On September 11th, The New York Fire Department held tributes and memorials that seemed to be missing a few faces and names.
Leon Smith was one of 12 black firefighters to lose his life that day and his body was never found. Their stories have gone largely untold, and their faces are rarely shown in the photo exhibits or memorial projects dedicated to the fallen firefighters.
The FDNY is made up of mostly White members and 3 percent of the force is Black.
Shortly after 9/11, the Vulcan Society, an organization for New York’s black firefighters, sent out fliers announcing a memorial ceremony for the 12 who had been killed.
Several of the fliers were defaced. Someone wrote “Lick me” on one, and “What about the white guys?” on another.
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