Leaders pushing to create memorial in honor of first African-American Tallahassee firefighter

Posted at 4:51 PM, Sep 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-06 16:51:00-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - We are remembering one of Tallahassee’s great pioneers, Earnest Adams, a retired firefighter of 25 years for the city, who passed away last Tuesday.

Now, leaders in the Capital City are pushing to create a memorial in his honor.

Adams blazed his own trail in 1971 when he joined the Tallahassee Fire Department in 1971 as the first African-American to do so.

"Earnest Adams paved the way for our current leadership, obviously he was a role model to his colleagues, a role model to this community," said Delaitre Hollinger, President of NAACP Tallahassee Branch.

In 1997, after serving 26 years of service, Adams retired as Deputy Chief of Administration, sparking future generations of African-Americans to join the department.

"Through his contributions and those who he was able to pave the way for, that little boys and even little girls who look like me who are able to say 'I can too accomplish that goal,'" said Hollinger.

Adams passed away on August 28 at the age of 74. Now some Tallahassee leaders say a statue should memorialize the pioneer, similar to the statue of Fred Lee Sr., the first African-American police officer for the city.

“I think that type of memorial based on what he contributed to this city would be very appropriate, so that his family and the city have a perpetual memorial of his pioneering efforts to integrate the fire department here in the city of Tallahassee and what he meant to this community in saving lives and properties through his role with the fire department," said Curtis Richardson, Mayor Pro Temp for Tallahassee.

Richardson says he plans to bring the idea of a statue at the next city commission meeting on September 12 to continue to honor the man who broke barriers.

Funeral services for Earnest Adams will be held at 11:00 a.m. Friday at Meridian Woods Church of Christ.