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Biographer Farrell discusses Nixon’s role in civil rights at Flagler Forum event

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John Farrell

Biographer John A. Farrell will discuss the presidency of Richard Nixon and his role in the progress of civil rights on Jan. 21.

Jan. 15, 2014

Biographer John A. Farrell will discuss the presidency of Richard Nixon and his role in the progress of civil rights at the Flagler College Forum on Government and Public Policy lecture series on Jan. 21.

"The presidency of Richard Nixon is a far more complex story than his champions and detractors would have you believe,” said Farrell, author of “Richard Nixon: An American Tragedy.” “He was the ultimate pragmatist, and while he will always be remembered for Vietnam and Watergate, he signed into law some of the great legislative accomplishments of his era."

The title of Farrell’s lecture, “Watch What We Do, Not What We Say,” is a quote from former Attorney General John Mitchell who used the remarks to explain the president’s stance on civil rights issues.

“In the public arena, Nixon offered winks and nods to southern whites, convincing them that he was on their side and winning their votes in his divisive ‘southern strategy,’” said Farrell. “But inside the federal bureaucracies, the work of the great civil rights laws went on, and the integration of southern schools was quietly, but relentlessly, accomplished on his watch.”

Farrell also serves as a contributing editor and correspondent to National Journal magazine and The Atlantic after a prize-winning career in newspapers, most notably at The Denver Post and The Boston Globe.

His other books include “Clarence Darrow: Attorney For The Damned ” and “Tip O'Neill and the Democratic Century.”

Farrell graduated from the University of Virginia in 1975 and has covered Congress, the Supreme Court and every American presidential campaign since 1980. He wrote a national political column for The Denver Post and commentary for the Thomas Jefferson Street blog for US News, and was a founding correspondent at GlobalPost. He has also served as Washington bureau chief for The Denver Post, and the MediaNews chain.

In 1996, Farrell received the Gerald R. Ford prize and the Aldo Beckman Award from the White House Correspondents Association for coverage of the presidency, the first time anyone had captured both awards in a single year.  

Farrell’s lecture will take place at Lewis Auditorium at Flagler College, 14 Granada St., at 7 p.m. Forums are free and open to the public, but seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. Sign language interpreters are provided.

Call (904) 819-6400 for more information.