Throwback Thursday: Brooklyn’s First Black Firefighter

Thu, Feb 11th, 2016

210 Myrtle Avenue, seen in 1940. Photo Credit: NYPL.

210 Myrtle Avenue, seen in 1940. Photo Credit: NYPL.

This historic photo from 1940 shows the block between Fleet and Hudson along Myrtle Avenue. On this block, a few decades earlier, lived William Nicholson who at the age of 29 in 1898 became the city’s first Black fireman. While breaking the racial glass ceiling could not have been easy, as evidence by his consistent assignment to menial tasks and not being able to respond to fire calls, he endured and ended up retiring from the department and received a pension.

Thank you to Brownstone Detectives for highlighting the story on their blog.

Share this: