Affirmative action is described as the term meant taking appropriate steps to eradicate the then widespread practices of racial, religious, and ethnic discrimination. The history of affirmative action starts a long time before this definition was stated during the early 1960’s. It starts back to the Declaration of Independence where it states all men are created equal. It moves toward the Emancipation Proclamation, the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments which involved the freeing of slaves, abolishing slavery, conferred citizenship on all persons born in the United States, and guaranteeing voting rights to all citizens. There were also many court cases that helped move forth into affirmative action. A few examples would be Buchanan v. Warley, Plessy v. Ferguson, and Brown v. Board of Education. The latter court case was a real firestorm over affirmative action, which ruled that all local, state, and federal laws that enforced segregation in education was striked down.
President John F. Kennedy first used the phrase “Affirmative Action” when he issued Executive Order 10952. This order created the Equal Opportunity Commission or the EEOC and contractors on projects financed with federal funds to “take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed, ant employees are treated during their employment without regard to race, creed, color, or national origin.” President Kennedy also pushed for more legislation but was not alive to see it go through.
Proceeding Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson took over the fight and pushed for the passing of Civil Rights Act of 1964, which barred discrimination in the variety of private and public settings. It included prohibiting discrimination in private facilities, outlawed discrimination in federally-funded-programs, and prohibited discrimination by both private and public employers and so forth. Still under Johnson’s control, the Executive Order 11246, placed the responsibility for affirmative action enforcement with the Department of Labor. This lead to the OFCCP, which is the Department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Program, which made Affirmative Action stronger in for contractors and made them submit affirmative action plans. LBJ did much for affirmative action programs and did not receive direct assault until 30 years later by more recent politicians.
Nixon took over and helped affirmative action by producing the Philadelphia Plan and supporting the Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972, which extended EEOC’s jurisdiction. Nixon’s support was short-lived to receive votes and then turned his back to all.
Moving forward to Regan’s Long legacy of trouble he made a strong oppression to affirmative action in the early eighties to receive more votes from “an increasing amount of insecure white middle class voters.” He had an enormous negative impact on affirmative action by cutting funds to the OFCCP and EEOC and to repel some to the acts that had been passed prior. He was a on a constant attack to affirmative action falsely labeling related programs as “racial quotas” and “reverse discrimination.” President Bush was not help with affirmative action, staying very quiet about it and trying to stay out of the fight fore new laws.
When Clinton came to office he was a hope for the civil rights community by his cabinet including four blacks, three women and two Hispanic men. He also had more women and minorities in his executive appointments that any other president. In 1995 he delivered a speech at the National Archives that announced a five-month review of affirmative action. The newest let down to affirmative action is proposition 209 that was proposed in California that ended affirmative action to all state programs. People are saying that this Proposition will be felt everywhere. In conclusion, Secretary of Labor Elizabeth Dole stated, “Despite the growing awareness among corporate leadership of the bottom-line value and economic imperative of including minorities and women in senior corporate management progress has been disappointingly show, and barriers persist which stop able people from achieving their full employment potential.”
Cozic, Charles P. Civil Liberties Opposing Viewpoints. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, Inc.
Kluegel, James R. Beliefs About Inequality Americans’ Views of what is and What Ought toBe. New York: Aldine De Gryter.
“Time Line of Affirmative Action”. Americans United for Affirmative Action.cited 1997. Available from http://www.auaa.org/timeline/ 1997