By Lynne Eisaguirre

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In 1969, President Nixon appointed George Shultz as Secretary of Labor, and together they pushed through the first official government affirmative action programthe Philadelphia Plan. Shultz made demands on the segregated Philadelphia construction industry and required more minority hiring and even the setting of percentages or goals. In issuing the so-called Philadelphia Order, Assistant Secretary of Labor Arthur Fletcher said: Equal employment opportunity in these [construction trades] in the Philadelphia area is still far from a reality.

Roosevelt in 1942. , organized by A. Philip Randolph, the president of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. Roosevelt's order barred discrimination against blacks by defense contractors and established the first Fair Employment Practices Committee. Federal compliance programs, however, were routinely understaffed, underfunded, and lacking enforcement authority. After World War II, gains that had been made by women and blacks receded as returning GIs reclaimed their jobs. By 1960, the 10 million workers on the payrolls of the 100 largest defense contractors included few blacks.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Chicano (Americans of Mexican descent) activists, inspired by the slogans of black power, studied Chicano history and constructed a politics demanding voices and places for Mexican Americans in venues of power, as well as pressuring for larger enrollments in colleges, curricular changes, voter registration drives, and so on. In 1969, nearly 600 American Indians, representing more than 50 tribes, took up their own cause in the civil rights renaissance. The Native Americans occupied Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay and issued a Proclamation to the Great White Father and All His People.

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