Arthur A. Fletcher is named chairman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.
1990 (Feb 23)
President George Bush named Black businessman Arthur A. Fletcher chairman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (CCR). Fletcher, age sixty-five, had served with Bush when the president was U.S. ambassador to the United Nations in 1971. Fletcher was an assistant secretary of labor in the administration of President Richard M. Nixon and deputy assistant for urban affairs for President Gerald R. Ford. In 1978, he lost a contest for mayor of Washington, D.C., to Democrat Marion Barry. Fletcher succeeded William Barclay Allen, who, as chairman of the CCR, had been embroiled in several controversies, even with fellow commissioners. After he delivered a speech in 1989 titled "Blacks? Animals? Homosexuals? What is a Minority?" the commission, by vote of 6-1, condemned Allen's speech as thoughtless, disgusting and unnecessarily inflammatory." Allen and his predecessor, the late Clarence Pendleton, had also drawn the ire of some congresspersons and civil rights leaders for failing to aggressively champion civil rights enforcement. But the appointment of Fletcher drew praises. Benjamin Hooks, Executive director of the NAACP, for example, described Fletcher as a fair-minded, down-the-middle-of-the-road kind of person."