National Archives at Kansas City

Irwin F. Gellman to Discuss -Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower: Myths and Realities of the Civil Rights Struggle-

Press Release: September 3, 2015

National Archives at Kansas City

Irwin F. Gellman to Discuss Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower: Myths and Realities of the Civil Rights Struggle

For More Information Contact:
Kimberlee Ried, 816-268-8072

Kansas City (MO)…On Thursday, October 8 at 6:30 p.m., the National Archives will host author and historian Irwin F. Gellman for a lecture titled Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower: Myths and Realities of the Civil Rights Struggle. A free light reception will precede the lecture at 6:00 p.m.

More than half a century after Eisenhower left office, the history of his presidency continues to be clouded by myth, partisanship, and a lack of public understanding of how Ike’s administration worked or what it accomplished. We know—or think we know—that Eisenhower distrusted his vice president by keeping him at arm’s length; that he did little to advance civil rights; that he sat by as Joseph McCarthy’s reckless anticommunist campaign threatened to wreck his administration; and that he planned the disastrous 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba. None of this is true. In his research, Irwin Gellman reveals a different Eisenhower, a man whose complex relationships with Harry Truman and Richard Nixon were important toward advancing the cause of civil rights. Eisenhower finished desegregating the armed forces, a process that his predecessor, President Truman, began. Eisenhower, along with Nixon, not Lyndon Johnson, pushed the Civil Rights Act of 1957 through the Senate. Eisenhower was determined to bring down McCarthy and did so. Gellman will discuss the myths and realities surrounding the civil rights records of Truman and Eisenhower, and put their accomplishments--and limitations--into historical context.

This program is presented in partnership with the Truman Center at the University of Missouri-Kansas City; the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library; and the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library.

Reservations are requested for this free program by calling 816-268-8010 or emailing kansascity.educate@nara.gov. Requests for ADA accommodations must be submitted five business days prior to events.

About the Speaker

Irwin F. Gellman is a graduate of Indiana University and the University of Maryland-College Park. He has taught at Morgan State University, Chapman University, and the University of California-Irvine. He is the author of numerous books and papers, the most recent being The President and the Apprentice: Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon, 1952-1961.

The National Archives at Kansas City is home to historical records dating from the 1820s to the 1990s created or received by Federal agencies in Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota. For more information, call 816-268-8000 or visit us online.

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LPM/LE-KC 2015-023

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