On September 24, 1965, President Johnson signed executive order 11246 mandating that federal contractors could not discriminate and must take affirmative action in the employment of minorities. The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) in the Department of Labor (DOL) is the regulatory home of this mandate, which has endured multiple attacks from opponents both within government and without. This volume is a history of the efforts to extend, eliminate, and preserve affirmative action told through the lens of career staff and political actors in and around OFCCP, as framed in the larger political and ideological tides of presidential administrations.

The book begins with the personal histories of the two authors. Both entered their adult years with an orientation toward public service and a deep belief in the promise of equal opportunity and political leadership. The narrative reflects this standpoint. Both authors have long histories working first in staff...

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