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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

President Eisenhower and the Civil Rights Act of 1960

"If men can develop weapons that are so terrifying as to make the thought of global war include almost a sentence for suicide, you would think that man's intelligence and his comprehension... would include also his ability to find a peaceful solution."
--President Eisenhower
This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society...we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist."
-- excerpt from President Eisenhower's Military industrial complex speech, 1961

Listen up. You probably know that Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was our 34th president from 1953 to 1961, that he was a five-star general, that he served as Supreme Commander of our allied forces in Europe, and as such, was charged with the responsibility of invading France and Germa ny.

You probably know that, as The Prez, he fought with ego-maniacs like General MacArthur and oversaw the cease-fire of the Korean War, messed with the Soviet Union, keeping them from totally conquering everybody and their mommas, and helped develop the highway interstate system, something we take for granted today. In fact, you probably know that this was a Republican who expanded the social security system. But did you know he also played a role in the development and future success of the civil rights movement?

On this day, May 6, President Eisenhower signed the 1960 civil rights act. It was the first civil rights bill approved by Congress since Reconstruction. Though not viewed as particularly important in the civil rights struggle, it nonetheless made an important contribution.

What the 1960 civil rights act did was catapult the issue into the White House. It made civil rights a pivotal issue at the time when both parties were fighting to get the black vote and, at the same time, when southern politicians like the late Senator Strum Thurmond were accusing the federal government of interfering in state affairs.

Here's what "Our White House" said of him:

"Eisenhower was forced to send federal troops to escort the new students to school. Eisenhower also proposed and signed the Civil Rights Act of 1957, which was intended to guarantee the voting rights of all African Americans. This was the first civil rights legislation to pass since Reconstruction. It was followed by the Civil Rights Act of 1960, which was an attempt to further strengthen voting rights by mandating federal inspection of local voter registration polls."

What did the Civil Rights Act of 1960 do?

* It introduced penalties against anybody who obstructed a person's attempt to register to vote or to vote.

* It created a Civil Rights Commission was created to monitor this law and report to the White House. Though some complained this law didn't have any teeth and was just a way of passing the buck, it could be argued that it was probably the most Eisenhower could do. After all, southern politicians held a tremendous amount of power in congress, controlling many of its key committees.

President Eisenhower was a complex character. Though a general, he spoke out against war and the "industrial complex" that used war to make profits off the country's treasury. Though a white guy from a party that coveted apartheid in the South, he also played a role in putting the White House on a path of tackling the issue of apartheid and getting rid of this scourge on the American landscape. Of course it would be up to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and other brave Americans to end southern apartheid and to make "the American dream" more than slogan and a living reality, a struggle that still goes on today. But it's important to remember
that it was President Eisenhower that put it on the White House's agenda and, through The Civil Rights Act of 1960, put the civil rights issue on a path from which it could never turn back.

1. African American registry (
2. Wilkipedia (
3. Our White House: Looking in, Looking Out (


Stimpson said...

To think Eisenhower was in the party of Trent Lott and Jeff Sessions. Weird.

Anonymous said...

Are you going to get back to writing about poetry and music?

MacDaddy said...

Heather: Thanks for becoming a follower of daddyBstrong. We look forward to you coming back and sharing your thoughts with us. Blessings.

MadMike said...

It is weird to think of Ike being in the same party as Lott and Sessions.

SagaciousHillbilly said...

Ike was a true old school republican. Maybe he was one of the last. He believed in working for the common good of all Americans. He was level headed and understood the dangers of extremism.
Ike is my archetype of how a president should look and present himself.
Obama is the closest to that image I've seen since.

Anonymous said...

Industrial Society Destroys Mind and Environment.

Industrial Society is destroying necessary things [Animals, Trees, Air, Water and Land] for making unnecessary things [consumer goods].

"Growth Rate" - "Economy Rate" - "GDP"

These are figures of "Ecocide".
These are figures of "crimes against Nature".
These are figures of "destruction of Ecosystems".
These are figures of "Insanity, Abnormality and Criminality".

The link between Mind and Social / Environmental-Issues.

The fast-paced, consumerist lifestyle of Industrial Society is causing exponential rise in psychological problems besides destroying the environment. All issues are interlinked. Our Minds cannot be peaceful when attention-spans are down to nanoseconds, microseconds and milliseconds. Our Minds cannot be peaceful if we destroy Nature [Animals, Trees, Air, Water and Land].

Destroy the system that has killed all ecosystems.

Chief Seattle of the Indian Tribe had warned the destroyers of ecosystems way back in 1854 :

Only after the last tree has been cut down,
Only after the last river has been poisoned,
Only after the last fish has been caught,
Only then will you realize that you cannot eat money.

To read the complete article please follow any of these links.

Industrial Society Destroys Mind and Environment

Industrial Society Destroys Mind and Environment

Industrial Society Destroys Mind and Environment

Industrial Society Destroys Mind and Environment

Delhi, India

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
XO said...

nice post. that is a major contribution Ike made getting the ball rolling on civil rights

also coining term "military industrial complex" important criticism coming from high ranking military too bad no-one heeded his warning

and now we have "medical industrial complex" and 1000 times the corporate lobbying to go along with it. he would be horrified.

I would like to visit his presidential library one day.

what presidential library(s) do you want to visit?

XO said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MacDaddy said...

Sushi: Don't come on this blog, unless you are going to comment on the specific post presented. I do not want to take action against you for doing this. But if I have to, I will.

Corey said...

OMG ! ! !
When I saw Eisenhower's photo here, I started to get nervous thinking "the daddy done stole my post". I have one scheduled on Eisenhower, where I'm using this exact same photo. But when I started to read, your text is SO DIFFERENT from what I'll be doing, that all I could do was laugh!

Still, this is a VERY FINE and VERY INFORMATIVE post ! ! ! !