19 firefighters


The Boston Society of Vulcans, founded in 1969, is an organization of African American and Latino firefighters. In 1972, the organization with the help of the NAACP and the Justice Department, sued the Civil Service Commission arguing that Boston’s hiring practices were discriminatory and did not reflect the population of minorities in the city. The court ordered the city to “…hire minorities on a one to one basis until people of color represented 26% of the fire fighting force.”

 The Vulcans continue to work to support firefighters of color and encourage the hiring of more minorities to the Boston Fire Department. When the organization began in 1960, there were only 19 black and Hispanic firefighters in Boston. By 1990, the city employed over  400 firefighters of color.  In 1988, the Vulcans created the Lloyd Phillips Scholarship Fund for college bound students.

Pictured above is the cover and an excerpt from  the Vulcans’ program from the Fourth Annual Lloyd Phillips Scholarship Award Dinner Dance and one of the pages from the inside with some history and their preamble.

Fourth Annual Lloyd Phillips Scholarship Award Dinner Dance, Box 15, Folder 54, Fire Commissioner records records 0500.016, Boston City Archives

Blog post by Monica Haberny, City Archives Outreach Intern