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Back in the Day

March 23, 2015

The Civil Rights Act of 1957 was the first such law since the Reconstruction era that followed the Civil War.  Due to its provisions, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. hoped to register two million voters.

In the autumn of 1957 President Eisenhower sent troops to Little Rock, Arkansas to enforce court-ordered school desegregation.  One of the staunch supporters of the Civil Rights Act also spoke openly in favor of Eisenhower’s action.  He wrote multi-paragraph letters to Southern newspaper editors who had protested the Federal government’s presence in Little Rock.  When people in his own political party complained, he did his best to persuade them.  Although he explained the political advantage they might enjoy by changing to his side, his stance was based on clear moral conviction.  After all, his own children attended an integrated school.

Whenever we hear about this man, we are always reminded of his later disgrace, but in 1957 one of the champions of civil rights was none other than future President Richard M. Nixon.

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