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Dwight David Eisenhower, 34th U.S. president (1953-1961), was born in Denison, Texas. A five-star general in the U.S. Army, he served as Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe during World War II. He became president of Columbia University, taking an 18-month leave to serve as first commander of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). As Republican candidate for president, Eisenhower won a landslide victory in 1952 with vice presidential running mate Richard Nixon. Unenthusiastic about the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1954 Brown v. Board of Education ruling on segregated schools and about legislating racial equality, Eisenhower nevertheless federalized the Arkansas National Guard to enforce school desegregation in Little Rock in 1957 and signed civil rights bills in 1957 and 1960.
The Southern Leaders Conference on Transportation and Non-Violent Integration issued this statement to the nation regarding the unresolved problems of civil rights. The leaders asked for all Negroes, particularly those in the South, to assert their human dignity and to seek justice by rejecting all injustices.