Hard Climb Up The Ladder: The Story of the First Black Fire Chief of A Major New England City

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9781492293484: Hard Climb Up The Ladder: The Story of the First Black Fire Chief of A Major New England City
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When John Stewart joined the Hartford Fire Department in 1952 he was only the seventh African-American firefighter in the department's 150-year history. He made the grand total of $48.50 a week.

Stewart faced deep-seated institutional racism, unofficial but widespread segregation tactics, and resentment. For years he was passed over for promotions despite his sterling service.

Stewart persevered and eventually the promotions came. He became the first black officer in the department, and, in 1980, became Hartford, Connecticut's first African-American fire chief.

Hard Climb up the Ladder chronicles Chief Stewart's determination and eventual success, from his early years through decades of service to his city. In addition to his firefighting career, Stewart became an elected city council official to help the poor and racial minorities of Hartford access city services.

An inspiration to those who know him, Chief John B. Stewart Jr. (ret.) proves hard work and perseverance can overcome bigotry and the status quo.

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Chief John B. Steward Jr. (ret.) lived a life of firsts. He was the first African-American to operate a lathe machine at the Harford Machine Screw Company; one of the first two black cashiers in the New England A&P Supermarket chain; one of the first three black drivers in Hartford's Yellow Cab fleet; the first African-American to become an officer in the Hartford Fire Department; and the first black fire chief in New England's history.

Stewart's path wasn't smooth. Deeply embedded bigotry stood between him and all his achievements. He credits his success to the blessings of family, friends, and the grace of a loving God.

Coauthor Rubin Tendai is an ordained minister of the United Church of Christ. He lives in Silver Spring, Maryland, and Harlem, New York.

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ISBN 10: 1492293482 ISBN 13: 9781492293484
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