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Black Firefighters and the FDNYThe Struggle for Jobs, Justice, and Equity in New York City$
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David Goldberg

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781469633626

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469633626.001.0001

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From Black Power to Class Action

From Black Power to Class Action

The International Association of Black Professional Firefighters and the Rise of Fire Department Discrimination Litigation

(p.194) Six From Black Power to Class Action
Black Firefighters and the FDNY

David Goldberg

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter focuses on the influence that the Black Power movement and rise of employment discrimination litigation had on the Vulcan Society and Black firefighters across the country. The dialectical relationships between the civil rights and Black Power movements and the Vulcan Society’s old and new guard eventually transformed the organization and its objectives and helped facilitate the IABPFF, a national Black caucus group formed to combat discrimination and increase Black representation in — and community control of — urban fire departments. Both the IABPFF and the Vulcan Society embraced “separatism without separation,” and used their “outsider status within a white-dominated institution,” as well as shifts in employment discrimination case law, to “reveal the inner workings of institutional racism” within the FDNY and urban fire departments more generally. This shift was instrumental in the fight to establish legal remedies to address institutionalized racism and its impact on the racial composition of urban fire departments and became the primary method used by the Vulcan Society and the IABPFF and its local affiliates to make fire departments more representative of and responsive to the people and communities they served

Keywords:   International Association of Black Professional Firefighters (IABPFF), Black Power, David Floyd, International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), Community control, Affirmative action, Reverse discrimination, Colorblind racism, Employment discrimination, Vulcan Society v. Civil Service Commission, et al

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