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George W. Bright
On this date, in 1897, the first Black firefighter of the Los Angeles Fire Department was hired.
George Washington Bright was appointed by the Fire Commission as a call man and assigned to Engine Co. No. 6. On November 1st of that same year; he was promoted to a full-time hose man and assigned to Engine Co. No. 3. On January 31, 1900, Bright was promoted to Driver Third Class and assigned to Chemical Engine Co. No. 1.
Bright was born in 1862. He was a teamster before being hired by the LAFD. The City Fire Department Report of 1905 shows Lt. Bright assigned to Chemical Company No. 1 and living next door at 125 Belmont Ave. On August 1, 1902, Bright was promoted to lieutenant. In those days, chief officers made the promotions.
Before the commission would certify his promotion, Bright, as the first African American to apply for such advancement, was required to go to the Second Baptist Church and obtain an endorsement from his minister and congregation.