SAN FRANCISCO—On Tuesday, July 14, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to rename a portion of Willow Street, between Buchanan and Laguna Streets, in San Francisco’s Fillmore District after Earl Gage Jr., the city’s first Black firefighter.
At the age of 28, Gage was employed by the San Francisco Fire Department in 1955. He was the Department’s only Black firefighter in a total of 12 years. He retired in 1983 and died in 2017 at the age of 90.
The San Francisco Black Firefighters Association’s President, Sherman Tillman, proposed the idea at Gage’s funeral.
The Black Firefighters Association dealt with a three-year delay in renaming the street after Gage. Board of Supervisor Dean Preston helped the proposal regain attention when he assumed office in December 2019. Preston’s office organized a community outreach program in the Fillmore District and received a positive response.
A gathering to celebrate Gage will be hosted on Wednesday, July 15, at 11:30 a.m. by Preston’s staff and the San Francisco Black Firefighters Association.