Steve's Reviews > A Matter of Justice: Eisenhower and the Beginning of the Civil Rights Revolution

A Matter of Justice by David A. Nichols
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's review
May 16, 2011

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Read in March, 2011

This book attempts to portray President Eisenhower as more complicated than his public image (boring, unengaged), and particularly tries to credit him with much more activism in the civil rights arena. While the author's efforts make a case that Eisenhower was more engaged than is generally thought, he doesn't succeed in his stated aim. True, Eisenhower sent federal troops to Little Rock, Arkansas, when the Governor and the state actively opposed integration of the school system, but legally he had little choice. Even by the author's own standards it appears that the real activist was Ike's Attorney General, Herbert Brownell. While Eisenhower may or may not have supported the Supreme Court's decision in Brown v. Board of Education, his statements that Blacks should be patient and wait for people to get used to the idea of integration are a pretty good indicator of his feelings. This book is a good recap of the civil rights movement in the 1950s, but fails in its attempt to make Eisenhower the activist.

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