A King and Three Presidents

When Sen. Hillary Clinton attributed some of Martin Luther King's enduring success to the work of then-President Lyndon Johnson, critics accused her of discounting King's works. It made us wonder, though: What effect did the inspired leader have on presidents Johnson, Eisenhower, and Kennedy? We'll talk to some presidential advisors and a historian about it... What questions do you have for them?

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

The selection of comments by President Bush and Mitt Romney about MLK to open the show was very interesting. President Bush emphasized compassion but not justice and both the President and Romney made no mention of race or African Americans.

Sent by Calvin Freeman | 2:24 PM | 1-21-2008

Odd. Why does Mr. Cohen and NPR focus on three white men instead of Dr. King? The only reason Johnson stepped into the role of passing the then human rights legislation so long due to African peoples had more to due with quelling a tide that would have left every US major urban metropolis razed by fire to the ground than anything to do with humanity towards Africans. What is these gentlemens global record against all peoples of colour? What did Kennedy due against Cuba? What did Eisenhower and Johnson due against Korea and Viet Nam? Please let us not be so naive as their historical roles stands in true testimony of this cabal of white male supremacists' individual records. The mere time from 1865 to 1965 shows how long the train takes to pull into the station. Tell me how long has the train eeen gone and why you didnt have a broading pass nor a ticket to get on for the really difficult ride?

Sent by Mr. K Mjumbe | 2:36 PM | 1-21-2008

Eisenhower refused to say that the Supreme Court was right in ruling that segregated schools were unconstitutional. He would say only that the ruling was the law of the land. His refusal encouraged the Massive Resistance of the South and led to the closing of schools in Virginia.

As I write this, Roger Wilkins is bringing this up. I hope that Eisenhower's role in the South's Massive Resistance will be more widely known. I doubt that the mentioned book about him says anything about this.

Sent by Pearl Johnson | 2:51 PM | 1-21-2008

Potentially, it could have been a very interesting show today. However, Neal did his typical self. First, dissing the woman from Wisconsin who called in about being photographed. Yes, it happened all over American.

But, Neal was not there, and, therefore, it didn't happen. (Neal, you do it repeatedly.)

Second, I am a Democrat. But, Eisenhower was very courageous by sending in the troops, and, in doing so, did more for the nascent civil rights movement than Kennedy did in his early years. Ike realized that Blacks fought for this country in WWII. He, like Truman, realized the injustice. Yes, he was a quiet man, but who said he couldn't work for a bi-partisan solution without making a a media event. (But, somehow, the person on the show, who was selected to talk about Ike's actions, was given a few minutes to present his POV and then was dismissed.)

Ike also commissioned one of the greatest studies (commissions) on what American should do next to develop a great nation. Unfortunately, it is buried . . . by both Republicans and Democrats.

Maybe, Neal should dig deep into US history since the 50's and discuss our recent Presidents actions without his (or others) political lenses. Perhaps, a historical perspective can educate and inform America.

If I had one wish . . . it would be that the Talk of the Nation would not be so time constrained. If there is an interesting discussion, continue it. Apologize to the participants of the next segment and reschedule. You would build credibility than you are an insightful program, not driven by time. I get that on TV every minute, every hour, every day.

Sent by Kate | 8:41 PM | 1-21-2008