Harry Truman and Civil Rights

SIU Press, 2002 - 276 ˹
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Given his background, President Truman was an unlikely champion of civil rights. Where he grew up--the border state of Missouri--segregation was accepted and largely unquestioned. Both his maternal and paternal grandparents had owned slaves, and his beloved mother, victimized by Yankee forces, railed against Abraham Lincoln for the remainder of her ninety-four years. When Truman assumed the presidency on April 12, 1945, Michael R. Gardner points out, Washington, DC, in many ways resembled Cape Town, South Africa, under apartheid rule circa 1985. Truman's background notwithstanding, Gardner shows that it was Harry Truman--not Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, or John F. Kennedy--who energized the modern civil rights movement, a movement that basically had stalled since Abraham Lincoln had freed the slaves. Gardner recounts Truman's public and private actions regarding black Americans. He analyzes speeches, private conversations with colleagues, the executive orders that shattered federal segregation policies, and the appointments of like-minded civil rights activists to important positions. Among those appointments was the first black federal judge in the continental United States. Gardner characterizes Truman's evolution from a man who grew up in a racist household into a president willing to put his political career at mortal risk by actively supporting the interests of black Americans.


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Harry Truman and civil rights: moral courage and political risks

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Attorney Gardner, an adjunct professor at Georgetown University, crafts a persuasive brief to argue that Harry Truman was the 20th century's best president in terms of civil rights the true successor ... ҹԴ繩Ѻ


The Historical Background for Trumans Civil Rights Crusade
Trumans Committee on Civil Rights December 5 1946
Trumans Speech to the NAACP at the Lincoln Memorial June 29 1947
The Report of Trumans Committee on Civil Rights October 29 1947
Trumans State of the Union Address January 7 1948
Trumans Special Message to Congress on Civil Rights February 2 1948
The 1948 Democratic Party Convention and the Civil Rights Plank July 1415 1948
The Turnip Day Congressional Session and Executive Orders 9980 and 9981 July 26 1948
Truman and the Vinson Court
Trumans Howard University Commencement Address June 13 1952
Trumans Final Civil Rights Address in Harlem October 11 1952
The Truman Civil Rights Legacy

The Great Comeback Campaign and Trumans Harlem Speech October 29 1948
Civil Rights Progress Despite a Recalcitrant Congress 19491952

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˹ 193 - To separate them from others of similar age and qualifications solely because of their race generates a feeling of inferiority as to their status in the community that may affect their hearts and minds in a way unlikely ever to be undone.
˹ 9 - The object of the amendment was undoubtedly to enforce the absolute equality of the two races before the law, but in the nature of things it could not have been intended to abolish distinctions based upon color, or to enforce social, as distinguished from political, equality, or a commingling of the two races upon terms unsatisfactory to either.
˹ 193 - ... tangible" factors may be equal, deprive the children of the minority group of equal educational opportunities? We believe that it does. In Sweatt v. Painter, supra, in finding that a segregated law school for Negroes could not provide them equal educational opportunities, this Court relied in large part on "those qualities which are incapable of objective measurement but which make for greatness in a law school.
˹ 96 - The Democratic Party commits itself to continuing its efforts to eradicate all racial, religious and economic discrimination. We again state our belief that racial and religious minorities must have the right to live, the right to work, the right to vote, the full and equal protection of the laws, on a basis of equality with all citizens as guaranteed by the Constitution.
˹ 32 - We must keep moving forward, with new concepts of civil rights to safeguard our heritage. The extension of civil rights today means, not protection of the people against the Government, but protection of the people by the Government.
˹ 113 - It is hereby declared to be the policy of the president that there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services without regard to race, color, religion or national origin.
˹ 88 - I believe in the brotherhood of man, not merely the brotherhood of white men but the brotherhood of all men before law.
˹ 258 - Authorizing the Department of Defense and the Department of Commerce to exercise the functions set forth in title II of the First War Powers Act, 1941, as amended, and prescribing regulations therefor.