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Grandson of Jersey City’s First Black Firefighter Is Breaking His Own Barriers

Grandson of Jersey City’s First Black Firefighter Is Breaking His Own Barriers

He’s blazing his own trail!

The grandson of Jersey City, New Jersey’s first Black firefighter is breaking his own barriers, Black Enterprise reports. 

Dwayne Taylor is a third-generation Jersey City firefighter who most recently broke his own barrier, more than 70 years after his grandfather made history as the first Black man to join the Jersey City Fire Department (JCFD).

In 1950, Thomas Gerald Taylor officially integrated the JCFD, going on to co-found the Vulcan Pioneers of New Jersey, a community based organization made up of minority firefighters from all over northern New Jersey. In addition to his efforts with the civic organization, Taylor also served as president of the Jersey City NAACP and his son, Wayne, went on to serve in the JCFD as well. Now, more than seven decades later, Wayne’s son, Dwayne, is also serving in the JCFD and has recently been promoted to battalion chief, becoming one of just four African American firefighters to reach the ranks.

Mayor Steve Fulop announced the promotions as a part of the administration’s efforts to increase diversity in the department. The mayor believes that the latest round of promotions which include four African Americans and three Hispanic firefighters being promoted to the ranks of captain or battalion chief, “speaks volumes about the progress [JCFD has] made.” 

“It started with my grandfather breaking through boundaries as the first Black firefighter in one of New Jersey’s largest cities, and it continues today with me being promoted to Battalion Chief. It’s something my grandfather likely never imagined would happen 60 years later. I’m grateful for the opportunity to carry on my grandfather’s and father’s legacies by serving this great community,” said Taylor. 

A total of eight firefighters were promoted in the ceremony, making 75% of the city’s new fire captains and battalion chiefs minorities. 

“As we continue to strengthen our department with the best firefighters in the state, we need to include quality leadership throughout our firehouses citywide. Today’s promotions achieve exactly that. These new captains and battalion chiefs have worked hard to get to where they are today, and we appreciate their commitment to serving Jersey City and keeping the community safe,” said Fire Chief Steve McGill. 

Congratulations, Dwayne! Keep making your family proud!

Photo Courtesy of Dwayne Taylor/Facebook/Black Enterprise