Monday, June 25, 2012

African American Firefighters Museum

Dedicated to collecting, conserving and sharing the heritage of African American firefighters.

I’m always amazed at what is missed while driving, especially the quaint little restaurants or antique shops that have the oddest items on display. As I travel to Skid Row Los Angeles to feed the homeless with Sammy Maloof I exit at Central Avenue and drive north to Crocker Street, always note the Coca-Cola building, as it resembles a ship and not the factory producing soft drinks. This path is also followed when heading to the Teamsters building of Local 360 where we hold our union meetings, so I pass by a fire station that never really grabbed my attention, yet is a treasure trove of African-American Firefighter History. What brought this magnificent firehouse to the forefront of my attention was an invitation by James Bolden to his birthday party, which was held inside this spacious warehouse of memorabilia. 

This is not your run of the mill firehouse, this is the African-American Firefighters Museum, and there are no others throughout the land. Why was it, after working in downtown Los Angeles for forty years I was not aware of this special museum, I kept asking myself?

Being the extrovert that I am, my date for the night Lynnae Nelson and I walked to every table introducing ourselves, and asking the guests if they were aware of the museum before the event? Seventy percent answered with a negative, and were as shocked as myself learning about this building and the contents within.

As I ventured upstairs I was amazed at the beauty of the wooden floors, and handrails, shined to a state of a mirror. As the second story is entered the walls are covered with photographs from years ago showing the men and women as they were promoted in what once was predominately a white world. A large table in the middle of the room holds newspaper clippings from years ago to the present, with a movie playing on a loop in the room adjacent to the main museum room. Several firemen uniforms are also displayed from dress blues to actual clothing to fight fires, all very impressive to say the least. I’ve captured a few photographs, which can be viewed by following this link. Someone needs to contact Huell Howser and get some airplay for this museum? For a small recommended fee of $5.00 this would make for a great field trip, and be certain to call ahead before visiting for hours of operation.

1401 South Central Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90021 (213) 744-1730

1 comment:

scott davidson said...

Cityscape seems a good subject for murals. But many themes can of course be painted there, for decoration and as a break and escape from looking at cement. This painting by American painter Charles Sheeler,, would make a good mural as it is as a good painting. The image can be seen as who supplies canvas prints from original art.