02/21/14 337 W, 1 I - + 6 - 3 African American Heritage in the Raleigh Fire Department

On Saturday, February 8, the Raleigh Fire Museum conducted a special event in recognition of Black History Month. Featured were multimedia displays about African Americans in the Raleigh Fire Department. The slideshows included a historical perspective, beginning in the late 1860s with the city's first company of volunteer black firefighters. Named the Victor Company a year later, they were part of the volunteer Raleigh Fire Department until the career organization was formed in 1912. A second company of black firefighters, named the Bucket & Ladder Company, also served during that era. Called "colored fire companies," they were among many such segregated fire companies that served in North Carolina both back in the day and toward present day.


Watch Part Two - Watch Part Three

The museum event also included participation by the United Professional Firefighters of Raleigh (UPFFR). Members assisted museum staff with operating the museum that day. At 1:00 p.m., the UPFFR members presented a framed photo to Dr. E. B. Palmer and his wife Juanita. They're the founders and operators of Raleigh’s African American Cultural Complex. The photo, created in collaboration with the Raleigh Fire Museum, presents a montage of portraits of retired and fallen black firefighters that served the Raleigh Fire Department from 1963 to 2013. Click to enlarge:


The presentation was also taped by the Raleigh Television Network (RTN), for the February episode of FireWatch. You can watch that episode online. And see photos from the museum's special event.

To learn more about black firefighters in both Raleigh and North Carolina, here's more information:

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