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African American Faculty and Senior Staff Oral History Project

About the Project
Interview Transcripts
Audio / Video Excerpts
In Memoriam

James Goodwin Transcript: Former UC Administrator and Founder of the University of California’s Affirmative Action Program—An Oral History of His Life and Achievements [available in The Bancroft Library]

Conducted by Tim Troy in 2008-2010, Regional Oral History Office, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, 2011.

 

Photo of James Goodwin

James Courtland Goodwin was born into a Southern California farm family, his father of mixed Native-American and Euro-American heritage, his mother an African American. Jim likes to note that he grew up speaking Spanish with farmer-worker kids. He subsequently served as a P-51 pilot with the celebrated Tuskegee Airmen in Europe during WW II and returned home to become an outstanding student at UC Berkeley. After law school, he went on to become one of the first African-Americans in the top administrative structure of the University of California. He worked closely with the Kennedy and Johnson administrations – Robert Kennedy, Sargent Shriver, and many others – in the development of the Office of Economic Opportunity, the War on Poverty, and the Peace Corps. In the late 1960s he was asked by UC President Charles Hitch to head the new system-wide Office of Equal Employment Opportunity. Goodwin’s office became the driving force behind the development of affirmative action in the University of California system.

 



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