Dwight D. Eisenhower photo

Letter to the Chairman, Committee for Public Education, Charlottesville, Virginia.

September 25, 1958

[ Released September 25, 1958. Dated September 24, 1958 ]

Dear Mr. Rolston:

Thank you for your telegram of September seventeenth.

I deeply regret the action of Virginia and Arkansas in closing schools that are subject to integration orders of the federal Courts. The direct consequences to the children in those schools and the eventual consequences to our Nation could be disastrous. Their education seemingly has no present prospect of early resumption. for this cessation, they are given a reason which is contrary to one of the generally accepted basic ideals of our country.

Most of us in the United States, as part of our religious faith, believe that all men are equal in the sight of God. Indeed, our forefathers enshrined this belief in the Declaration of Independence as a self-evident truth. Just as we strive to live up to our fundamental convictions, we constantly strive to achieve this ideal of the equality of man. We had been making progress--substantial progress--toward that goal. The closing of the schools, however, represents a material setback not only in that progress, but in what we have come to regard as a fundamental human right--the right to a public education.

I fervently hope that soon the schools will reopen and that progress toward our goal will resume.



Note: Chairman J. Albert Rolston's telegram, released with the President's letter, expresses appreciation for the Attorney General's statement of September 16 on the school closings, issued following a discussion with the President. The Committee platform, outlined in the telegram, points out that members "are determined to pursue every legal means to keep public schools open .... We are here concerned with neither encouraging integration nor perpetuating segregation."

Dwight D. Eisenhower, Letter to the Chairman, Committee for Public Education, Charlottesville, Virginia. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/234024

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