The Civil Rights Legacy of Harry S. Truman

Raymond H. Geselbracht, ed.

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President Harry S. Truman’s contribution to civil rights is generally viewed as substantial and important. These essays renew a continuing dialogue into the meaning of some of President Truman’s most important decisions.  (TLS 2)

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Description

The Truman Legacy Series, Vol. 2

President Harry S. Truman’s contribution to civil rights is generally viewed as substantial and important. But some historians are inclined to regard his achievement as meager, hesitantly undertaken, polluted by political motives, and inadequate. These essays renew a continuing dialogue into the meaning of some of President Truman’s most important decisions.

Contents

Introduction
Interpreting the Civil Rights Legacy of Harry S. Truman.....Raymond H. Geselbracht

Viewpoint From the Descendants of Slaves
A Legacy Beyond Books, A Legacy That Gets Into You.....Carrie Meek
A President who got in Trouble—Good Trouble, Necessary Trouble.....John Lewis

Assessing Truman’s Civil Rights Legacy
A President Who Regarded Civil Rights as a Moral Imperative.....Michael Gardner
Clutching at Civil Rights Straws: A Reappraisal of the Truman Years and the Struggle for African American Citizenship.....Carol Anderson
Truman Laid the Foundation for the Civil Rights Movement.....Ken Hechler

Truman’s Civil Rights Legacy: A Graphic Essay

Considering Truman’s Civil Rights Achievements
Truman’s Speech to the NAACP, 29 June 1947.....Raymond Frey
Political Pragmatism and Civil Rights Policy: Truman and Integration of the Military.....Richard M. Yon and Tom Lansford
Truman, Desegregation of the Armed Forces, and a Kid from the South Bronx.....Colin Powell
Truman’s Conception of Economic Rights as Civil Rights: The Case of Health Care.....Michael Dukakis

Honoring Truman’s Civil Rights Legacy
The Truman Library and Truman’s Civil Rights Legacy.....Raymond H. Geselbracht

Authors

Raymond H. Geselbracht was special assistant to the director at the Harry S. Truman Library. He previously served as an archivist at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library and the Richard M. Nixon Presidential Materials Project. He has published many articles on historical and archival subjects, including a recent series of articles on personal aspects of Truman’s life and career. He has also published a descriptive map of places in the Kansas City area that were especially important to Truman, and a history of the Truman Library.

Reviews

Truman’s reputation for directness, even bluntness, has not been linked closely with his record on civil rights. However, judging from this collection of ten essays and collection of original documents and graphics, he was certainly forward-thinking in private, and if critics read between the lines of Truman’s public statements they would find a sincere supporter of equity. Along with assessments by Carrie Meek, John Lewis, Colin Powell and Michael Dukakis of Truman’s effects on their understanding of race and equity, others reappraise the Truman years as a foundation for later, more obvious achievements. It appears that Truman knew the politics of race was based more on finesse than force, and although he understood both, the best he could do is start the process.

Book News Inc.

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