RECOGNIZING THE 55TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE FIRST AFRICAN AMERICANS TO JOIN THE BALTIMORE CITY FIRE DEPARTMENT
(Extensions of Remarks - February 12, 2009)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages E250-E251]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




RECOGNIZING THE 55TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE FIRST AFRICAN AMERICANS TO JOIN 
                   THE BALTIMORE CITY FIRE DEPARTMENT

                                 ______
                                 

                        HON. ELIJAH E. CUMMINGS

                              of maryland

                    in the house of representatives

                      Thursday, February 12, 2009

  Mr. CUMMINGS. Madam Speaker, Black History Month allows this nation 
to pay homage to pioneering African Americans who have enriched our 
lives through their leadership and courage. Citizens across the globe 
are familiar with the legacies of Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, 
Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, and now President Barack Obama. 
However, today I rise to recognize some lesser known, but equally 
important figures in history: the 41 African American males that 
integrated the Baltimore City Fire Department in the early 1950's.
  On June 19, 1953, the Board of Fire Commissioners voted to hire 
``Colored'' firemen. In

[[Page E251]]

July, 41 African American men were determined to be eligible to be 
employed by the fire department. These men were appointed in three 
classes: 10 were appointed on October 15, 1953; 10 were appointed 
December 20, 1953, and 21 were appointed February 8, 1954. Just a few 
days ago, we commemorated the 55th anniversary of the completed 
integration.
  These brave men faced very difficult times. They overcame 
insurmountable challenges and obstacles in order to become great assets 
to the Baltimore City Fire Department. All of these men have made 
exceptional contributions; I will take a moment to highlight a few 
accomplishments. From the 1954 Class, James Crockett re-wrote the 
department rules and regulations for the Fire Board, served as 
President of the Board of Fire Commissioners, and now serves as 
Commissioner of the Baltimore City Fire Department; Charles R. Thomas 
Sr. helped to start the first Baltimore City Fire Department, was 
active in starting the community outreach programs and led the charge 
to integrating the local labor union; and Herman Williams, Jr. became 
the first African American to be promoted to pump operator (driver), 
and is the first and only African American to become Chief of the 
Baltimore City Fire Department.
  Madam Speaker, as we champion the presidency of Barack Obama, we must 
also remember the trailblazers who opened the door of opportunity to 
many in significant ways. It is with great admiration that these men 
who have paved the way for diversity within the Baltimore City Fire 
Department are recognized.

     Class Appointed October 15, 1953

  Lee D. Babb
  Cicero Baldwin
  Ernest H. Barnes
  Louis Harden
  Earl C. Jones
  George C.W. McKnight
  Charles T. Miller
  Roy Parker
  Charles L. Scott
  Lindsay Washington, Jr.

     Class Appointed December 20, 1953

  Harvey Brown
  John Butler
  Thomas Chambers
  John Davis
  Randolph Handy
  John Johnson
  William Nesbit
  David Pipken
  Edgar Waddell
  Ben Wood

     Class Appointed February 8, 1954

  Theodore Baker
  Albert L. Biggers
  Harold Borrows
  Alfred Boyd
  William Brown
  Edward R. Bunch Jr
  Alfred Clinkscales
  James Crockett
  Alfred Daniels
  James Edwards
  Celester A. Hall
  Wade Morgan El
  John T. Murray
  Yeubeart L. Poe
  Raymond Purnell
  Hilton Roberts
  William L. Spicer
  Charles R. Thomas
  Eugene P. Watson
  Herman Williams Jr.
  Littleton B. Wyatt

                          ____________________