In 2009, Gov. Steve Beshear appointed three African-Americans to fill judicial vacancies in Jefferson County.
In a county with the largest African-American population in the state, these appointments helped the Jefferson judiciary as a whole better reflect the diversity of the community it serves.
Unfortunately, the commitment to diversity Beshear displayed with those judicial appointments was sorely missing when he made three appointments to the University of Louisville Board of Trustees in June.
Since U of L became a state institution in 1970, the board has always had at least one black member. No longer, though.
Beshear named Paul Diaz, executive vice chairman of Kindred Healthcare Inc., to replace the Rev. Kevin Cosby, who had been the only African-American board member.
Beshear also appointed state Economic Development Secretary Larry Hayes to the board and reappointed Dr. Laurence Benz. Both men are white.
True, as a first-generation Cuban-American, Diaz does bring some diversity to the board. But U of L is an urban university serving an urban area with a significant African-American population that has long supported the school.
Now, for the first time since 1970, that population will have no representation on the U of L board.
What an incredible affront from a governor who has enjoyed strong support from African-American voters.
And the fact that he has appointed blacks in the past does not diminish the need for representative voices on the board now.
Raoul Cunningham, president of the Louisville chapter of the NAACP, was quoted by The Courier-Journal as saying, "When I look at the vote totals that (Beshear) got out of the African-American community, I don't see how the hell he could even think of (not appointing an African-American)."
It does boggle the mind that the governor who appointed those three African-American judges in 2009 would want to leave this stain on his legacy as he prepares to leave office.