It's Black History Month all over the United States, so today we'd like to honor and remember a civil rights icon who got his big break as a Pasco City councilman.

Dr. Arthur Allen Fletcher was politically active in Kansas and California but it was his move to the Tri-Cities that changed his life, and the lives of countless others, forever. Fletcher is considered by many to be "the father of affirmative action," and his beliefs helped influence great American leaders, including several United States presidents. His efforts on the Revised Philadelphia Plan, requiring government contractors to hire minorities, made it the first piece of affirmative action legislature passed in the country.

Dr. Fletcher was the preferred choice by then-Washington Governor Dan J. Evans to be Lt. Governor, but it was a narrow defeat. Evans then hired Dr. Fletcher as a special assistant, saying "There were just a lot of closed doors at that time and he was determined to open them." Dr. Fletcher's work in Washington State demanded the attention of Washington D.C. and it wasn't long before President Nixon came calling.

Dr. Fletcher worked with Presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan, and George H. W. Bush. Dr. Fletcher's greatest personal achievement may have been as the head of UNCF (The United Negro College Fund), where he had been credited by many for coining the UNCF's slogan "A mind is a terrible thing to waste." Officially, however, the slogan was created by Forest Long of Young & Rubicam, an advertising agency.

A Bunch of Amazing Celebrities You Know & Love are From Washington

Washington's A-listers, Oscar winners, Grammy winners, and faces of big franchises in one comprehensive list.

These are celebrities that have been born in, moved to, or lived in Washington.


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