Transcript of interview with David Washington by Claytee D. White, March 18, 2009


Digital ID
Transcript of interview with David Washington by Claytee D. White, March 18, 2009
Material Set
White, Claytee D.
Interview with David Washington conducted by Claytee D. White on March 18, 2009. Washington began his career as a firefighter in 1974. In 2001, he became the first African American fire chief for the City of Las Vegas.
David Washington was the first black to become Fire Chief for the City of Las Vegas Fire Department. He entered the department at a time when the dinner plate used by a black person could be thrown in the garbage so no one else would have to use it. To get to the top, he helped form the Black Firefighters Association to ensure equitable treatment of everyone in the department, where he was instrumental in assisting the placement of the first women. Dave was born in Louisiana but moved with his family to Las Vegas at three years of age. Elementary school was fine and he excelled in his studies, but when the family situation changed, so did his study habits. Before the end of his high school years, he was asked to leave school since his class attendance showed that he didn't want to be there. That was a wake-up call; thus Dave decided to get a GED. He earned it in the same year that he would have completed high school. The next wake-up call occurred while serving in the US Army. He was court-marshaled and found guilty of inciting a riot but had the foresight to request a remedy that allowed an honorable discharge. Because of the GED he was able to enter the fire department and the honorable discharge increased an already-good examination score. This interview follows Dave's career throughout those years on the fire department, the importance of mentorship, his desire to help others and the work of a fire chief set against a backdrop of the Westside, where he was shot in the face with a shotgun as a young man. As a retired city employee, Dave is still very much involved in the community and has goals that include writing several books and working in middle school classrooms to help shape the thinking and decision making skills of young men and women entering young adulthood.
Identified Individuals
Identified Corporate Bodies
Neighborhood City / Town
CT247 .W37 2007
Original Collection
Original Date (interview)
Subject (FAST)
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This material may be protected by copyright. Personal, including educational and academic, use of this material is without restriction; but acknowledgement of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, University Libraries is requested whether the use is oral, web or in print. Commercial use of any portion of this material requires permission. For further information please contact Digital Collections: This document is an oral history. It is a spoken account of certain events and phenomena recorded at one particular moment and filtered through one individual's life experience, sensibility, and memory. As such, it should be considered a primary source rather than a final, verified, or complete narrative of the events it records.
Digital Publisher
University of Nevada Las Vegas
Digital Collection
Master Extent
2396 x 3120 pixels; 8.0 x 10.4 inches; 22,735,728 bytes; 56 images
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24 bit color; 300 ppi

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