The son of a minister and a teacher, Richard “Dick” Fairley was born in Washington, D.C., on July 16, 1933. Fairley earned his B.A. degree from Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, in 1955, and went to the University of Minnesota Graduate School in 1960. Later, Fairley earned his M.A. degree from Stanford University in 1969, and his Ed.D. from the University of Massachusetts in 1974.
Following his graduation from Dartmouth, Fairley went to work as a teacher in the Washington, D.C., public schools. In 1961, Fairley relocated to New York where he served as a lecturer at the Department of Defense Staff College in Brooklyn. In that capacity, Fairley served as an instructor to key government officials from across the United States. In 1964, Fairley joined the staff of the U.S. Department of Education where he held several executive positions. As Deputy Assistant Secretary and Director of Higher Education, Fairley administered thirty-five higher-education programs targeted at 3,400 colleges and universities. Fairley served as executive director to two oversight boards appointed by the President of the United States. As regional director for the Office of Education’s Civil Rights Division, Fairley negotiated the integration of the University of Alabama football team; developed the desegregation plans, later upheld by the Supreme Court, which eliminated de facto segregation in Mississippi; and set the timetable for desegregation in the seventeen southern states. Completing federal service at the Agency for International Development, Fairley served as the executive director of the University Center, where he developed educational linkages between American universities and universities in developing nations.
Fairley was honored by many organizations, including: numerous citations for Outstanding Service from the Department of Education; the Bill Cosby National Leadership Award; the Office of Education’s Equal Opportunity Achievement Award; the National Association of State and Federal Programs Presidential Award; and upon his retirement from federal government, a citation for Outstanding Service from the U.S. Secretary of Education. Fairley served as a fellow at the University of Minnesota, and was named a U.S. Office of Education Fellow and received a National Institute of Public Affairs Award Fellowship. He was also awarded honorary doctorate degrees from Rust and St. Paul Colleges. Fairley facilitated the founding of the National Coalition of Title I Parents; established three scholarship assistance programs for opportunity-deprived students; and created and raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for homework kits given to urban youngsters to assist them in completing homework assignments.
Fairley was a member of many boards, including the Maryland Advisory Council for the U.S. Civil Rights Commission; the International Association for Continuing Education and Training; the Target Store Education Advisory Board; and the National Urban League Education Committee.
Fairley founded and served as president of CRF & Associates, an educational consulting firm.
Fairley and his wife, Charlestine, lived in Annapolis, Maryland. Richard “Dick” Fairley passed away on July 24, 2006 at the age of seventy-three.
District of Columbia
Let's do it.
District of Columbia
Federal education executive Richard Fairley (1933 - 2006 ) worked for the U.S. Department of Education for thirty years, and helped to desegregate Mississippi Public Schools.
District of Columbia Public Schools
Department of Defense Staff College
United States Department of Education
United States Agency for International Development
Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Richard Fairley interview
Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Richard Fairley lists his favorites
Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Richard Fairley describes his parents backgrounds
Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Richard Fairley recalls his Washington D.C. neighborhood
Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Richard Fairley descibes his brothers and family life
Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Richard Fairley details his younger self
Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Richard Fairley remembers his elementary school years
Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Richard Fairley discusses his childhood extracurricular activities
Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Richard Fairley recalls academic challenges in high school and college
Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Richard Fairley describes his racially segregated existence in Washington D.C.
Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Richard Fairley recalls his years at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School
Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Richard Fairley expresses his early love of jazz
Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Richard Fairley remembers his community role models
Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Richard Fairley talks about Dunbar High School's role in the black community
Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Richard Fairley reveals the story behind his admission to Dartmouth College
Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Richard Fairley recounts his first experiences at Dartmouth
Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Richard Fairley describes the experience of black students at Dartmouth in the 1950s
Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Richard Fairley recalls his experiences as a black student at Dartmouth
Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Richard Fairley describes the racial composition and culture of Dartmouth
Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Richard Fairley outlines what he learned about himself at Darthmouth
Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Richard Fairley remembers his college graduation
Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Richard Fairley recounts returning to Washington DC to teach
Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Richard Fairley describes being the only black cadet in his ROTC training
Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Richard Fairley recalls teaching military science as a second lieutenant
Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Richard Fairley recalls how he began his career with the government
Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Richard Fairley remembers his work for the Office of Civil Defense
Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Richard Fairley explains how he became involved in school desegregation
Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Richard Fairley provides the historical context of his school desegregation efforts
Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Richard Fairley details how he helped achieve school desegregation
Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Richard Fairley discusses his work with a Title 1 task force
Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Richard Fairley recounts convincing Bear Bryant to desegregate Alabama's football team
Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Richard Fairley recalls earning his Masters degree at Stanford
Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Richard Fairley gives a synopsis of his career
Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Richard Fairley details some of the problems with the school desegregation effort
Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Richard Fairley recounts his experiences desegregating schools in Watonka, Alalbama
Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Richard Fairley discusses de facto segregation and other contemporary disparities in education
Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Richard Fairley shares some of the most important lessons of his career
Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Richard Fairley explains the negative impact integratioan had upon black educators
Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Richard Fairley recalls his work as the deputy assistant secretary in charge of higher education
Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Richard Fairley remembers his job with the University of the District of Columbia
Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Richard Fairley discusses the importance of historically black colleges and universities
Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Richard Fairley describes his projects at USAID
Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Richard Fairley discusses contemporary problems in public education
Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Richard Fairley recalls his education project with Don King
Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Richard Fairley discusses his continuing involvement with Dartmouth
Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Richard Fairley remembers his mother's reaction to his career
Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Richard Fairley reflects on his career
Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Richard Fairley discusses the importance of standardized testing in schools
Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Richard Fairley considers his legacy
Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Richard Fairley reflects on the impact of Brown v. the Board of Education
Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Richard Fairley shares his hopes and concerns for the black community