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Test of Courage



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Diversity Timeline
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timeline 1989-1986


Douglas Wilder (D-Virginia) becomes the nation's first African American elected to state governor.


Congress passes the Americans with Disabilities Act, banning discrimination against people with disabilities.


Thurgood Marshall, the first African American appointed to the Supreme Court, resigns for health reasons. Another African American, Clarence Thomas, is nominated and confirmed, following lengthy hearings that stemmed from sexual harassment accusations against Thomas by former employee Anita Hill.


The first racially based riots in decades erupt in Los Angeles and other cities after police officers are acquitted in the videotaped beating of Rodney King, an African American.


President Clinton pursues his policy of lifting the ban prohibiting gays from serving in the military. Faced with congressional opposition, Clinton announces a "don't ask, don't tell, don't pursue" policy, which falls short of allowing or protecting lesbians and gay men in the military.


Air Force Lt. Col. Eileen M. Collins becomes the first woman pilot of a space shuttle, the Discovery. Marcelite Harris is the first black woman to attain the rank of major general, serving in the U.S. Airforce.


Proposition 209 passes in California, abolishing the state's affirmative action programs in hiring, contracting and educational admissions. Subsequently, similar initiatives have appeared at the city, state and national level.

Sources: American Women's Veterans Association, National Civil Rights Museum, National Women's History Project, Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the Seattle Times, Women in the Fire Service, Inc, Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary and the Encyclopedia Britannica Guide to Black History.

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