Robert Phillips Large Portrait of President Dwight D. Eisenhower ("President and Little Rock")
Medium Silver print
Mount on original mount trimmed to edges
Photo Date 1957c Print Date 1957c
Dimensions 19-1/4 x 15-1/8 in. (489 x 384 mm)
Photo Country United States (USA)
Photographer Country United States (USA)
Contact Alex Novak and Marthe Smith
About This Image
With an atypical grim and determined look on his face. Eisenhower supported the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka U.S. Supreme Court decision, in which segregated ("separate but equal") schools were ruled to be unconstitutional. The very next day he told District of Columbia officials to make Washington a model for the rest of the country in integrating black and white public school children. He proposed to Congress the Civil Rights Acts of 1957 and 1960, and signed those acts into law. Although both Acts were weaker than subsequent civil rights legislation, they constituted the first significant civil rights acts since the 1870s. The "Little Rock Nine" incident of 1957 involved the refusal by Arkansas to honor a Federal court order to integrate its schools. Under Executive Order 10730, Eisenhower placed the Arkansas National Guard under Federal control and sent Army troops to escort nine black students into an all-white public school. The integration did not occur without violence. Eisenhower and Arkansas governor Orval Faubus engaged in tense arguments. It was probably these latter incidents that put such a look on Eisenhower's face. With photographer's stamp and written title in ink: "President and Little Rock."
Robert H. Phillips was a native New Yorker, who graduated from Columbus High School in Ohio. In World War II, he flew 36 missions as gunner photographer with the 8th Army Air Force in Europe. After the war, he studied photography at Kent State University, and in 1955 he started working as a technician in the Washington, D.C. bureau of Life magazine. He also occasionally worked on freelance assignments. In 1965 he moved to Manhattan to work full time as a freelance photographer. Phillips' photographs appeared in magazines including Life, Look, Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, House Beautiful and McCall's. He was an assignment photographer for Town & Country for 15 years. He had one-man shows in New York and Washington and exhibited in shows at the IBM Gallery of Science and Art and at the New York Museum of Modern Art. His work is in the photography collections of the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art and the New York Museum of Modern Art. He took many portraits of the important people of his era, including President Dwight Eisenhower and Leonard Bernstein. He died in August 1990 at his home in Greenwich, CT. He was 64 years old at the time of his death.
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