President Harris S. Truman
School Desegregation and Civil Rights Stories:
President Harry S. Truman
President Truman went considerably beyond the New Deal Administration and used his presidential powers to accomplish important changes in the arena of civil rights. He established a Committee on Civil Rights. The Committee's final report in 1947, To Secure These Rights, was the basis for the President's special civil rights message to Congress and for changes in federal policies. Although a conservative Congress thwarted Truman's desire to achieve significant civil rights legislation, he was able to use his presidential powers to accomplish some societal and policy important changes. Truman issued executive orders desegregating the armed forces and forbidding racial discrimination in Federal employment. He also used his authority to encourage the Justice Department to argue before the Supreme Court on behalf of plaintiffs fighting against segregation.
The Truman Library web site contains a wealthy of information and educational resources about the Truman Administration's efforts in the area of civil rights. The following are only a sampling.
- Armed Forces Desegregation Collections Index.
- Transcript of January 12, 1949 Presidential meeting with secretaries of the Armed Forces and the President of Truman's Committee on Equality of Treatment and Opportunity in the Armed Forces.
- Oral interview with Judge William Hastie, first African American to serve on the federal Court of Appeals and civil rights activist with the NAACP Defense Fund Legal.
- Oral interview with Tom Clark, U.S. Attorney General and Associate Supreme Court Justice.
- Oral interviews with Clark M. Clifford, Special Counsel to President Truman.
Other School Desegregation and Civil Rights Stories:
- Ketchikan, Alaska. Irene Jones, a twelve year old girl of mixed Alaskan Indian and white heritage in Alaska, 1929.
- Orange County, California. The Mendez Case, Mexican American children in 1949. The NAACP files an amicus brief.
- Oklahoma University. Segregation in Higher Education, 1948.
- Pulaski County, Virginia, 1947. An effort by the NAACP to achieve equal schools for African American.
- Claymont, Delaware. On site viewing of "A Separate Place", the story of the education of African Americans in Delaware following the Civil War and through Belton v. Gebhart.
- South Carolina (Briggs v. Elliott). Explore the case of the courageous Reverend J.A. Delaine and the NAACP's efforts to end segregation in South Carolina public schools.
- Prince Edward County, Virginia (Davis v. County School Board). It started when 11th grader Barbara Rose Johns led fellow students to boycott for improvements in their high school. More. . .
- Girard College, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1965. A fourteen year struggle to end segregation is accomplished by William T. Coleman, a main architect of the legal strategy leading to the Brown v. Board decision.
- Chicago, Illinois. Student School Boycott, 1965
- Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library. Examine President Eisenhower's decisions on the Little Rock, Arkansas crisis.
- John F. Kennedy Presidential Library. Explore Civil Rights history during the Kennedy Administration.
- Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library. Explore Civil Rights at "LBJ for Kids".