Mayor Marion Barry yesterday nomimated Anita Bellamy Shelton, 44, a veteran of antipoverty and black women's rights campaigns in Washington, to be the new director of the D.C. Office of Human Rights.
Shelton, whose nomination must be confirmed by the City Council, said she would "mount a double-edged campaign" to eliminate discrimination and increase economic opportunity. "In the District of Columbia," she said, "the correlation between race and poverty is clear."
The human rights director-designate said she also hoped to use the office to encourage an increase in the delivery of public and private resources, including housing to areas in which there are large numbers of unemployed persons, such as Anacostia.
Shelton said the office would also begin a "systematic review" of the affirmative action records of private employers in the hiring and promotion of minorities. Those most likely to be examined first, Barry said, included the restaurant, hotel and real estate industries.
"Under my direction," said Shelton, "the District Office of Human Rights will become a tough and outspoken champion for all who are protected under the law."
Shelton currently is executive director of the National Committee on Household Employment, a group that has worked on behalf of domestic employes and succeeded in getting the city's minimum wage for domestics raised to $3.50-the highest in the nation.
She will replace James W. Baldwin whose administration of the human rights office had been criticized frequently. Barry removed Baldwin Jan. 24. Shelton's salary will be $44,756 a year.
The District has one of the strongest human rights laws in the country. The human rights office, along with the Human Rights Commission, not only examines discrimination in the private sector, but also monitors employment and contracting policies in city government.
Enforcement of the law has been hampered for years, however, because of administrative problems at the agency, which has a 50-person staff and an annual budget of about $1.2 million.
There have been feuds between the office and the commission, large back-logs of unprocessed cases, some of the largest monetary awards made by the commission have been thrown out in court and some gay rights and feminist groups have complained that the commission is insensitive to their concerns.
Barry said he was undertain if A Franklin Anderson, Baldwin's former deputy and the person who has run the agency on an interim basis since Baldwin's removal, would be retained once Shelton takes over. But, the mayor said, he has given Shelton "a great deal of leeway" to reorganize OHR.
Shelton, who lives in the Mount Pleasant section of Northwest Washington, grew up in Englewood, N. J., and obtained a Master of Social Work degree from Howard University in 1959.
In the early 1960s she helped to organize one of the city's first rent strikes at a Girard Street apartment building. She was a director of the Christ Child Settlement House, a staff employe of the Washington and national Urban Leagues and a trainer for the National Council of Negro Women. CAPTION: Picture, Mayor Marion Barry poses with his nominee for Office of Human Rights director, Anita Bellamy Shelton, left, and Ann Kinney, named to head reorganization of the Office of Business and Economic Development. By Douglas Chevalier-The Washington Post