body, during a demonstration in Greensboro. He was also present during the riot at Dudley High School and shootings from Scott Hall on the A&T campus in May 1969.
Following the special assignment, Melton returned to his own unit, and then led the police department’s homicide division from 1981 until his retirement in January 1987. He then joined three other retirees at the Powers Detective and Patrol Agency, where he worked as a private investigator. Furman Melton died on May 3, 1989, at the age of 56.