Whereas, we, Black Firefighters, aware of the increasing complexity of problems confronting our Brothers and Sisters in the fire service and within the community, form an organization for the purpose of studying and solving such problems. In order to take our place at the vanguard of our struggle, we hereby dedicate ourselves to the goal of cultivating and maintaining professional competence among active firefighters and other fire service professionals, keeping interest alive among retired members, and to improve the social status of those in the Black community.
In September of 1969, black and 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, the inner city ghettos which are inhabited by our most disadvantaged, neglected and exploited citizens. The 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 were adopted.
The IABPFF is not to be looked upon as a black separatist organization and its chapters are autonomous. Since many unions, locals and city governments failed to institute an affirmative action plan in the testing, recruiting and promotional process areas, it is therefore incumbent upon organized minority fire fighters 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 as well as to reduce the high rate of false fire alarms. 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 IABPFF will insist that black and minority fire department officials become full partners in the leadership and decision making arenas of the fire service.
In 1968 African American firefighters of the St. Louis Fire Dept. (F.I.R.E.) were contacted and made contact with David Floyd and others that were developing the IABPFF. After several phone conversations and some back and forth trips by members of F.I.R.E. and the founding members of the IABPFF, F.I.R.E. joined the IABPFF and in 1972 the South Central Region was born with Joseph Hughes as its first Director at the convention in St. Louis. Brother Hughes was the Director until 1989. He traveled all across the country recruiting members for the IABPFF at this own expense. He recruited early chapters that established the SCR (F.I.R.E., Kansas City, KS., Lexington, KY., New Orleans, LA., Tulsa, OK., Louisville, KY.,) Later he under his watch Houston Dallas St. Worth, Kansas City, MO. and Shreveport, LA.. Brother Hughes was active in his own Department in St. Louis, MO. He was also very active in the hotel business for many years when he left the fire service.
Samuel Aubrey became the South Central Region Director in 1989 and served until 1991. Sam went on to become the Treasurer for the IABPFF and serves in that capacity today.
Jerome Randolph became Director of the Region in 1991 and served until 1995. He was very active in his department in the Kansas City Fire Department where he was the President of his chapter PRIDE. Jerome went on to become a Minister and serves in that capacity now.
Robert Anderson became Director in 1995 and served until 2001. Bob was the chairman of F.I.R.E. of the St. Louis Chapter fir twenty years where Addington Stewart now serves. Bob served the IABPFF and the Region in this capacity until he left. He was responsible for increasing the size of the region.
James F. Hill became the Director of the Region in 2001 where he still serves today. Brother Hill served as the President of the Dallas Chapter for many years and is very instrumental is many of the progresses they have made. Brother Hill served the IABPFF as the Financial Secretary to add more to his plate. The Region continues to increase in size under Brother Hill’s watch.
Addington Stewart began as acting
Regional Director in 2008, the became Regional Director in 2009 and serves
Executive Assistant Director of the South Central Regional Executive Board from
2003 until August 2008.
He is a 30-year member of the Firefighters Institute for Racial Equality (F.I.R.E.),
A member of the Executive Board of F.I.R.E. since 1988, Vice Chairman of F.I.R.E.
1995 – 2003, Chairman of F.I.R.E. 2003 – 2009. 30-year veteran of the St. Louis
Fire Department and is currently a Captain at the St. Louis Lambert
International Airport. Graduate of the Carl Holmes Executive Development
Institute (EDI) in 1999 He is currently an Instructor at EDI since 2000 until
DIVERSITY IS STRENGTH!!!
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