Douthard Butler, a long-time instructor in government at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, died on July 10 in Washington, D.C. He was 86 years old.
Dr. Butler enrolled at Prairie View A&M in Texas at age 16. He joined the campus ROTC program and entered the Army after receiving his degree in mathematics. He flew helicopters for the U.S. Army — including a stint in the Vietnam war — and then worked at the Pentagon. Dr. Butler was the author of The Butler Report, a 16-page statistical analysis of a selected segment of the Army’s ofﬁcer evaluation rating system. The ﬁndings of the report revealed startling disparities in the ratings given to White and Black ofﬁcers. These disparate ratings resulted in a pernicious, devastating impact on Black ofﬁcers’ promotions, career-enhancing assignments, selections for advanced military schooling, and, ultimately, and underrepresentation in the leadership of the Army’s ofﬁcer corps. Dr. Butler retired as a colonel in 1985.
Dr. Butler, who held a doctorate in public administration from George Mason University, taught undergraduate courses in government at the university for 20 years. He retired from teaching in December 2020.