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Black FF's given posthumous membership

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  • Black FF's given posthumous membership

    ADAMSTOWN, Md. (AP) - Three black men asked to resign from the
    Carroll Manor Fire Co. nearly 50 years ago because of their race
    are now honorary members.
    George Bowins, Royal Lawson Sr. and Roger Whalen were reinstated
    as members during the company's golden anniversary celebration on
    Sunday.
    "We talked about the good and the bad from when the company was
    getting organized. Everyone just decided we wanted to make things
    right," Fire Chief Ed Johnson said after the ceremony.
    Bowins' and Lawson's children accepted plaques on behalf of
    their fathers, as an audience of about 200 gave a standing ovation.
    Whalen's descendants were unable to attend the ceremony.
    Johnson said he learned last year how the three had been treated
    as he and others read through the fire company's minutes dating
    back to its early meetings in October 1953.
    At the time, firefighters were required to be property owners
    and 18 to 65 years old, all requirements that the three black men
    met, Johnson said.
    But in July 1954, the Frederick County Firemen's Association
    said that all members must be white. And so, the three black
    members of the Carroll Manor Fire Co. were asked to resign. Austin
    Renn, a white member of the fire company, resigned in protest.
    Ironically, the resignations occurred two months after the U.S.
    Supreme Court struck down public school segregation in the landmark
    Brown vs. Board of Education case.
    At Sunday's ceremony, Royal Lawson Jr. accepted the membership
    plaque on behalf of his father, and Rae Bowins-Woods attended in
    honor of her father.
    "I'm sure my father would have been proud and honored by this
    plaque, and I'm sure he would have been a great asset to this
    firehouse," Bowins-Woods said after the ceremony. "It's better
    late than never."

    (Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
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    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

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