In Depth: A look at the LA Fire Department's fight from segregation to integration

This week's Black History Month show focuses on one particular story. It's the history of LA's African American Firefighters. In fact, we are there for the entire show as we hear about The LA Fire Department's history and its years of racism decades ago.

It's all described at a Fire House in South LA that was one of only two where black firefighters could work during years of segregation. The story of The African American Firefighters Museum is the move many years ago from segregation to an integrated fire department.

It's the story of this week's FOX 11 News IN DEPTH.


This week's show starts outside The African American Museum at 1401 S Central Ave in the shadow of Downtown LA. This was once a working fire station, but because of its history it was remodeled and turned into a museum. It's walls lined with historical photos and, in some rooms there are old pieces of firefighting equipment.

We're first introduced to the museum by Michele Banks, President of the AAFM. She explains the history we are about to see and how the "Stentorians" played a major role.


The LA Fire Departments 1st African-American Fire Chief was Douglas Barry and Chief Barry, who is a docent at the museum, gives us a tour and some information on some of those who blazed a trail in the department and tells us the story of integration, change and a Federal Consent Decree implemented by the government to make that happen.


We might past and present firefighters who share their feelings about the department then and now. They also give us their thoughts about Black History Month.


A final thought from Chief Barry on Black History Month.