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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 On December 27, 1819, the Fire Department reported that the fire buckets were rapidly being superseded by the use of hose, so the era of fire buckets ended.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

First Lady Michelle Obama Appeared on The Today Show

Posted by: Audiegrl

It’s been a little over a year since First Lady Michelle Obama stepped into her role at the White House, and she sat down today with Matt Lauer from the Today Show on Wednesday, February 3, and reflected on her time so far and her future goals.

She noted that she would like to look back and feel like she affected somebody’s life because she was here, which brings on her new initiative on childhood obesity, an increasing problem in the nation, since statistics show that one in three kids is obese. “The most shocking sort of reality that really hits you is that the young generation is on track for the first time in this nation’s history of being less healthy, having a shorter life span than their parents.” The First Lady said the problem is solvable, and they will be striving for attainable goals, but the broad vision is to “change the health status of an entire generation.”

On balancing her work with being a mother: “I find a level of comfort in that role.” She acknowledged that there are challenges, but that she remains the same person she was before she entered the White House. “What people have seen over the course of the year is really Michelle.” She maintained the same for the President, who she says despite challenges that face the nation, “handled the pressure with that same level of grace that he came here with.”

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Looking for more stories on the First Lady? Check out our brand new section: FLOTUS: All Things Michelle Obama

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Filed under Children, Culture, Entertainment, First Lady Michelle Obama, Media and Entertainment, NBC, Networks, Politics, Pop Culture, Television, The Today Show, TV Shows, Women's Issues

Michelle Obama Wax Figure Unveiled on The Wendy Williams Show

Posted by: Audiegrl

ChicagoNow~“How you doin,” Williams uttered her trademark into a new wax figure of the first lady. Viewers of “The Wendy Williams Show” got the first look at the figure, which will debut at Madame Tussauds New York on Tuesday as part of its Black History Month events.

The Obama figure is dressed in a replica of her inauguration gown, Williams showed. She then rattled off some fun facts about the statue, including that its hair is human and individually inserted into the scalp. The hair is washed regularly.

The statues are almost true-to-size. “They take three to six months to create,” she said. “They make them all about 2 percent bigger than the actual bodies of the people that they do because wax shrinks.”

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Filed under African-Americans, Art, Culture, Entertainment, First Lady Michelle Obama, Hollywood, New York, NY, News, Pop Culture, TV Shows, Uncategorized

Researchers Identify Genes Affecting Alzheimer’s Risk

Alzheimer's Stamp

Alzheimer's Stamp

By David Brown, Washington Post Staff Writer—Two European research teams have identified three genes that affect a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, the most common cause of dementia in the elderly.

The new genes appear to have at least as big a role as four others discovered in the last 15 years that are known to play a role in Alzheimer’s.

“The message here is that genes are important in Alzheimer’s disease . . . and there may be multiple ways of reducing the risk that the genes produce,” said Julie Williams, a neuroscientist at Cardiff University in Wales who helped lead one of the teams.

All so-called “Alzheimer genes” have normal roles in brain physiology; they don’t exist solely to cause dementia. Instead, small variations in their DNA alter their function and, through processes only now being uncovered, increase or reduce a person’s risk of developing the disease.

Two of the genes described in the new research may be involved in determining the brain’s capacity to clear itself of toxic “amyloid” proteins that collect outside neurons, eventually poisoning them.

The most important previously known Alzheimer gene promoted overproduction of amyloid. The new findings suggest that at least two processes — production of amyloid and its removal — are involved in the disease.

At least 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease. By one estimate, one in seven people aged 72 and older have dementia, with Alzheimer’s the most common form.

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