The Memphis Fire Department says the last surviving member of the “First Original 12 African-American Firefighters” for the city of Memphis has passed away.
Retired Division Chief Floyd Elbert Newsum, Sr. passed away Sunday at the age of 86.
On July 11, 1955, Newsum, Sr., John Cooper, William Carter, Richard Burns, Robert Crawford, Leroy Johnson, Lawrence Yates, Elza Parsons, George Dumas, Norvell Wallace, Carl Stotts, and Murray Pegues, became the first African American firefighters for the City of Memphis.
They were assigned to Fire Station No. 8, at the corner of E.H. Crump and Mississippi Blvd. According to MFD, they were not allowed to work at any other fire station for many years, though many of the men remained in the department for long-term careers and rose to the highest levels within the department.
Newsum, Sr. retired July 11, 1989.
Visitation and Funeral Services will be held at Mississippi Blvd Christian Church, 70 N. Bellevue Blvd
Visitation is on Thursday, January from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
The funeral will be held Friday, January 18th at 11:00 a.m.
Newsum, Sr. will be buried at Elmwood Cemetery.