I Like Ike’s Birthday
Dwight D. Eisenhower was born in Denison, Texas on October 14, 1890. Ike, as the Eisenhower boys were called, was the third of seven sons. Ike’s family moved to Abilene, Kansas, and the years he spent in the town were among the most important of his life.
Ike relished the history of the Wild West and of ancient times. He named Hannibal, Caesar, Pericles, and Socrates as among his boyhood heroes, competing with cowboys and lawmen for his admiration. Ike’s devotion to the study of the past sometimes came at the expense of other homework and chores and once led his mother to lock up his history books as punishment for neglecting his childhood duties.
Eisenhower excelled at sports - baseball and football in particular, but he also boxed, fished, trapped, hunted, camped, and played poker - the latter learned at the hand of an eccentric outdoorsman and adventurer who taught him how to compute percentages and figure odds, invaluable skills for the future military and political leader.
Ike’s poker skills were enhanced by his powers of observation, some of which were recorded in the margins of his school books, where he rated his teachers as “good” or “cross.” Eisenhower continued his habit of writing character assessments throughout his military and political careers. Historians rate his personnel decisions in the Army and politics as among his greatest skills.
Other important character traits emerged in the Abilene years. Ike attended integrated schools, but when some of his football teammates refused to line up opposite a visiting African American player, Eisenhower volunteered for the position, and shook the player’s hand after the game.
To help bring money into the household, Ike baked and sold tamales; grew and sold sweet corn and cucumbers; harvested wheat, picked apples, and hammered out steel grain bins. He joined the Belle Springs Creamery after graduating high school in 1909, toiling as a fireman from 6:00 p.m. to 6 a.m. seven days a week. With his creamery proceeds he supported his brother Edgar through two years of college at the University of Michigan. The plan was for Edgar to work the next two years for Ike’s schooling. Instead Ike won an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, and left the creamery and Abilene in 1911.
Dwight David Eisenhower was born the year the US census pronounced the frontier closed and died the year man walked on the moon. In between those milestones he planned and led the greatest amphibious military assault in history and served two terms as President. Yet on reflection of this eventful life he declared: “The proudest thing I can claim is that I am from Abilene.”
Happy birthday Ike!
-from the Eisenhower Library
"On September 4, 1957, Elizabeth Eckford walked to this door for her first day of school, utterly alone. She was turned away by people who were afraid of change, instructed by ignorance, hating what they simply could not understand. And America saw her, haunted and taunted for the simple color of skin, and in the image caught a very disturbing glimpse of ourselves."
-President William J. Clinton in his remarks at the 40th anniversary of the desegregation of Central High School. September 25, 1997.
In these photos, President Clinton holds open the doors of Little Rock Central High School for Elizabeth Eckford, one of the Little Rock Nine. The picture below shows 15-year-old Elizabeth Eckford on the first day that she tried to attend Central High School.
On November 9, 1999, at the White House, President Clinton awarded the Little Rock Nine the Congressional Gold Medal.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower Orders Federal Troops into Little Rock to Insure the Safety of Nine African American Students
Today in history, after state and local authorities failed to uphold the Federal Court orders for integration at Central High School, President Eisenhower sent the 101st Airborne Division to enforce those orders.
The conflict dated back to the May 17, 1954, U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Brown vs. Topeka Board of Education, which stated segregated schools are “inherently unequal.” In September 1957, as a result of that ruling, nine African American students enrolled at Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Before the school year started, Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus ordered the state’s National Guard to surround Central High School to prevent entry of the African American students. The crisis escalated into mob riots, prompting a plea from the Mayor of Little Rock, Woodrow Wilson Mann, for federal assistance in the confrontation.
Eisenhower wrote in his notes from the day: “Troops - not to enforce integration but to prevent opposition by violence” to the Supreme Court’s ruling.
Students, soldiers, and newsmen in front of Central High School. Circa September, 1957. Courtesy of the Central High Museum Historical Collections.
President Eisenhower’s special broadcast on the Little Rock situation. September 24, 1957.
Telegram, Woodrow Wilson Mann to President Eisenhower, September 24, 1957.
