The same day, the Los Angels Times ran the same article under the headline, “Negro Appointed to Top Job in Executive Office.” The article stated that
The White House announced today that Everett Frederic Morrow, a Negro, had been named to a top job in President Eisenhower’s executive office.
Large numbers of Black voters took the news as confirmation of their decision to vote Eisenhower into the presidency in 1952. Groups like the National Council of Negro Democrats had taken the bold step of endorsing Eisenhower’s candidacy. The Democratic Party’s ticket for the national election did not convince African-American voters that the Democrats were solidly opposed to segregation.
The Eisenhower campaign drew up a list of fourteen actions which his administration took once he was inaugurated. The steps toward complete civil rights angered key Democrats like Senator Robert Byrd, whom Hillary Clinton called a “friend and mentor.” Byrd voted against Ike’s 1957 Civil Rights bill.
Concerning Everett Frederic Morrow, who’d graduated from Rutgers Law School, the New York Times stated flatly that
He will be the first Negro of such rank in the executive office.
Another Democratic Party leader, Senator (and later president) Lyndon Johnson, retaliated by offering amendments to the 1957 Civil Rights bill which were designed to make the bill’s provisions unenforceable. Johnson’s opposition was more of a stealth tactic, while Byrd’s was a head-on attack.
Inside the White House, Morrow brought important experiences and connections to the Eisenhower administration from his previous posts at the CBS network and at the NAACP.
Mr. Morrow served on President Eisenhower’s campaign train in 1952. He has been with the Columbia Broadcasting System public relations staff and at one time was field secretary for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
It was a powerful statement on Eisenhower’s part that Morrow was placed in a supervisory role over Nelson Rockefeller. To have a Black executive overseeing a member of the wealthy and powerful Rockefeller family was a clear sign of Ike’s commitment to civil rights.
The National Council of Negro Democrats shocked observers by endorsing the Republican presidential candidate, but this group knew that meaningful opposition to segregation would come from President Eisenhower, and not from the Democratic Party’s candidates.
Morrow’s grandfather had been a leader and an educator within the Presbyterian Church. The New York Times noted that
He comes from a family long identified with educational and civic development of Negro life.
Prior this appointment, Morrow had worked in the Eisenhower administration as “an advisor on business affairs to Secretary of Commerce Sinclair Weeks.”