Tag Archives: Pittsburgh

Little-Known Black History Fact: Molly Williams

Posted by BuellBoy

Drawing of Molly Williams pulling fire pump through snow storm

Drawing of Molly Williams pulling fire pump through a snow storm in 1818

A slave named Molly Williams was the first known female firefighter in the United States. Little is known about her life, but female firefighters know her heroic story.

Owned by a New York merchant named Benjamin Aymar, Williams became part of the Oceanus Engine Company firehouse in 1815 and would be known as Volunteer Number 11. The members of the house credited her for being as tough as the male firefighters. She would fight amongst them in a calico dress and checked apron.

Besides the bucket brigades, Molly pulled the pumper to fires through the deep snowdrifts of the blizzard of 1818 to save towns. On December 27, 1819, the Fire Department reported that the fire buckets were rapidly being superseded by the use of hose, so the era of fire buckets ended.

Even as a slave, Williams had gained the respect of her fellow firefighters. Her story and strength paved the way for other women, including one the first paid Black female firefighters and the most tenured in the country – Toni McIntosh of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, who served for over 11 years.

Today there are many African-American women working as career firefighters and officers in the United States, along with a number of counterparts in the volunteer ranks. The African American Fire Fighter Museum is a non-profit organization dedicated to collecting, conserving and sharing the heritage of African American firefighters.

The Museum is housed at old Fire Station 30. This station, which was one of two segregated fire stations in Los Angeles, between 1924 and 1955, was established in 1913, to serve the Central Ave community.

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Filed under African-Americans, Civil Rights Movement, Culture, History, Holidays, Uncategorized, US

New Orleans Saints’ Drew Brees and President Obama Team Up for Children’s Fitness

Posted by Buellboy

Dallas Cowboys' DeMarcus Ware, President Barack Obama, Saints quarterback Drew Brees and Pittsburgh Steelers' Troy Polamalu with Washington, D.C.-area children at the White House. Brees said it was the only time he had thrown a pass to someone wearing a Chicago Bears jacket.

Times-Picayune—In support of his United We Serve initiative, President Barack Obama and NFL stars Drew Brees, DeMarcus Ware and Troy Polamalu team up to highlight the importance of fitness for America’s children.

Obama joins Saints quarterback Brees, Steelers safety Polamalu and Cowboys linebacker Ware in a special public service announcement debuting during each of the three NFL games played on Thanksgiving.

The 90-second PSA is a joint effort of the NFL’s PLAY 60 campaign, a league-wide effort to fight childhood obesity by getting kids active for 60 minutes a day, and United We Serve, the president’s initiative encouraging all Americans to participate in community service.

The spot will continue airing throughout the rest of the season in a shorter format.

Through United We Serve, I have challenged all Americans to roll up their sleeves and engage in sustained service to strengthen our communities,” the president said. “For some of us that means volunteering at a soup kitchen or cleaning up a local park. For others, it means taking time to build a playground or volunteering your time to improve the life of a child.

Quarterback Drew Brees

No matter how we serve, we find common purpose when we dedicate ourselves to helping others. This holiday season, I am asking all Americans to find their own way to give back to their communities.”

The Saints’ Brees, who has been a national spokesman for the PLAY 60 campaign for the past two years, said, “We had about 25 minutes and did three different takes. I threw him a couple of passes. He was wearing his Chicago Bears jacket, so there was some ribbing about that.

Thanksgiving is a time when families come together, and it is also a perfect time to focus on the importance of keeping kids healthy and active,” Brees said. “I was honored to spend time with the president on an issue that is clearly important to him. I was also impressed by his wide receiver skills.”

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Filed under Barack Obama, Change, Children, Football, Health, Media and Entertainment, New Orleans, LA, Politics, Pop Culture, Pres. Barack Obama, Presidents, PSA, Sports, Thanksgiving, Volunteerism