Essay on Affirmative Action in Birmingham, Alabama

1795 Words Dec 25th, 2014 8 Pages
Affirmative Action in Birmingham, Alabama
John R. Melville
Wayland Baptist University
Business Ethics
The Birmingham Fire Department had been plagued with declining employee proficiency and turmoil over the past 4-years from affirmative action issues. A study was conducted to review the historical issues involved with the affirmative action programs that were affecting fire fighters and to develop recommendations for changes. The study determined that racial turmoil was generated within the department because of affirmative action polices that placed hiring and promotion quotas on the department and the ongoing associated legal litigation. The recommended changes from the study are to develop internal anti-discrimination
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Civil rights activist, such as Dr. Martin Luther King, lead demonstrations and boycotted white owned business that supported segregation practices. Segregation was put to rest within the city, but only after the federal government became involved and the Civil Rights Act was enacted in 1964. Affirmative action was introduced to the fire department in 1968 when the first black employee was hired. Other blacks were hired, but only after the NAACP filed a federal lawsuit against the department, city and county. In 1977, Hiring quotas were introduced to the department after a Judge Pointer, of the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of Alabama ruled that the tests were unfair to blacks and that future tests would not be. He ordered that “the test should certify a percentage of blacks equivalent to the percentage of blacks taking the exam” (Hosmer, 1994). The ruling was upheld in appeals court. In 1981 the city and county negotiated a set of agreements with the NAACP and black litigants. The six-year agreement provided that hiring and promotions would be based on percentage by racial division. The fire department was given a short time annual quota that over half of new hires or promotions to lieutenant would be black, and a long-term goal that 28% of the total force would be black. By 1989 27.9% of the total force was black (Hosmer, 1994). The impact of this agreement was many

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