Clarence Brogden, 86 years old, was born and raised at 21st & Montgomery Sts. in North Philadelphia. His mother was born on an Indian reservation in South Carolina. She came to Philadelphia as a child. His father was born and raised in South Philadelphia.
I spoke with Clarence at the Club Valiants meeting hall in Mount Airy. Shortly after serving in the armed forces during WWII Clarence joined the Philadelphia Fire Department in 1946. He was assigned to Engine 11. In this story he tells us that Engine 11 fireman were beginning to be transferred to formerly all white firehouses.
From 1919 - 1952 Engine 11 and Fireboat 1 were manned by African-American fireman only. Clarence is one of five surviving retirees who worked at Engine 11 before the Philadelphia Fire Department was desegregated in 1952.
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