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Sources: Melissa Linenberger, 785-532-4392, mwaso@k-state.edu;
and Mark Peterson, 785-670-1737, mark.peterson@washburn.edu
News release prepared by: Katie Mayes, 785-532-6415, kmayes@k-state.edu

Monday, March 30, 2009

AFFIRMATIVE ACTION'S HISTORY AND FUTURE TO BE TOPIC OF K-STATE'S DOROTHY L. THOMPSON CIVIL RIGHTS LECTURE APRIL 2

MANHATTAN -- The life of Arthur Fletcher, assistant secretary of labor in the Nixon administration and known as the father of affirmative action, will be explored at Kansas State University's Dorothy L. Thompson Civil Rights Lecture.

Mark Peterson, associate professor and head of the department of political science at Washburn University, will present "Arthur Fletcher: What Would the Father of Affirmative Action Think of his Child Today?" at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 2, in Hale Library's Hemisphere Room. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Peterson, who primarily teaches American politics, public policy and public administration, had no deep knowledge of the civil rights movement and federal policies on race until he was offered the opportunity in 2003 to interview Fletcher, a Washburn alumnus. The interview produced nearly 11 hours of video and a desire on the part of Peterson to find out more about Fletcher and the lives of his African-American contemporaries following World War II. Peterson's lecture is based on his subsequent research.

The Dorothy L. Thompson Lecture series was established to recognize Thompson's contributions to the field of human rights on campuses throughout Kansas and the nation. Thompson was associated with K-State from 1971 until her death in 1992. During that time she was K-State's director of affirmative action and associate university attorney.