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White Lies: The Double Life of Walter F. White and America's Darkest Secret

Harry S. Truman Presidential Library

Thursday, February 24, 2022 - 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. CST

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Walter F. White led two lives: one as a leader of the Harlem Renaissance and the NAACP in the early 20th century; the other as a white newspaperman who covered lynching crimes in the Deep South at the blazing height of racial violence. Born mixed race and with very fair skin and straight hair, White was able to “pass” for white. He leveraged this ambiguity as a reporter, bringing to light the darkest crimes in America and helping to plant the seeds of the civil rights movement. White’s risky career led him to lead a double life. He was simultaneously a second-class citizen subject to Jim Crow laws at home and a widely respected professional with full access to the white world at work. His life was fraught with internal and external conflict – much like the story of race in America. Starting out as an obscure activist, White ultimately became Black America’s most prominent leader. A character study of White’s life and career with all these complexities has never been rendered, until now.

A.J. Baime is the New York Times bestselling author of The Accidental President, Dewey Defeats Truman: The 1948 Election and the Battle for America’s Soul, The Arsenal of Democracy, and Truman and the Four Months That Changed the World, to name a few. Baime is a longtime regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal and his articles have appeared in The New York Times, Popular Science, and Men’s Journal. He holds an MA in literature from NYU and currently lives in northern California.

This Distinguished Author Event is part of the Truman Legacy Series “To Secure These Rights,” made possible, in part, by The Boeing Company. 



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