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Louis R. Harper Jr., first African-American Baltimore Fire Department captain, dies at 89

Louis R. Harper Jr., first African-American Baltimore Fire Department captain, dies at 89

Louis R. Harper Jr., the Baltimore City Fire Department’s first African-American captain, whose landmark 1971 lawsuit forced the city to end discriminatory practices in the hiring and promotion of firefighters and police, died Dec. 8 of symptoms related to dementia in hospice at FutureCare Cherrywood in Reisterstown.

The West Baltimore native was 89.

Captain Harper, a founding member of the Vulcan Blazers Inc., a fraternal organization for black firefighters and paramedics, retired in 1981 after a “lengthy and fruitful tenure” of 25 years, the Fire Department said in a memorial post on social media.

“He was instrumental in paving the way for minorities both in the Fire...

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