I first went to Whittier College. It's a small, private, liberal arts college of approximately a couple thousand students, founded in 1887 by the Religious Society of Friends, aka Quakers. It's a pretty campus, and I strolled through it for a leisurely hour. Since I was there on Sunday, the campus was serene.
|Whittier College Class of '34|
Nixon Presidential Library and Museum (full name) is part of the presidential libraries system administered by the National Archives and Records Administration, a federal agency. But it wasn't always so. It was initially a private institution, which, according to my guidebook, was problematic because the Nixon Foundation--the organization that initially funded and opened the Richard Nixon Library and Birthplace (original name)--both sugarcoated and misrepresented the Watergate scandal, painting it as a conspiracy and political coup by Nixon's opponents to discredit, smear, and oust a sitting President rather than as an impartial record of Nixon's wrongdoing. When the National Archives took over the library in 2007, among the changes they implemented was to replace the old Watergate presentation with the current, more truthful gallery. The new Watergate gallery opened earlier this year.
|Watergate Gallery at Nixon Library|
Yet, I learned that during his political career, many social and political landmarks were achieved which he directly or indirectly influenced. Some examples of them: he enforced desegregation of schools in seven Southern states; he established the Environmental Protection Agency; he enforced legislation of the 1973 Endangered Species Act; he signed Title 1X prohibiting gender bias at colleges and universities receiving Federal aid; he created the Office of Minority Business Enterprise (now called Minority Business Development Agency) that promotes growth and competitiveness of minority-owned businesses.
As a whole, my visit was a very thoughtful one. I left the Nixon Library with a previously absent respect for Mr. Nixon who, despite his tarnished legacy, did accomplish much that was positive during his presidency.
|Richard Milhous Nixon birthplace in Yorba Linda, CA|