BROOKS HAYS SWORN IN AS JFK ASSISTANT 55 YEARS AGO TODAY
Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) Fifty-five years ago today, December 1, 1961, President John F. Kennedy attended a swearing-in ceremony at the White House for his new special assistant, Brooks Hays*.
Mr. Hayes served as an administrator in the Agriculture Department of FDR's New Deal and contributed to the passage of the Bankhead-Jones Act which provided loans to poor farmers. He served as a representative from the state of Arkansas 1943-1959.
During the Little Rock Central High School segregation crisis, Congressman Hayes arranged a meeting between President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Arkansas Governor Orville Faubus. According to Marjorie Hunter, Brooks Hays was "a voice of Southern moderation."
Brooks Hays said...
"There was a South of fear and misgivings; that South is dead. There is a South of human kindness and of law, of justice and of peace..."
Hayes, because of his moderate stand on civil rights, lost his bid for re-election to the congress in 1958. He served on the board of directors of the Tennessee Valley Authority from 1959 to 1961.
Before becoming JFK's special assistant, Hayes served as Assistant Secretary of State for congressional relations.
Throughout his career, Brooks Hays was known for his story-telling ability. Marjorie Hunter compares him to Will Rogers. On his 80th birthday, Hayes received a letter from his good friend, JFK historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.
"Few Americans have done so much to further the cause of tolerance, understanding & fellowship among diverse races & creeds, & no one, in our time, has done it with such delicious wit & sagacious humor."
*Lawrence Brooks Hays (1898-1981) was born in London, Arkansas & graduated from the University of Arkansas. He earned his law degree at George Washington University. LBH was assistant Attorney General of Arkansas 1925-1927.
LBH served as a presidential assistant until February 1964. He died in Bethesda, MD. & is buried in Russellville, Arkansas.
"Ex-Representative Brooks Hays, Aide to Presidents, 83, Dies," by Marjorie Hunter, October 13, 1981, The New York Times, www.newyorktimes.com/