The concept of "diversity" as a positive good is now a commonplace in academia and beyond. But where did this "idea" come from? My assumption has always been that it derives from the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Bakke, a case challenging affirmative action for African-Americans at the medical school at the University of Calfornia, Davis. In the key opinion, written by Justice Lewis Powell (a successful lawyer from the heart of the old South, Richmond, before Nixon appointed him to the Court), the Court rejected the many sensible rationales for affirmative action policies (and "quotas" in particular): e.g., compensatory justice, counteracting continuing discrimination (absent a record that had to meet a rather high evidentiary bar). Instead, Justice Powell opined that "diversity" is a factor universities could rightly consider in admitting students, since that (purportedly) had some independent academic value (though not one to be realized by a "quota").
My question for readers, especially those older than I, is whether "diversity" as a concept with a positive valence has a history that pre-dates Bakke, or whether Bakke is really the key to understanding how "diversity" became such a pervasive concept and mantra in America?