ORGANIZED: Organized in Hartford, Connecticut, October 3, 1970.

FOUNDING ORGANIZATIONS:Vulcan Society Inc., New York, N.Y., Phoenix Society Inc., Hartford, Connecticut, Vulcan Pioneers of New Jersey Inc., Newark, N.J., Vulcan Pioneers of Hudson County Inc., Jersey City, N.J., Valiants Inc., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

MEMBER ORGANIZATIONS:The 2008 Membership of the l.A.B.P.F.F. is comprised of 90 Chapters and represents 5100 fire service personnel and a 200 Lifetime Members.

NOTE: In September of 1969, black Fire Fighters of all ranks from municipalities across the United States met in New York City for two days of discussion on the injustices that exist in the following categories: The recruitment of black youth into the fire service, firefighters-community relations with special emphasis on relations with the residents of neighborhoods inhabited by blacks, inter-group relations and practices in fire departments, and the need to improve fire prevention programs in the areas of greatest need. That meeting was very productive and out of it was born the International Association of Black Professional Fire Fighters. In October of 1970 the first convention of Black Professional Fire Fighters was held in Hartford, Connecticut. The constitution and the proposed structure of the International Association of Black Professional Fire Fighters was adopted. To address the lack of substantial access into the Fire Service and upward mobility opportunities, it became therefore incumbent upon our membership to press for wide-scale reforms. And in the course of dealing with these problems, we expect to reduce the number of fire deaths and property loss in our respective communities and society as whole. We are convinced that the black community has an abundance of untapped talent to offer the fire service. Conversely, we expect to improve the economic development and employment opportunities for minorities. As black fire fighters, it is our challenge to make the fire service more relevant to the needs and aspirations of minority citizens. The I.A.B.P.F.F. will ensure that black and minority fire department officials become full partners in the leadership and decision-making arenas of the fire service.

Click HERE to read more history on how Captain David J. Floyd became the first President of our organization.


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Black Smoke Black Skin Video

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Points of History Worth Noting

One of the oldest Black Firefighters companies in the country
  • The oldest documents identifying government sanctioned African American firefighters were found in New Orleans, Louisiana. A devastating fire in July 1817 led the governing body to organize its people to avoid another conflagration. All draymen and their equipment as well as individual free men of color and slaves were recruited.
  • The first woman firefighter was an African American.  Molly Williams worked along side the men of the Oceanus Volunteer Fire Company No. 1 of New York City in 1818.
  • Patrick H. Raymond was appointed on January 5, 1871 as the first African American Fire Chief in the United States (Cambridge, MA).
  • Robert O. Lowery was=2 0the first African American Fire Commissioner of a major U.S. city.  He was the Fire Department of New York’s 21st Fire Commissioner, serving from January 1, 1966 until September 29, 1973.
  • Toni McIntosh of the Pittsburgh (PA) Bureau of Fire was the first African-American woman to become a career firefighter in June of 1976.
  • The first African American United States Fire Administrator, Carrye B. Brown, was appointed in 1994.
  • The first African American woman appointed as Fire Chief for a career fire department was Chief Rosemary Cloud with the East Point (GA) Fire Department in 2002.

African American Firefighters Historical Society