Archive for African American Firefighters Museum

CELEBRATING BLACK HISTORY

Posted in audiobooks, books, life, news, people, updates, working news with tags , , , , , , on February 24, 2016 by Robin Eller

 

Event pic

On February 15th, I had the honor of being a keynote speaker at a Black History Month Celebration -hosted by The Ebony Ladies Of Distinction of the Pasadena Senior Center.  I read excerpts from Our Auntie Rosa: The Family Of Rosa Parks Remembers Her Life and Lessons.  For the first time, the seniors heard the facts told by Rosa Parks’s family about exactly what transpired on that bus in Montgomery, Alabama on December 1st. 1955.  The refusal to give up her seat was just one moment in the life of Rosa Parks. Well into her senior years, Rosa Parks began practicing yoga. She even answered her door wearing yoga pants.  I mentioned in a previous post that my first day of recording this title fell on the 60th Anniversary of that historical day.

Another keynote speaker at the Black History Celebration was (LAFD) Battalion Chief David L. Spence.  Chief Spence is also Interim President of The African American Firefighter Museum.   He read from the book of “The Old Stentorians” and shared with the seniors about the experiences of black firemen during  segregation.  Undoubtedly, the preservation of stories, artifacts and other memorabilia demonstrate the importance of the African American Firefighter Museum.

If you haven’t visited the African American Firefighter Museum, I encourage you to check it out as well.  Tell people who travel to Los Angeles, to put this museum on their list and visit an essential part of the history in Los Angeles. Look for the AAFFM to reinvigorate how it shares these historical moments in time; which will include an audio tour. It is my privilege to be the voice that shares these indelible memories.

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Source: The African American Firefighter Museum

There are many who aren’t educated in the history of African American firefighters.  My Italian friend visiting from Rome had only learned a “brushstroke” of Black American History during early schooling in Italy.  I told her that she wasn’t alone and we had the same problem with limited information taught in American schools.  I found myself repeating these words  “Black History is American History.  It’s much more than a month celebration.”  My intelligent friend understood quickly after showing her the video about the integration of firemen in San Diego (1951).  She also had a quick visit to the AAFFM.  I encourage you to view this informative video and educate others about  The Men Of Station 19.   A powerful statement from one of the pioneers in the video: “When you are fighting a fire and trying to save a life, color means nothing.”  Ben detto! Well said!  To all of the men who rush into burning buildings and save lives, I have the utmost respect for what you do.  Thank you!

Lastly, check out the video that has gone viral and understandably so. The Obamas Dancing With Their 106 Year Old Guest, Virginia McLaurin.  How can one not be touched by the joy and excitement of this woman?!  This is tangible truth that Black History should never die after a month.  It should be celebrated every day along with all history in America.  It hurts to imagine what this woman endured over decades.  At 106 years old, her attitude is heartening: she smiles, laughs, dances and her dream has come true. She said in an interview after her visit to the White House, “I can die smiling now.”  Bless her!! Click on the quote and read her story. It’s worth a full read.

Just as Virginia McLaurin danced so happily with appreciation, I was reminded that on the same date: The Ebony Ladies of Distinction danced so proudly and gracefully; celebrating life, education and culture.  Of course I joined them on the dance floor doing the electric slide! 🙂 I love dancing with people who choose to celebrate life with an open heart and mind. Will you dance with me?

Open mind