|Chair of the United States Commission on Civil Rights|
|Preceded by||William B. Allen|
|Succeeded by||Mary Frances Berry|
Arthur Allen Fletcher
December 22, 1924
Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.
|Died||July 12, 2005 (aged 80)|
Washington, D.C., U.S.
|Resting place||Arlington National Cemetery|
|Education||Washburn University (BA)|
La Salle Extension University (JD)
Arthur Allen Fletcher (December 22, 1924 – July 12, 2005) was an American government official, widely referred to as the "father of affirmative action" as he was largely responsible for the Revised Philadelphia Plan.
Life and career
Fletcher moved with his wife, Bernyce, and two youngest children to Pasco, Washington, where he took a job with the Hanford Atomic Energy Project. He also organized a community self-help program in predominantly black East Pasco and landed a seat on the Pasco City Council. In 1968, Fletcher ran for Lieutenant Governor of Washington State and narrowly lost to the incumbent, John Cherberg. Fletcher was the first African American in Washington as well as the West to contest a statewide electoral office. During the campaign, his driver and bodyguard was Ted Bundy, the serial killer who was active in Republican Party politics in the late 1960s through the early 1970s.
Fletcher's close race for Lieutenant Governor got the attention of newly elected President Richard Nixon, who gave Fletcher a job in the incoming administration as Assistant Secretary of Labor. An African American, he served in the Nixon, Ford, Reagan, and George H. W. Bush administrations.
Numbers of his fellow Republicans were often at odds with the affirmative action policies which Fletcher initiated and supported as the chairman from 1990 to 1993 of the United States Commission on Civil Rights.
As head of the United Negro College Fund, Fletcher was rumored to have coined the famous slogan, "A mind is a terrible thing to waste." In point of fact, however, the motto was created by Forest Long, of the advertising agency Young & Rubicam, in partnership with the Ad Council.
- Holley, Joe (July 14, 2005). "Affirmative Action Pioneer Advised GOP Presidents". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on October 11, 2008.
- Mcgann, Chris (July 12, 2005)
- Rule, Ann. The Stranger Beside Me pg. 15. 1980. Penguin Putnam. New York, NY.
- NPR obituary, in RealAudio or for Windows Media Player. Accessed 20 July 2005.
- "Barry Gets 71 Pct. for Mayor of D.C." Youngstown Vindicator, via Google News. Associated Press. November 8, 1978.
- NPR commentary by his granddaughter, KUOW-FM reporter and producer Phyllis Fletcher. Accessed 20 June 2006.
- Presidential adviser Arthur Fletcher, 80, dies, the obituary on MSN. Accessed 20 July 2005.
- Arthur Fletcher Archived 2005-07-15 at the Wayback Machine on HistoryMakers.com. Accessed 20 July 2005.
- The Topeka Capital-Journal
- Seattle Times: Remembering Arthur Fletcher, Father of Affirmative Action (Mike Flynn, Nov. 11, 2018)
- Appearances on C-SPAN
|Party political offices|
| Republican nominee for Mayor of the District of Columbia
William B. Allen
| Chair of the United States Commission on Civil Rights
Mary Frances Berry