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Northeastern University to Preserve the Historical Records of the Boston Society of Vulcans of Massachusetts

Thursday, June 27, 2002
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Archives and Special Collections Department
archives [at] neu.edu
(617) 373-2351
Department: 
Archives and Special Collections

Northeastern University to Preserve the Historical Records of the Boston Society of Vulcans of Massachusetts

Northeastern University Libraries is pleased to announce the acquisition of the historical records of the Boston Society of Vulcans of Massachusetts.

Founded in 1969, the Boston Society of Vulcans was formed mainly to recruit African American and other minorities to the fire service and to ensure the promotion of minorities from within the ranks. At that time, the Boston Fire Department employed 2100 fire fighters, 18 of whom were black and one was Hispanic; the Commonwealth of Massachusetts employed 10,000 fire fighters, only 38 of whom were black. In 1972 the Society, with assistance from the NAACP, Attorney Thomas Mela, and the Justice Department, filed a class action suit against the Civil Service Commission, which resulted in the City of Boston having to hire minorities on a one-to-one basis until people of color represented 26% of the fire fighting force. In 1976 the first class was appointed under the court order, and all appointees were black. The Vulcans also engage in charitable activities, including running a smoke detector program, donating funds to those in need, establishing the Lloyd Phillips Scholarship fund to assist student in the community meet college costs, sponsoring Thanksgiving dinners for senior citizens, and donating food baskets at Christmas.

The collection documents the Vulcans' efforts to increase the number of minority fire fighters in the Boston Fire Department, their fund-raising efforts for community organizations, and their support of minority fire fighters facing legal action. The records include correspondence, memoranda, board minutes, and newspaper clippings. The collection also documents, to a lesser extent, the International Association of Black Professional Fire Fighters and the North East Region of the IABPFF.

Topic: 
Archival Collections