Plaques Honoring Black Chicago Firefighters to Be Replaced

Black firefighters who sought the Chicago Fire Department’s replacement of two large plaques created to pay tribute to their  legacy achieved their goal after five years of trying, reports The Chicago Sun-Times.

“We’ve communicated over the years with several fire commissioners, asking for the replacement of these plaques,” said the group’s executive director, Leslie Outerbridge, 78, at a news conference.

Assistant Deputy Fire Cmdr. Mark Nielsen, who attended the news conference, said while he couldn’t speak for past commissioners, it had just been miscommunication with the current administration.

“The commissioner’s office has been moving on this,” spokesman Larry Langford said afterward. “We had actually moved to get three replacement plaques. There was a little bit of a delay, but the plaques are being finished now. We’re planning a ceremony to install them, along with a celebration of their standing.”

Since 2008, the group the Committee to Preserve the History of Chicago’s Black Firefighters has been asking the department to replace two of three plaques created after the City Council passed a March 6, 1996 resolution which recognized the contributions of black firefighters. The plaques each cost about $500, Outerbridge said.

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