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Shirley Jean Wilcher

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Information about Shirley Jean Wilcher

Profile image of Shirley Jean Wilcher

Profession

Category:
LawMakers
Occupation(s):
Civil Rights Lawyer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Turquoise
Favorite Food:
Chocolate Cake
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Hawaii
Favorite Quote:
No One Will Save Us But Us.

Birthplace

Born:
7/28/1951
Birth Location:
Erie, Pennsylvania

Profession

Category:
LawMakers
Occupation(s):
Civil Rights Lawyer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Turquoise
Favorite Food:
Chocolate Cake
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Hawaii
Favorite Quote:
No One Will Save Us But Us.

Birthplace

Born:
7/28/1951
Birth Location:
Erie
See how Shirley Jean Wilcher is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Affirmative action specialist Shirley Jean Wilcher was born July 28, 1951, in Erie, Pennsylvania. Raised by her grandmother and her uncle Marcus, Wilcher attended Lane Elementary School and West Junior High School in Akron, Ohio. After moving to Boston, Wilcher attended Patrick T. Campbell Junior High and eventually graduated from Girls Latin High School in 1969. Mt. Holyoke College presented Wilcher with the opportunity to live in Paris, where she was influenced by the work of Franz Fanon. Graduating in 1973 with her B.A. degree in French and philosophy, Wilcher earned her M.A. degree in urban policy and policy analysis from the New School for Social Research in 1976. Wilcher spent 1977 and 1978 with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in New York and San Francisco during the Allen Bakke Case. Wilcher, who would go on to earn certificates in alternate dispute resolution, diversity training, and labor arbitration, was awarded her J.D. degree from Harvard Law School in 1979.

A staff attorney for Proskauer Rose Goetz and Mendelsohn in 1979, Wilcher moved on to serve as staff attorney at the National Women’s Law Center from 1980 to 1985. From 1985 to 1990, Wilcher served as associate counsel for civil rights for the House Committee on Education and Labor investigating civil rights cases at OEO and various government agencies. Wilcher was director for State Relations and general counsel for the National Association for Independent Colleges and Universities from 1990 to 1994. From 1994 to 2001, Wilcher served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor Employment Standards Administration where she won $275 million for women, minorities, people with disabilities, and veterans. From 2001 to 2003, Wilcher was executive director of Americans for a Fair Chance, a consortium of six civil rights legal organizations that was formed to serve as an educational resource and advocate for affirmative action; in 2003, the United States Supreme Court upheld affirmative action. In 2001, Wilcher formed Wilcher Global LLC to help organizations reach diversity goals.

A twenty year veteran of legal affirmative action battles, Wilcher received the NAACP Benjamin Hooks Award, the Keeper of the Flame Award, and the American Association for Affirmative Action’s Rosa Parks Award in 2004.

See how Shirley Jean Wilcher is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Shirley Jean Wilcher's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Shirley Jean Wilcher lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Shirley Jean Wilcher describes her mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Shirley Jean Wilcher describes her family's agricultural background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Shirley Jean Wilcher describes her mother, Jeanne Evans Cheatham
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Shirley Jean Wilcher describes her father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Shirley Jean Wilcher describes her grandfather's insurance business
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Shirley Jean Wilcher describes segregation in Akron, Ohio
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Shirley Jean Wilcher describes her parent's relationship
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Shirley Jean Wilcher describes her paternal grandmother, Viola Wilcher
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Shirley Jean Wilcher describes her likeness to her parents
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Shirley Jean Wilcher describes her early childhood in Akron, Ohio
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Shiley Jean Wilcher remembers moving to Boston, Massachusetts
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Shiley Jean Wilcher describes her hobbies as a young girl
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Shiley Jean Wilcher remembers her experiences with church
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Shiley Jean Wilcher remembers attending Boston's Patrick T. Campbell Junior High School
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Shiley Jean Wilcher describes attending Girls Latin School in Boston, Massachusetts
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Shiley Jean Wilcher recalls growing up during the Civil Rights Movement
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Shiley Jean Wilcher remembers deciding to attend South Hadley's Mount Holyoke College
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Shiley Jean Wilcher remembers the impact of her trip to France
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Shiley Jean Wilcher remembers attending the New School for Social Research in New York City
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Shiley Jean Wilcher explains why she chose to attend Cambridge's Harvard Law School
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Shiley Jean Wilcher reflects on the value of positive reinforcement
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Shiley Jean Wilcher remembers the Black Law Students' Association at Cambridge's Harvard Law School
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Shiley Jean Wilcher remembers planning a third world conference at Cambridge's Harvard Law School
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Shiley Jean Wilcher reflects on the Regents of the University of California vs. Bakke decision
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Shiley Jean Wilcher remembers working for the Center for Law and Social Policy in Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Shiley Jean Wilcher remembers the Reagan Administration's attack on affirmative action
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Shirley Jean Wilcher remembers the House Committee on Education and Labor's efforts to preserve affirmative action
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Shirley Jean Wilcher describes the strategies used to attack affirmative action
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Shirley Jean Wilcher describes working for the House Committee on Education and Labor, pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Shirley Jean Wilcher describes working for the House Committee for Education and Labor, pt. 2
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Shirley Jean Wilcher remembers working at the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Shirley Jean Wilcher remembers working for the Clinton Administration
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Shirley Jean Wilcher recalls memorable compliance reviews, pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Shirley Jean Wilcher recalls memorable compliance reviews, pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Shiley Jean Wilcher describes a discrimination test she used in the banking industry
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Shiley Jean Wilcher defines racism and affirmative action
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Shiley Jean Wilcher reflects on the effects of racism in the African American community
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Shiley Jean Wilcher compares her experience to HistoryMaker Arthur Fletcher
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Shiley Jean Wilcher remembers working for Americans for a Fair Chance
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Shiley Jean Wilcher lists her awards
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Shiley Jean Wilcher remembers the public support for affirmative action in 2003
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Shiley Jean Wilcher reflects on the present and future of affirmative action
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Shiley Jean Wilcher describes her firm, Wilcher Global LLC
  • Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Shiley Jean Wilcher describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Shiley Jean Wilcher reflects upon her life
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Shiley Jean Wilcher describes her legacy
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Shiley Jean Wilcher reflects on her decision not to have children
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Shiley Jean Wilcher recalls her family's support
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Shiley Jean Wilcher offers advice to today's African Americans
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Shiley Jean Wilcher describes how she would like to be remembered