• Olena Petrauskas the Institute of History of Ukraine, the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, 4, Mykhailo Hrushevskyi Street, Kyiv, 01001, Ukraine
Keywords: African Americans, Affirmative Action, US racial relations, domestic US policy, social US policy


The article examines the preconditions, the main stages and the process of evolution of Affirmative Action in the United States. Affirmative action is a set of laws, policies, guidelines, and administrative practices intended to correct any form of discrimination. These include government-mandated, government-sanctioned and voluntary private programs that tend to focus on access to education and employment, granting special consideration to historically excluded groups based on race, such as African Americans.

Affirmative Action idea was developed by American intellectuals, public figures and politicians during the twentieth century. The article also analyzes government documents that have become the basis of a new approach to US policy on racial issues. The idea of Affirmative action policies first emerged from debates over non-discrimination policies in the 1940s and during the Civil Rights Movement. These debates led to federal executive orders requiring nondiscrimination in the employment policies of some government agencies and contractors in the 1940s and onward, and to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which prohibited racial discrimination.

So, Affirmative action policy for African Americans in the US arose in the 1960s as a result of the movement of the black people for their rights. To overcome racial problems the United States Government was forced to introduce completely new course which aimed to prohibit discrimination against African Americans.

The article analyzes various approaches to Affirmative action towards African Americans. The complexity, controversy and versatility of racial relationships in the United States led to the active scientific and social debate about such a policy. Opponents of Affirmative action argue that these policies amount to reverse discrimination which entails favoring one group over another basing on racial preference rather than achievement, and many believe that the diversity of current American society suggests that affirmative action policies succeeded and are no longer required. In particular, policies adopting racial quotas or gender quotas have been criticized as a form of reverse discrimination.


Petrauskas, O. (2018). Affirmative Action Policy Towards African Americans in the US: Historical Retrospective. Mìžnarodnì zv’âzki Ukraïni: naukovì pošuki ì znahìdki – The International relations of Ukraine: scientific searches and findings, 27, 247-272 [in Ukrainian].


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How to Cite
Olena Petrauskas. (2018). AFFIRMATIVE ACTION POLICY TOWARDS AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE US: HISTORICAL RETROSPECTIVE. International Relations of Ukraine: Scientific Searches and Findings, (27), 247-272.