Katherine Peden, 80, the only woman to serve on the National Advisory Committee on Civil Disorders established in the mid-1960s by President Johnson to investigate civil unrest in Los Angeles and several other American cities, died Sunday at a Lexington, Ky., nursing home after a long illness.
Her work for the 11-member panel that came to be known as the Kerner Commission led her to visit Watts in 1967. When the group's report was released a year later it concluded that the "nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white -- separate and unequal."
The commission urged legislation that would promote racial integration, create jobs and job-training programs and provide housing for those who lived in slums. Johnson rejected the report's findings.
Peden was a broadcasting executive who started her career at a radio station in her hometown of Hopkinsville, Ky., in 1944. Later, she bought her own radio station, WNVL-AM, in Nicholasville, which she ran until 1971.