The Southeast Region History
The South East Region is one of seven regions within the structure of the International Association of Black Professional Fire Fighters (IABPFF) that began in 1970. It has a rich history of being the front- runner in leadership and organization initiatives for the IABPFF.
The region consists of nine states and the District of Columbia:
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
Currently, the SER is enjoying the leadership of Director Brenda Brooks from Orlando, FL 2015 – Present.
The first Regional Director was Samuel S. Wilson from Baltimore, MD, 1970-1972.
List of Southeast Region Directors
- Brenda Brooks, Orlando, FL 2015 – Present
- Lindsey L. Plummer, Miami, FL 2003 – 2015
- Leroy Norwood, Chattanooga, TN 1991 – 2003
- Theodore O. Holmes, Washington, DC 1983 – 1991
- Alphonso Thornton, Baltimore, MD 1977 – 1983
- Freddie L. Brown, Washington, DC 1975 – 1977
- Calvin Brown, Baltimore, MD 1972 – 1975
- Samuel S. Wilson, Baltimore, MD 1970 – 1972
The International Association of Black Professional Fire Fighters (IABPFF) is a fraternal organization within the fire service. The idea of forming an international organization of Black firefighters was first advanced by Vincent Julius and John Ruffins, both members of the Vulcan Society of New York City, Inc., in 1960. It took nine years before a national effort could be mounted, which occurred after the 1968 civil disturbances.
To address the lack of substantial access into the Fire Service, upward mobility opportunities, ineffective efforts in the reduction of fire deaths and property loss, and conversation in the communities of greatest need, it therefore became incumbent upon Black professional firefighters to press for wide-scale nationwide reform.
In September of 1969, Black and minority firefighters 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 and retention of Black youths into the fabric of the fire service
• Fire department’s community relations, practices, and fire prevention programs
Out of this very productive meeting the International Association of Black Professional Fire Fighters was born.
In October of 1970, the first convention of the International Association 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 International Association of Black Professional Fire Fighters was formally organized on October 3, 1970. The five founding organizations were the Phoenix Society of Hartford, CT, Valiants, Inc. of Philadelphia, PA, Vulcan Pioneers of Hudson County, Jersey City, NJ, Vulcan Pioneers of New Jersey, Newark, NJ, and Vulcan Society, Inc., New York City, NY. Individual firefighters from New Haven and a lone firefighter from Springfield, MA joined in with the Phoenix Society, Hartford. On February 28, 1970, it was recommended that an interim governing body be set up and function until the Convention.
The elected officers for the interim governing body were Chairman John B. Stewart, Phoenix Society, Hartford, Co-Chairman David Floyd, Vulcan Society, Inc., New York, Secretary Donald Brown, Valiants, Inc., Philadelphia, Treasurer Nelson Carter Phoenix Society, Hartford, and Corresponding Secretary Howard Rhone, Valiants, Inc., Philadelphia. Our first president, David J. Floyd, a member of the Vulcan Society of New York City, Inc., served in office for ten consecutive years. President Floyd was the principal architect of the organization’s preamble, goals and objectives.
President Floyd designed the IABPFF logo and banner. The following is his explanation of the design:
- COLORS – Red, Black, and Green were the colors used by Marcus Garvey’s Black pride or African movement of the 1930s. The “Red” is for our blood, the “Black” is for our race, and the “Green” is for hope.
- HAND – The Hand was selected because of the number five. The five fingers represent the five founding organizations of the International Association of Black Professional Fire Fighters.
- CLINCHED FIST – Symbolized strength and power when the fingers (organizations) came together.
- OUTLINE OF THE FINGERS – It was strongly felt by the designer that the Almighty had a guiding hand in bringing Black firefighters together from across the nation. The Outline of The Fingers was shaped to form the Arabic word “Allah” which means “GOD.”
- FLAME – Represents the heat that is necessary to take something old (five groups), and forge them into something new (the IABPFF).
Presently, the IABPFF is composed of seven geographical regions:
North East Region (1970):
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New York
- Rhode Island
- Nova Scotia, Canada
South Central Region (1970):
- West Virginia
South East Region (1970):
- District of Columbia
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
North Central Region (1971):
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
South West Region (1972):
- New Mexico
North West Region (1976):
- St. Lucia
We are convinced that the Black communities throughout the world have an abundance of untapped talent to offer the fire service. Conversely, we expect to improve the economic development and employment opportunities for Blacks and other citizens of color. As Black firefighters, it is our challenge to make the fire service more relevant to the needs and aspirations of Blacks and other citizens of color. The IABPFF will work diligently to ensure that Black and minority fire department officials become full partners in the leadership and decision-making arenas of the fire service.
IABPFF Presidential History
1970 – 1980
1980 – 1984
1984 – 1988
ROMEO O. SPAULDING
1988 – 1996
1996 – 1998
THEODORE O. HOLMES
1998 – 2002
JOHNNY J. BREWINGTON
2002 – 2008
JOSEPH B. MUHAMMAD
2008 – 2012
JAMES F. HILL II
2012 – 1016
ADDINGTON C. STEWART
2016 – Present