Arthur S. Flemming

Name Arthur S. Flemming
Born June 12 1905
Died September 7 1996
Birth Location Kingston, New York

Civil servant, educational administrator and member of the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians (CWRIC). A lifetime Republication and chairman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, Flemming had held numerous governmental positions in areas related to policy on employment, the elderly, and civil rights and had also served as president of three different universities. He was seventy-five years old when President Jimmy Carter appointed him to the CWRIC. He was among the CWRIC commissioners who favored larger reparations payments than the $20,000 that was eventually recommended.

Born in Kingston, New York, into a prominent local family—father Harry was a prominent lawyer, judge and civic leader—Flemming went to Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio, later obtaining a master's degree from American University and a law degree from George Washington University. After a stint as an instructor at American University, and five years as a journalist, he became the director of the new School of Public Affairs at American University. In 1939, he was appointed as a member of the U.S. Civil Service Commission, where he would remain until 1948. During the war years, he also served on the War Manpower Commission and the Advisory Council of the Retraining and Reemployment Administration of the Department of Labor.

In 1948, he left government to become president of his alma mater, Ohio Wesleyan University. He returned to government as director of the Office of Defense Mobilization under President Dwight D. Eisenhower and was later appointed as Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare in Eisenhower's second term. With the election of John F. Kennedy, he left government again to serve as president of the University of Oregon from 1961 to 1968, and of Macalester College from 1968 to 1971. He served two stints on the U.S. Commission on Aging, once in the 1970s appointed by Richard Nixon and later in the 1990s under President Bill Clinton. Appointed to head the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights by President Nixon on 1974, he was dismissed by Ronald Reagan in 1981. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1994, and since 1948, the Arthur S. Flemming Awards have recognized outstanding federal employees.

Authored by Brian Niiya , Densho

For More Information

"Arthur S. Flemming." Institute of Government & Public Affairs, University of Illinois.

"Arthur S. Flemming Award." George Washington University.

Murray, Alice Yang. Historical Memories of the Japanese American Internment and the Struggle for Redress . Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2008.

Last updated Jan. 9, 2024, 4 a.m..