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WHEREAS, on July 1, 1950, the City of Richmond hired its first Black firefighters to form the first Black unit in the city; and
WHEREAS, out of more than 500 applicants, 10 men were selected to serve: LT. Charles L. Belle, William E. Brown, Douglas P. Evans, Harvey S. Hicks II, Warren W. Kersey, Bernard C. Lewis, Farrar Lucas, Arthur L. Page, Arthur St. C. John, and Linwood M. Wooldridge; and
WHEREAS, once hired, all of the men were assigned to Engine Company #9, where they remained segregated until 1963; and
WHEREAS, these courageous pioneers created loyalty and dedication to each other and their profession notwithstanding discriminatory practices; and
WHEREAS, Harvey S. Hicks, who was among the first hired, became the City of Richmond’s first Black fire captain in September 1961; and
WHEREAS, on June 14, 1963, Harvey S. Hicks and Douglas P. Evans sacrificed their lives in a rescue attempt; and
WHEREAS, the men of Engine Company #9 were trailblazers and through their courage, perseverance, and resilience, led the way for integration of all of Virginia’s Fire Services; and
WHEREAS, the Commonwealth of Virginia honors and celebrates the City of Richmond and Engine Company #9 in honor of the 75th Anniversary of the first Black firefighters hired to the fire department;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ralph S. Northam, do hereby recognize July 1, 2021 as the 75TH ANNIVERSARY OF ENGINE COMPANY #9 in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.