Washington State Board Against Discrimination is created in 1949.

  • By Mary T. Henry
  • Posted 4/22/1999
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 1044

In 1949, the Washington State Legislature creates the Washington State Board Against Discrimination to encourage compliance with the Fair Employment Practices Act.

The first African American board member is the Reverend Fountain Penick, a former president of the NAACP, who is appointed the same year. In the 1950s black community leaders Ola Browning, Roberta Byrd (Barr) (1919-1993), and Calvin Johnson are appointed to the board.

In 1951, Andrew Brimmer, graduate student at the University of Washington in Economics and a future member of the Federal Reserve Board, in his master's thesis describes the WSBAD as administratively weak and underfunded. He states that the Board's claim that discrimination in employment is reduced, is unfounded.

In 1951, Sidney Gerber, a wealthy, retired businessman dedicated to civil rights, is appointed chair of the board. Gerber also finds WSBAD underfunded.


Quintard Taylor, The Forging of a Black Community: Seattle's Central District from 1870 through the Civil Rights Era (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1994), pp. 168, 182, 183, 184, 186, 187.

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