A small town author is getting national attention for his new book. David Nichols groundbreaking new book "A Matter of Justice" - about the Eisenhower administration and its record on Civil rights - has created national interest.
Most historians portrayed Eisenhower as, at best, a bystander in the civil rights movement, or at worst, hostile toward the plight of African-Americans. Nichol's book shows that wasn't the case.
"Please understand, I don't make him into a saint. He had his weaknesses. But he did so much more than people have given him credit for."
Historian and author David Nichols of Winfield believes that President Eisenhower deserves more credit for the civil rights revolution.
Nichols is a former professor and academic dean at Southwestern College in Winfield. He loved his job…but history is his forte.
"But I couldn't get past Little Rock! It just didn't fit and Eisenhower's role in it has not been told until my book comes out."
Nichol's book discusses the 1957 desegregation of Little Rock High School. It was here, that Eisenhower in a bold and unusual move sent Federal troops to Arkansas to enforce school integration.
In his research at the Eisenhower Library in Abilene, Nichols found Eisenhower's role, not only in Little Rock, but in the Civil Rights movement itself was little known or appreciated.
Working with Eisenhower's original papers, Nichols has found assumptions about Eisenhower's involvement in civil rights were wrong. Eisenhower, Nichols says, was actually a leader in civil rights and these new found historical documents prove it.
"It's the tip of the iceberg, because he had desegregated the District of Columbia, he had finished desegregating the Armed Forces, he had gotten Civil Rights legislation through just four days before that crises in Little Rock broke out. So, in a sense, this simply confirmed in a very dramatic fashion who he really was in his attitude toward civil rights."
This Winfield historian is certainly being noticed nationally. He wrote a two page article in U.S. News and World Report and will soon have an Op-ed piece in the New York Times.
"I haven't had any better time in my entire life. I'm 68 years old…isn't that a neat thing to be able to say."
David Nichols book is published by Simon and Schuster and is available at your favorite book outlet.