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December 1, 1961


Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) President John F. Kennedy attended a swearing-in ceremony today for his new special assistant, Brooks Hays.

The ceremony took place at the White House.

                        Brooks Hayes & JFK

Lawrence Brooks Hays, born in London, Arkansas on August 9, 1898, earned a degree at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.

Hays then earned a law degree at George Washington University & served as assistant attorney general of Arkansas from 1925 to 1927.

Hays worked in FDR’s New Deal as an administrator & served in the United States House of Representatives from 1943 to 1959.

        Congressman Brooks Hayes
             Arkansas (1943-1959)

During the Little Rock Central High School segregation crisis, Congressman Hayes arranged a meeting between President Eisenhower & Arkansas Governor Orville Faubus.  

The meeting was not successful & it cost Hayes 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.*

*Brooks Hays served as a presidential assistant until February 1964.  He died in Chevy Chase, Maryland on Oct. 11, 1981 & is buried in Russellville, Arkansas.

On his 80th birthday, Hayes received a letter from his good friend, JFK historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. 

Schlesinger wrote:

“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.”

                       Brooks Hays


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