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Sources: Judy Collins, 785-826-2932, jcollins@k-state.edu;
and Alysia Starkey, 785-826-2616, astarkey@k-state.edu
Web site: http://www.salina.k-state.edu/faculty/astarkey/Tilford/tilford.html
News release prepared by: Holly Williams, 785-826-2642, publicrelations@salina.k-state.edu

Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2010

K-STATE TILFORD PROJECT LOOKS AT FIRST BLACK EXECUTIVE IN THE WHITE HOUSE AND THE CIVIL RIGHTS ACT OF 1957

SALINA -- A project by two Kansas State University at Salina faculty members offers a look at the first black executive in the White House and the tumultuous years leading up to the Civil Rights Act of 1957.

K-State at Salina's Judy Collins, associate professor of English, and Alysia Starkey, library director, have launched the civil rights education Web site "E. Frederic Morrow, A Black Man in the White House." The project was supported through K-State's Tilford grant program.

Collins and Starkey's project introduces students in technical writing classes at K-State at Salina to documents from the Dwight D. Eisenhower presidential archives that were authored by Morrow, who served as an administrative officer for the White House special projects group under the 34th president. Also included in the project are notes from Morrow's memoir, "A Black Man in the White House," along with other materials from those close to White House events, such as Herbert Brownell, U.S. attorney general, who was instrumental in helping to get the 1957 Civil Rights Act passed. The act was the first civil rights legislation since the late 19th century.

The Web site supplements online materials offered through the Eisenhower Presidential Library in Abilene and demonstrates the difficulties of diversity leadership in times of change, especially for the president and his White House staff who were themselves divided on the Civil Rights issue, according to Collins and Starkey.

Morrow joined the White House in 1955. He advised President Eisenhower on incidents related to the 1955 lynching of Emmitt Till and the subsequent public outcry, the decision to send troops to Little Rock, Ark., and the jailing of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1960.

The Web site http://www.salina.k-state.edu/faculty/astarkey/Tilford/tilford.html represents original scholarship by Collins and collaborative site construction by Starkey, who also collected resources for the college library.

Collins said she plans to continue her Morrow research so she can to write an article about him and his use of memos to advise the President Eisenhower and White House staff during troubled racial times. Work on designs for curricular materials and the Web site also will continue indefinitely to present a comprehensive portrait of Morrow, she said.

More information on the site is available by contacting Collins at 785-826-2932, jcollins@k-state.edu; or Starkey at 785-826-2616, astarkey@k-state.edu.