Promises Kept: A Memoir
Sidney S. McMath
University of Arkansas Press
In "Promises Kept: A Memoir," by Sidney S. McMath, the former Arkansas governor discusses his early life in rural Arkansas, his military service, his political life and his career as a lawyer. He also helped change the rules that prevented black citizens from voting in primaries, and he worked with President Truman to keep the segregationist Dixiecrats from taking over the Democratic Party — and the presidency.
In his memoir, McMath describes how he and other recent World War II veterans successfully challenged one of Arkansas’ most powerful and corrupt political machines in 1945. When he later became governor, he brought the first roads and electricity to rural areas, fought the poll tax and created the state’s first medical center. McMath also tackles the accusations of political opponents who alleged bribery in his highway program. Although no indictments were handed down, McMath’s political career ended. Arguing his case for the first time in this book, he sets the record straight.
McMath was a pivotal figure not only in Arkansas history but in the history of the Democratic Party and American law. "Promises Kept" highlights the difficult choices of real democracy as told from the crucial perspective of a man at the center of history.