Jim Newton, public policy lecturer at UCLA Luskin, shared his interpretation of Dwight D. Eisenhower’s actions on desegregation while serving as president in a recent CJ Online article. According to Newton, President Eisenhower’s public statement that “the Supreme Court has spoken and I am sworn to uphold the constitutional processes in this country, and I will obey,” after the historic Brown v. Board of Education decision banned racial segregation in schools in 1954, illustrates Eisenhower’s “lukewarm” stance on desegregation. “He did what was required of him but evidenced no enthusiasm for it,” Newton said, arguing that he believed Eisenhower didn’t fully anticipate what he was getting in the area of civil rights when he appointed Earl Warren as Chief Justice of the United States. Newton, who has written biographies of both Eisenhower and Warren, commented that Eisenhower’s enforcement of Brown v. Board of Education at Little Rock was more about power than about desegregation.
Television producer Norman Lear is one of the most influential people in his business. On the night of Jan. 17 in the Real D Theater in Beverly Hills, the 95-year-old creator of some of TV’s most legendary shows — who is still working on two current shows — gathered with members of the UCLA community and the public to reflect on his career, philanthropy and advocacy efforts after a screening of the documentary “Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You.”
The screening was part of a special conversation hosted by UCLA’s public policy magazine, Blueprint — the latest issue of which focuses on philanthropy. Editor-in-chief Jim Newton moderated the event.
“[Lear] inspired us to start conversations that were at once contentious, but also necessary,” UCLA Chancellor Gene Block said. “Norman’s contributions extend into philanthropy and activism as an outspoken champion of civic engagement and constitutional freedoms. Luckily for us, even at 95 years old, he’s not done yet. He still remains extremely active.”
Lear is best known as creator/producer of classic television shows such as “All in the Family,” “Good Times,” “The Jeffersons” and “Maude.” He also gained national notoriety when in 1981 he founded the liberal political organization People for the American Way. Over the years he has backed campaigns to register young voters, donated to organizations that fight climate change and sponsored a trust and awards to recognize and encourage businesses to think beyond the short term.
“I’m known to be quite liberal, progressive, etc.,” he told the packed room of about 130 people. “I think of myself, truly, as a bleeding heart conservative. You will not ‘eff’ with my First Amendment, my Bill of Rights, my Constitution or my Declaration — every single word of it. My dedication [to] life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all Americans could not be stronger.”