Racial Integration in Corporate America, 1940–1990

Racial Integration in Corporate America, 1940–1990

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Jennifer Delton
Cambridge University Press, 11/13/2009
EAN 9780521515092, ISBN10: 0521515092

Hardcover, 320 pages, 22.8 x 15.2 x 2 cm
Language: English

In the space of about thirty years – from 1964 to 1994 – American corporations abandoned racially exclusionary employment policies and embraced some form of affirmative action to diversify their workforces. It was an extraordinary transformation, which most historians attribute to civil rights activists, federal legislation, and labor unions. This is the first book to examine the role of corporations in that transformation. Whereas others emphasize corporate obstruction, this book argues that there were corporate executives and managers who promoted fair employment and equal employment opportunity long before the federal government required it, and who thereby helped prepare the corporate world for racial integration. The book examines the pioneering corporations that experimented with integration in the 1940s and 1950s, as well as corporate responses to the civil rights movement and urban crisis in the 1960s and 1970s and the widespread adoption of affirmative action in the 1980s and 1990s.

Part I. Color-Blind Groundwork, 1940–61
1. The African American struggle for jobs
2. Fair employment is good business
3. Racial liberalism and the mid-twentieth century executive
4. Human relations in management
5. Human relations at International Harvester and Pitney-Bowes
Part II. Color-Conscious Ascendancy, 1961–1990
6. How compliance became voluntarism
7. The National Association of Manufacturers helps out
8. Changing hiring criteria
9. The Du Pont company's affirmative action efforts
from affirmative action to diversity.

"Jennifer Delton has waded boldly into controversial territory with her provocative and important study. Approaching workplace integration from a novel perspective, she breaks new ground, provides much food for thought, and adds considerably to our understanding of civil rights and economics in the twentieth century." - Eric Arnesen, George Washington University "In this thoughtful, well-written, and extensively researched study, Jennifer Delton challenges our preconceptions of the attitudes of business toward race in the twentieth century. Delton uncovers prominent examples of how businesses pioneered integration in the workplace. Through innovative hiring, outreach, and training policies, many corporations were instrumental in helping minorities to break into the middle class long before the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The book is an essential source for those who want to fully understand the history of discrimination, affirmative action, and race in American history." - David Beito, University of Alabama "Racial Integration in Corporate America, 1940-1990 is a courageous book. Delton's startling evidence and astute reasoning uncover corporations' internal goals and methods for workplace integration. Superb history, Delton's balanced yet provocative scholarship explains why business leaders became powerful advocates for diversity as good business, as well as good citizenship." - Pamela W. Laird, University of Colorado Denver