And So, Back To The White House Brooks Hays is courtly, Southern and a soft-spoken teller of tales. He savors the low-keyed humor of his native Arkansas, delighting in stories like the one about the old gentleman who, when asked "How do you feel this morning?", replied, "Have you got time to listen?" Hays looks and sounds like a benevolent, small-town minister. (In fact, he is one of the very few laymen ever to have headed the Southern Baptist Convention.) But he has spent the major part of his life in the thick of politics. As a member of the 78th through the 85th Congresses, and as an advisor to Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, he has been in the center of some of the most explosive issues of the last two decades. Recently, he was asked by President Johnson to end his two years of service as Arthur T. Vanderbilt Professor of Public Affairs at Rutgers to become a consultant to the President and White House representative in the Community Relations Service, the agency which serves as peace-maker in civil rights disputes. Hays describes his years at Rutgers as "one of the happiest experiences of my life." "I've had a pleasant retreat from political buffeting and the chance to reflect and recharge myself. Now it's time to take what I've learned and put it back to work," he says. Hays first became nationally identified with the civil rights issue in 1958. He lost an election for the Arkansas Congressional seat he had held for 16 years when he took a moderate civil rights position during the Little Rock school crisis. His book, A Southern Moderate Speaks, is an outgrowth of that crisis. While at Rutgers, Hays served both students and his adopted state of New Jersey. He helped teach a weekly seminar at the School of Law on the role of the lawyer in the legislative process, gave numerous lectures before student groups and accepted many invitations to talk to civic and community organizations. "This is the first time I've lived in a state with two political parties, and I've learned a lot from it," he says. "I'm a product of the rural South and I've never ceased to love my home area. But now I've learned to love the industrial North as well." Despite his heavy new Washington responsibilities, Hays has agreed to continue at Rutgers as a Visiting Professor, giving several days each month to the University. Hays' reputation as a story-teller once documentary record on wit in Washington was issued and excerpts were contained from the speeches of two White House officials. One, of course, was John F. Kennedy. The other was Brooks Hays." Hays and Donald Herzberg, executive director of the Eagleton Institute of Politics, himself a skilled raconteur, have combined talents to co-author a book on political humor which is nearing completion. Hays says his years at Rutgers have given him new insight into the inter-relationships of urban and rural problems. "Our racial problems are not the same in the North and the South, but they are related," he says. "I'm more convinced than ever that the Negro's human dignity is not respected as much as it should be, either North or South." A Brief Report from Rutgers, The State University Published monthly except in July and August by Rutgers, The State University Second Class Postage Paid at New Brunswick, New Jersey Vol. XVIII, No. 1 April, 1966
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