A governor. The world’s first computer programmers. Lawyers, doctors, writers, artists and activists. Philadelphia’s history is full of incredible, history-making women whose stories, unfortunately, are often all but missing from the history books.
It shouldn’t take a dedicated month—Women’s History Month—to recognize the contributions of these heroines. But in honor of the occasion, we scoured history to find several badass Philly women to celebrate for our Women’s History Month All-Stars.
RELATED: A cadre of visionary women are behind Guild House Hotel—a newly opened boutique hotel that celebrates the history residing in our buildings by giving props to the early feminists who initially occupied the property.
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.
FINAL WORDS: 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.”