Handwritten notes by President Eisenhower on decision to send troops to Little Rock, September 1957.
Today is the anniversary of the 1964 Nurse Training Act — There was a severe shortage of nurses in the early 1960s, and the Act created new training and financial aid opportunities for nursing students.
To commemorate the anniversary, the LBJ Presidential Library is offering free admission all month for nurses and nursing students.
LBJ Signs the Nurse Training Act — This Week in 1964
For all they do for us, the LBJ Library is offering free admission throughout September for nurses and nursing students, in honor of the anniversary of the 1964 Nurse Training Act, signed on Sept. 4, 1964.
Photo # A4357-7, 06/24/1967. First Grandchild of President & Mrs. Lyndon B. Johnson, Partick Lyndon Nugent, born June 21, 1967.
-from the LBJ Library
Today in 1964 — The bodies of three missing civil rights workers in Mississippi are found.
In the summer of 1964, James Earl Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner set out for the Mississippi Freedom Summer. They were among almost 1000 students who had signed up to further civil rights in Mississippi through community programs and voter registration.
In anticipation of hostile working conditions, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee for the Freedom Summer project had requested federal assistance in early June to protect the civil rights workers and enforce their rights. A June 10 letter to LBJ stated:
"The record is full of intimidations, arrests, beatings, shootings, and even murder, inflicted upon Negro and white citizens. It is clear beyond doubt that they cannot depend upon the State of Mississippi for protection."
Less than two weeks later, Lee White, LBJ’s aide, received a phone call informing him of the disappearance of three civil rights workers in Mississippi. The next day he wrote the memo shown above.
The remains of Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner were found on August 4, 1964. LBJ was at the White House, working on the passage of the poverty bill. His day was first interrupted by reports of a new attack in the Gulf of Tonkin.
During a Security Council meeting, the President received a call from Assistant FBI Director, Cartha “Deke” Deloach, informing him that the bodies, missing since June, had been found.
-from the LBJ Library
Memo to the Record, Lee White, 6/23/64, “Mississippi Summer Project Voter Registration,” Office Files of Lee White, Box 6, LBJ Library.
Memo, Alexander to White, 6/10/64, “Mississippi Summer Project Voter Registration,” Office Files of Lee White, Box 6, LBJ Library.
Forty-two years ago, President Richard Nixon signed the Education Amendments of 1972, which has come to be known as Title IX. The amendment did not specifically mention sports, but it’s far-reaching impact is widely credited for opening up opportunities for women in athletics.
Images from: An Act of June 23, 1972, Public Law 92-318, 86 STAT 235, to Amend the Higher Education Act of 1965, the Vocational Educational Act of 1963, the General Education Provisions Act (Creating a National Foundation for Postsecondary Education and a National Institute of Education), the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, Public Law 874, Eighty-First Congress, and Related Acts, and for Other Purposes, 6/23/1972.
June 23, 1972: Title IX is Signed into Law
On this day in 1972, President Richard Nixon signed Title IX of the Education Amendments into law. Title IX protects people from discrimination based on sex in all education programs or activities which receive federal funding. One of the most notable impacts of Title IX is the implementation of women sports in schools. As a result, there are more women participating in sports than ever before.
In 2002, Title IX was renamed the Patsy Takemoto Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act, after its co-author, Representative Patsy Mink of Hawaii.
Learn more about the impact of Title IX with MAKERS: Women Who Make America.
Photos: Senator Birch Bayh exercises with Title IX athletes at Purdue University, ca. 1972, the late Representative Patsy Mink of Hawaii, Title IX co-author, for whom the law was renamed in 2002.
President Truman received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Princeton University on On June 17, 1947.
He also delivered the commencement address: “Free and inquiring minds, with unlimited access to the sources of knowledge, can be the architects of a peaceful and prosperous world.”
-from the Truman Library
The President is answering your questions tomorrow, and it will be awesome. Tune in Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET on whitehouse.tumblr.com.
You know, if you’re hip to all these things.
We’ll be there!
(As the Archives maybe we’re not too hip ourselves, but we can tell you what was hip.)