The AAFFM opened it’s doors as a Museum on December 13, 1997. The dedication of the Museum also served as the acknowledgement of what was believed to be the city’s first 100 years of service by African American Firefighters (1897-1997). In 2002, the Los Angeles Times contacted the AAFFM and stated they had discovered factual information to indicate the history started before 1897 with a man named Sam Haskins, who was listed as the first Los Angeles Fireman of African decent when he was hired in 1892 and killed while responding to a fire in 1895.
Today the AAFFM stands as the first and so far the only free standing African American Firefighter Museum in the United States. The first floor contains vintage fire apparatus, stories and pictures of pioneering African American Los Angeles Firefighters. The Museum gallery is located on the second floor with pictures, artifacts and other memorabilia of African American Firefighters from around the country. There is a memorial moving tribute to the firefighters that perished during the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center in New York City.
Today the Museum is open to the public and is strictly volunteer and donation driven. It is a 501 c(3) non-profit organization and it is available for use by organizations and individuals that desire to host events such as; meetings, luncheons, dinners, banquets, book signings, film viewings, jazz festivals, social dances, receptions and retreats. Our beloved historian, 96 year old retired Firefighter Arnett Hartsfield, who passed away in 2014 was our most cherished volunteer. As a Los Angeles Firefighter during the 1940s and 50’s he lead the integration of the Los Angeles Fire Department. As a graduate of USC law school, he and his fellow firemen known as the Stentorians, the NAACP and the local community were instrumental in successfully integrating the LAFD. The stories of the men that endured that horrific fight are told by the museum’s photographs, paintings, and artifacts.
The history of the Los Angeles African American Firefighters has been captured on a two part DVD series entitled “Engine Company X”. It is available at the Museum. Since the Museum doors opened in 1997 visitors from across the world have been educated about the heritage of African American Firefighters by visiting the museum. For more information about the AAFFM, please visit us on the web at www.aaffmuseum.org or call us at (213) 744-1730