Eisenhower’s Civil Rights Legacy

ABILENE, Kan. – When civil rights issues are mentioned, most people automatically think of the 1960s. “Eisenhower’s Civil Rights Legacy,” set for Saturday, Sept. 24 at the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum, will be a reminder that the Eisenhower Administration laid the ground work for much of the 1960s movement. The event is scheduled for 2 p.m. in the Visitors Center Auditorium. 

School desegregation and creation of the Civil Rights Commission along with the 1957 and 1960 Civil Rights Bills are key elements of this legacy. The fact of the matter is, the 1957 Civil Rights Bill guaranteeing voting rights was the first civil rights legislation since the Reconstruction Era following the Civil War.

Thurgood Marshall, Jr. and Charles W. Sanders, Jr. will reflect on President Eisenhower’s civil rights legacy in a panel presentation moderated by Anita Specht. A question and answer session will follow.

Marshall is a lawyer and son of the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. He worked in the Clinton White House and is currently a partner at the international law firm Bingham McCutchen, LLP and a principal at its lobbying subsidiary, Bingham Consulting.

Sanders, Kansas State University Assistant Professor of History, has presented numerous civil rights programs at the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum.

Specht is Associate Professor of History and Department of History Chair, Kansas Wesleyan University.

“I believe that the United States must make certain that every citizen who is entitled to vote under the Constitution is given actually that right. I believe also that in sustaining that right we must sustain the power of the Federal judges in whose hands such cases would fall.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower, July 31, 1957, News Conference


This program is part of the 50 year retrospective on the Eisenhower Administration in conjunction with the “Eisenhower: Agent of Change” temporary exhibit, on display through Jan. 29, 2012. To supplement the exhibit, many public programs, including a film series, are scheduled throughout the year. To see the event schedule, visit www.eisenhower.archives.gov or become a fan on Facebook.

These programs and exhibits are only made possible through private donations to the Eisenhower Foundation. Special thanks to the Hall Family Foundation, Emma Balsiger Foundation, Robert M. Beren Foundation, Inc., and Barton P. and Mary D. Cohen Charitable Trust for their generous support of the “Eisenhower: Agent of Change” exhibit. If you would like to learn how you can support programs and exhibits, please contact the Eisenhower Foundation at 785.263.6700.


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