Philadelphia Women’s History Month All-Stars

All-Star #8: Joyce Craig Lewis

Philadelphia Women’s History Month All-Stars

All-Star #8: Joyce Craig Lewis

Scientists. Activists. Lawyers. Artists. The first computer programmers.

The history books may have neglected some of the incredible Philly women who changed the world over the last 200-plus years—but we have not.

While it shouldn’t take a national observance to put women on our radar, this is one holiday we’re happy to play along with: Every weekday during Women’s History Month, we’re highlighting a local woman whose legacy deserves celebrating—and who continues to inspire us.

Find the full list below—and also check out the incredible women we included in our Black History Month All-Stars roundup—like Marian Anderson, Sadie Alexander and Caroline Still Anderson.


Joyce Craig Lewis


Joyce Craig Lewis



In 2014, Joyce Craig Lewis became the first female firefighter in Philadelphia to die in the line of duty, while trying to save an elderly woman during a house fire in West Oak Lane.

Lewis knew she wanted to be a firefighter from the time she was 5 years old, watching as firefighters passed by her house at Ridge and Midvale in the Northeast.

Lewis served on several engines and ladders for the Philadelphia Fire Department, including Engine 9, Engine 45, Ladder 21, and Engine 64.

The Philadelphia Fire Department and Club Valiants, an association for Black firefighters, paramedics and emergency medical technicians, honored her with a tombstone shaped like a firefighter’s badge.


  • Firefighter Academy, 2004


  • Served as part of Philadelphia’s Fire Department for 11 years.
  • Posthumously promoted to lieutenant.

: At the time of her death, Philadelphia’s Fire Commissioner, Derrick Sawyer said, “I know she was a great firefighter. I know she gave her life protecting the citizens of this city.”


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