Topeka, Kan. – Washburn University’s iRead program, coordinated by Washburn’s Mabee Library, encourages a community-wide reading experience, particularly among first-year students. 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. During the fall 2020 semester, professors are encouraged to incorporate the book into their curriculum and the Mabee Library will host a series of virtual events around the book, culminating in a discussion with Golland.
Arthur Fletcher, an alumnus of Washburn University, is a civil rights leader and widely considered the father of affirmative action. Fletcher was the first Black player on the Baltimore Colts NFL team. After his football career, Fletcher began a life in public service and served as an advisor to several presidents. As assistant secretary of labor from 1969 - 1971, he issued the Revised Philadelphia Plan, the foundation for affirmative action programs. While serving as executive director of the United Negro College Fund, he is credited with helping coin the phrase, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.” Fletcher served as deputy advisor for Urban Affairs to President Gerald Ford and as chairman of the United States Commission on Civil Rights 1990 - 1993.
Golland is a professor of history at Governors State University, with a specialization in African American history and civil rights. He is the author of 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.”
“A Terrible Thing to Waste: Arthur Fletcher and the Conundrum of the Black Republican” is available for purchase at the Ichabod Shop in the Memorial Union on the Washburn University campus.