HARRISBURG – Gov. Edward G. Rendell has announced the retirement of Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission Executive Director Homer C. Floyd, who has led the agency since 1970.
“Homer Floyd has seen our commonwealth and our nation through times of tremendous progress in civil rights,” Rendell said. “After having suffered the humiliation and injustice of the Jim Crow era, he vowed to work for change so others didn’t have to suffer.
“We owe him a tremendous debt of gratitude for decades of tireless fighting for equal opportunity for minorities, women and people with disabilities. He leaves behind the legacy of a far more just and fair Pennsylvania.”
Floyd’s career in civil rights enforcement began in the early 1960s in the Midwest after he made his mark as a football player at the University of Kansas, where he was sometimes not allowed to eat in the same restaurants or stay in the same hotels as his white teammates when they traveled.
He came to the commission in February 1970 after serving in similar positions at local and regional civil rights agencies and helping to establish policies and procedures in the newly-formed U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
“We have achieved tremendous civil rights milestones under Homer Floyd’s leadership,” said Stephen A. Glassman, commission chairman. “From landmark sex discrimination cases in the 1970s and 80s that helped level the playing field for women in the workplace, to a $6.4 million settlement in the 1990s that improved access to public services for people with disabilities, the agency’s work under Homer Floyd has upheld the rights and improved the lives of millions of Pennsylvanians.
“In the last decade, the commission issued a precedent-setting race-based predatory lending order; saw resolution of a decades-long court battle over school desegregation; and just last month, fostered a settlement establishing a framework for resolving and preventing bullying and racial harassment in schools.
“Forty years of accomplishments are nearly impossible to summarize,” Glassman said. “But progress under Homer Floyd’s leadership has been substantial, and achieved largely through his tenacious commitment to the goal of protecting the civil rights of all Pennsylvanians.”
Floyd, who lives in Harrisburg, has recently been recognized for lifetime achievements in civil rights and equal opportunity by the EEOC, the Pennsylvania Chapter of the NAACP, the International Association of Official Human Rights Agencies and a number of other civic and professional organizations.