In 1942 Brooks Hays
was elected to the U.S. Congress, winning the Fifth
District seat. His first notable work was an inspection
tour of Allied-held territory in Europe after the
successful Normandy landings on D-Day in 1944. In
the U.S. Congress, Hays was a leading Democratic
legislator for eight (8) terms.
As the civil rights movement emerged
in the postwar period, Hays articulated the political
ideology know as "Southern Moderation". Hays help
arrange a meeting of
Governor Orval Faubus and President Dwight Eisenhower at Newport, Rhode Island. The meeting
ultimately failed, however, after Faubus refused to remove
the Arkansas National Guard and allow the famous "Little
Rock Nine" to matriculate at Little Rock Central High
School. Hays' efforts to reconcile state and federal
officials proved detrimental to his career.
In his bid for reelection in 1958,
Hays was defeated by the Little Rock ophthalmologist
(Little Rock School Board Member) Dale
Alford, a militant segregationist running as an
independent, in an eight-day write-in campaign in the
general election. Alford used legally questionable
stickers attached to ballots, as well as other
irregularities, to achieve this major upset.
was done by a method of stickers added to the
ballot, which should have been protested by
Brooks Hays (D), but was not protested.
Hays, however, was instrumental in
breaking down racial and denominational barriers in
Southern religious life. He helped initiate steps
toward desegregation of the Southern Baptist Church, and
then later became the first layman President of the Southern