Arlington County’s Fire Station 8 Honored at a Community Gala!
The John M. Langston Citizen’s Association honored the legacy of the 14 brave African-American men who came together in 1918 to start the Halls Hill Volunteer Fire Department. These men and the others who followed in their footsteps to staff what is now Fire Station 8 deserve our thanks and praise. This event was the community’s way of doing just that.
There is a documentary that will be released in the spring to preserve the history and stories. In the meantime, here are a few pics of the crowd.
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The Rev. James Eugene Browne was the assistant pastor of Mount Salvation Baptist Church when Rev. N.R. Richardson was the senior pastor. Rev. Browne and his wife, Hazel initially resided in the Cherrydale community in when they came to Arlington from Texarkana, TX.
Rev. Browne spoke about the racism and influence of the Ku Klux Klan in Cherrydale in the 1930’s in the period when they first came to this area.
The family eventually moved to 2011 North Culpeper Street in the Halls Hill neighborhood. They had two children, Lillian Browne Fernanders and James E. Browne, Jr.
Rev. Browne often told the story of the Halls Hill streets not being paved when they initially moved to the neighborhood. This caused his shoes and pants to be dusty and dirty if he walked to the church. As a result he drove each week, even though Mount Salvation was only a block away.
Rev. Browne led youth groups at Mount Salvation in their activities with the Northern Virginia Baptist Association, taking them on many trips across the state and southeast region for conferences and events. Mrs. Browne was the manager of the Langston elementary school cafeteria for many years, and she also ran the summer playground programs for Arlington Recreation.
Rev. Browne was a former president of the John M. Langston Citizens Association, the neighborhood civic organization on Halls Hill. He was also very active in the Arlington NAACP, serving in leadership roles for many years, including president during the fight for school desegregation in the late 1950’s.
What memories do you have about Rev. and Mrs. Browne from Langston elementary school, Mount Salvation church or just in the neighborhood?