Today concludes Black History Month 2010, and the Greensboro (North Carolina) News & Record marks it with an interview with Bob Brown, who was the White House aide in charge of minority affairs in President Nixon’s first term. He recalls:
When Brown [after Election Day 1968] entered the room where Nixon was holding court, the president-elect introduced him to everyone as, “One of my new assistants.”
When the others left, Nixon got down to business.
“He said, ‘I know you weren’t looking for a job. I need you. There will be no impediments to our relationship … you will have access and in Washington everything is built around access.’ He said if you want to get anything done, you’ve got to go to Washington. He said if you want to get done all those notes you sent me, you’ve got to come to Washington with me.”
And from his office in the White House complex — with four secretaries and three assistants — Brown went about fulfilling some of those promises, and other needs he saw firsthand, such as finding a funding tap for financially struggling black colleges trying to educate future leaders[…]
Nixon, who Brown said got little recognition for efforts to improve race relations, always backed him up.
“He trusted my judgment,” Brown said.
Brown wouldn’t change a thing about his time on staff with Nixon.
“It was four years and two months of incredible,” he said.