Synopses & Reviews
From the Kennedy administration through the end of the Reagan era, the Potomac Institute gave vital, behind-the-scenes support to countless public-and-private-sector initiatives related to equal opportunity, urban social problems, and race relations. Part history and part memoir of Harold C. Fleming, the institute’s leader, The Potomac Chronicle tells for the first time how the institute served as a creative broker of talent, ideas, and resources among minorities, activists, and interest groups. Owing to Fleming’s dedication, coolheadedness, and low-key approach, no other such organization was as well linked to—and as trusted by—both government policymakers and southern civil rights leaders.
In the context of major national trends and events, The Potomac Chronicle tells of the institute’s role in the Kennedy administration’s civil rights policy debates, in helping the Defense Department set up what would become model guidelines for civil rights compliance by federal contractors, and in informing, educating, and reassuring Americans about Lyndon Johnson’s Civil Rights Act. Other accomplishments discussed include the institute’s involvement in forming the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, tying civil rights requirements to government programs and private practices in education, housing, and employment, and, in the years before it closed in 1988, helping defend affirmative action.
“Harold Fleming deserves a title that the civil rights movement rarely confers upon white people: a Civil Rights Leader. We all gathered at the Potomac Institute. We argued, debated, planned, and executed . . . and then relaxed and prepared for another day on the battlefield of equal opportunity.”—Vernon E. Jordan
About the Author
Harold C. Fleming directed the Southern Regional Council in Georgia from 1957 to 1961, and led the Potomac Institute as executive vice president and then president, from 1961 to 1987. Fleming died in 1992, leaving this work unfinished. His wife, Virginia Fleming, who completed the book, is retired from a career in public administration and philanthropy. She lives in Mill Valley, California.