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Richard Fairley

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.

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District of Columbia

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Let's do it.

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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

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<a href="">Tape: 1 Slating of Richard Fairley interview</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Richard Fairley lists his favorites</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Richard Fairley describes his parents backgrounds</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Richard Fairley recalls his Washington D.C. neighborhood</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Richard Fairley descibes his brothers and family life</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Richard Fairley details his younger self</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Richard Fairley remembers his elementary school years</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Richard Fairley discusses his childhood extracurricular activities</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Richard Fairley recalls academic challenges in high school and college</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Richard Fairley describes his racially segregated existence in Washington D.C.</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Richard Fairley recalls his years at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Richard Fairley expresses his early love of jazz</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Richard Fairley remembers his community role models</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Richard Fairley talks about Dunbar High School's role in the black community</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Richard Fairley reveals the story behind his admission to Dartmouth College</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Richard Fairley recounts his first experiences at Dartmouth</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Richard Fairley describes the experience of black students at Dartmouth in the 1950s</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Richard Fairley recalls his experiences as a black student at Dartmouth</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Richard Fairley describes the racial composition and culture of Dartmouth</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Richard Fairley outlines what he learned about himself at Darthmouth</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Richard Fairley remembers his college graduation</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Richard Fairley recounts returning to Washington DC to teach</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Richard Fairley describes being the only black cadet in his ROTC training</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Richard Fairley recalls teaching military science as a second lieutenant</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Richard Fairley recalls how he began his career with the government</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Richard Fairley remembers his work for the Office of Civil Defense</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Richard Fairley explains how he became involved in school desegregation</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Richard Fairley provides the historical context of his school desegregation efforts</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Richard Fairley details how he helped achieve school desegregation</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Richard Fairley discusses his work with a Title 1 task force</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Richard Fairley recounts convincing Bear Bryant to desegregate Alabama's football team</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Richard Fairley recalls earning his Masters degree at Stanford</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Richard Fairley gives a synopsis of his career</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Richard Fairley details some of the problems with the school desegregation effort</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Richard Fairley recounts his experiences desegregating schools in Watonka, Alalbama</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Richard Fairley discusses de facto segregation and other contemporary disparities in education</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Richard Fairley shares some of the most important lessons of his career</a>

<a href="">Tape: 6 Richard Fairley explains the negative impact integratioan had upon black educators</a>

<a href="">Tape: 6 Richard Fairley recalls his work as the deputy assistant secretary in charge of higher education</a>

<a href="">Tape: 6 Richard Fairley remembers his job with the University of the District of Columbia</a>

<a href="">Tape: 6 Richard Fairley discusses the importance of historically black colleges and universities</a>

<a href="">Tape: 6 Richard Fairley describes his projects at USAID</a>

<a href="">Tape: 6 Richard Fairley discusses contemporary problems in public education</a>

<a href="">Tape: 7 Richard Fairley recalls his education project with Don King</a>

<a href="">Tape: 7 Richard Fairley discusses his continuing involvement with Dartmouth</a>

<a href="">Tape: 7 Richard Fairley remembers his mother's reaction to his career</a>

<a href="">Tape: 7 Richard Fairley reflects on his career</a>

<a href="">Tape: 7 Richard Fairley discusses the importance of standardized testing in schools</a>

<a href="">Tape: 7 Richard Fairley considers his legacy</a>

<a href="">Tape: 7 Richard Fairley reflects on the impact of Brown v. the Board of Education</a>

<a href="">Tape: 7 Richard Fairley shares his hopes and concerns for the black community</a>