Indianapolis’ African American Fire Fighters

Indianapolis’ African American Fire Fighters


In this online digital collection you can see pictures of Indianapolis African American Firefighters from the late 1800s until today. The pictures come from the Indianapolis Firefighters Museum and the Indianapolis Black Firefighters Association. View the Pictures

On May 19, 1876 Fire Chief W. O. Sherwood appointed the first four Black men to the Indianapolis Fire Department to replace four White firefighters on Hose Company 9, located at 31 West Saint Joseph Street. This station, eventually renumbered as Station 1 and relocated to 441 Indiana Avenue, grew to become an all-Black double company firehouse, with approximately 24 firefighters who rotated through two 24-hour shifts.

Black firefighters remained segregated from the rest of the Fire Department until the practice was officially ended on Jan. 1, 1960. Hired before integration in 1955, Joseph Kimbrew became the first Black Fire Chief of the Indianapolis Fire Department on January 19, 1987.

Fire Fighters to the Rescue Firefighters
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2 Responses »

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