424 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 23 halftones, notes, index
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-3362-6
Published: December 2017
eBook ISBN: 978-1-4696-3363-3
Published: October 2017
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Full of colorful characters and rousing stories drawn from oral histories, discrimination suits, and the archives of the Vulcan Society (the fraternal society of Black firefighters in New York), this book sheds new light on the impact of Black firefighters in the fight for civil rights.
About the Author
David Goldberg is associate professor of African American studies at Wayne State University.
For more information about David Goldberg, visit the Author Page.
"Traces the shifting arguments made by the workers and the politicians who sought to transform an agency that was fiercely opposed to transformation."--Kelefa Sanneh, The New Yorker
“Provides a relentless display of facts, figures, and insights in narrating this black labor resistance to intransigent white supremacy. He does so with an able collection of archival evidence, oral histories, and a survey of secondary literature, all told as a gripping story that includes some memorable individuals and concludes with a qualified upbeat ending--at least for now.”--American Historical Review
“That we can know so much about Black firefighters in one locale—even during early years in which they constituted a literal handful of workers—is both a pleasant surprise and a tribute to the assiduous research of Goldberg in archives and in the mining of oral histories. The textured evidence, in terms of both policy decisions and personal experiences, is deeply impressive and persuasive. The characters that emerge here are compelling in a way all too rare in labor history.”—David Roediger, author of Seizing Freedom
“By documenting Black firefighters’ experiences in the FDNY, Goldberg illustrates how big-city fire departments became key sites in the fight against racial and economic injustice in the twentieth century and were historically important in consolidating ideals of American national identity, including nativism, racism, and political corruption, but also courage, engaged citizenship, and benevolence.”—Clarence Lang, University of Kansas