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Black firefighters raising funds for museum to share rich history in Indianapolis

The Black Firefighters Association is raising money by selling t-shirts to build a museum next to their headquarters.

INDIANAPOLIS — A Black Firefighters Association fundraiser in Indianapolis starts with t-shirt sales, but it ends with big dreams of owning the property right next door to their headquarters.

Capt. Corey Floyd serves as the recruitment officer for the Indianapolis Fire Department. He is also president of the Black Firefighters Association, which was created back in 1992 to help people of color at IFD fight against injustices and equality. They have members from all over central Indiana, including outside the IFD service area. 

"We started this last year during the social unrest," Floyd said.

Floyd showed 13News the Black History Month t-shirt they are re-ordering after selling out - again. They never expected the shirt to be so popular. BFA originally created the shirt design last year for firefighters to wear and others started buying them for family, friends, and themselves. Words on the t-shirt include "Equality," "Love," and "Dream." 

Credit: WTHR
Black Firefighters Association President Corey Floyd shows off the t-shirt the association is selling to raise money for a museum.

"We are an all-shades organization. We provide for everyone in the community. But we are just proud of who we are, and we are going to embrace our blackness and make sure that the community knows about it," said Floyd. 

Black firefighters in Indianapolis dream about obtaining the property right next door to the Black Firefighters Association headquarters on East 46th Street. It would serve as a museum to house their rich history. Part of the mission of BFA is to educate the public about the roles Blacks play in serving the community as firefighters. 

Obtaining the neighboring property would add to BFA's continued community service. Floyd oversees, for example, their partnership to give away free meals twice a week from their headquarters. They also have a community garden on the property where families can pick up free vegetables. BFA takes pride in being a public servant organization. The museum would help tell their story from years past, along with many historic milestones. 

"A lot of people in the community don't know that Indianapolis was a trailblazer for hiring African Americans," Floyd said.

There are already historic photos, like the one showing Indy's first four Black firefighters back in 1876. They also have photos of IFD's first-ever Black fire chief.

"We are a multicultural organization that reaches out to the community," Floyd said on the organization's YouTube channel.

Credit: WTHR

The Black Firefighters Association not only has its own YouTube channel, but they do outreach on all social media platforms. The members use Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to invite people to follow them and learn more about becoming a firefighter, regardless of your ethnicity. They also hope social media will also boost their museum fundraisers like the t-shirt sales.

"Which we would love everyone to help us to be able to acquire this building for the museum," said Floyd. "We provide for everyone in the community. But we are just proud of who we are, and we are going to embrace our blackness and make sure that the community knows about it as well as provide."

Click here for more information about the Black Firefighters Association, its history and to support their fundraisers.