African American Women have played a major role in the fire
service ever since the 1800’s when a slave named Molly
Williams served as a volunteer firefighter in New York City.
Today, African American Women play a significant role in the
fire service nationwide. Currently, 5 African American women
serve as Fire Chiefs of municipal city and county fire
department’s across the United States.
Here in Los Angeles, the beginning of African American women
in the fire service started in 1978 when Carlesta Wells became
the first African American woman paramedic hired by the Los
Angeles Fire Department. She was followed by Michelle Banks
in June of 1984.
We are proud to acknowledge that our first President was
Firefighter/Lead Paramedic Michelle Banks of the LAFD.
Firefighter Banks was instrumental in the opening of the
Museum. She served as President from 1997 to 2003. Michelle
retired in 2016. She is now the Vice President of the African
American Firefighter Museum.
There are many women serving in the fire service today as chief
officers, company officers, dispatchers, arson investigators,
training officers, paramedics and fire chiefs.
Join us on this great presentation. Admission is FREE!