Washburn University highlights civil rights leader, Washburn Alumnus in iRead Selection

Published: Jul. 17, 2020 at 5:39 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Washburn University is highlighting the works of a civil rights leader and Washburn alumnus in its 2020-2021 iRead selection.

Washburn University says its iRead program, coordinated by Mabee Library, encourages a community-wide reading experience, especially among its first-year students. It says the iRead selection for the 2020-2021 school year is “A Terrible Thing to Waste: Arthur Fletcher and the Conundrum of the Black Republican” by David Golland.

WU says during the fall 2020 semester, professors are encouraged to incorporate the book into their curriculum and Mabee Library will host a series of virtual events around the book, culminating in a discussion with Golland.

The school says Arthur Fletcher, an alumnus of Washburn University, is a civil rights leader and widely considered the father of affirmative action. It says Fletcher was the first Black player on the Baltimore Colts NFL team and after his football career, began a life in public service and served as an advisor to several presidents.

WU says as assistant secretary of labor from 1969 - 1971, Fletcher issued the Revised Philidelphia Plan, the foundation for affirmative action programs. It says while serving as executive director of the United Negro College Fund, Fletcher is credited with helping coin the phrase, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”

According to the school, Fletcher served as deputy advisor for Urban Affairs to President Gerald Ford and as chairman of the United States Commission on Civil Rights from 1990 - 1993.

WU says Golland is a professor of history at Governors State University, with a specialization in African American history and civil rights. Golland says he is the author fo two books and numerous essays, including “A Terrible Thing to Waste,” “Constructing Affirmative Action: The Struggle for Equal Employment Opportunity” and “The Arthur Fletcher Papers,” an annotated collection of Fletcher’s personal papers organized in conjunction with Mabee Library.

“The iRead program encourages the entire campus community to think deeply about a shared topic,” said Dr. Alan Bearman, dean of university libraries and the Center for Student Success. “This year’s book is timely and provides opportunities to engage our students across numerous disciplines and classes, as well as learn more about one of our historically significant alumni. We look forward to the discussions and connections made through this experience.”

WU says “A Terrible Thing to Waste: Arthur Fletcher and the Conundrum of the Black Republican” is available for purchase at its Ichabod Shop in the Memorial Union on the Washburn University campus.

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