Interview with Eleanor Holmes Norton

OK, so, now, um, place yourself in 1977, and tell me, as newly appointed chair of EEOC, what was the status of affirmative action and what effects had it brought about in the country?


Well, 1977 was in some ways a high-water mark. A new President who supported affirmative action had just been elected, we had just had a President, two Presidents, a Republican, not of the same party, who had also strongly supported affirmative action, and already we were beginning to see extraordinary changes in the American workplace. Women and minorities, who had always been at the bottom had begin to filter out through the various levels of the workplace. At the same time, there was an awesome challenge awaiting me because the Bakke case was pending in court and I had to decide how to advise the President and how to deal with the Justice Department on what the government's position should be on that ground-breaking case.