Today’s post comes from Tammy Williams, archivist at the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library
President Harry S. Truman spent his entire young adulthood in Missouri, a border state during the Civil War. Both of his sets of grandparents owned slaves. Many voters and politicians believed that Truman would carry his region’s prejudices to the White House and would do comparatively little to advance the cause of civil rights. And so Truman’s decision to issue Executive Order 9981 to provide for equality of treatment and opportunity in the military surprised many people.
What led President Truman to this decision? As African American soldiers returned to the United States from fighting overseas in World War II, they hoped to return to a more equitable society. However, many soldiers experienced openly hostile reactions from white Southerners as they wore their uniforms in their hometowns.
Two such cases made national headlines. In Aiken, South Carolina, a bus driver kicked Sergeant Isaac Woodward off a bus for allegedly being disruptive, and a police officer beat him and gouged out his eyes, blinding him. In Monroe, Georgia, a group of white men dragged two soldiers and their wives from a car and shot them.
In September 1946, shortly … [ Read all ]
Posted by Hilary on September 24, 2013, under - Civil Rights, - Presidents.
Tags: African Americans, army, black history, desegretation, Frank Pace, NAACP, Records of Rights, segregation, Truman, veterans, WWII
Today’s blog post comes from Susan Donius, Director of the Office of Presidential Libraries at the National Archives.
It’s not often that several Presidents are together at one time, but on April 25, the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum will be dedicated to the American public. Although many dignitaries from around the world will attend, all eyes will likely focus on the gathering of men who have called the White House home. In addition to George W. Bush, guests of honor will include current Commander-in-Chief Barack Obama, and former Presidents William J. Clinton, George Bush, and Jimmy Carter.
The first Presidential Library and Museum was conceived and built under President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s direction from 1939 to 1940 in Hyde Park, NY. The official FDR Library dedication was a small, quiet affair, with close friends and family attending the ceremony. Over the years, the ceremonies have grown larger, and dedications have become notable for the atmosphere of nonpartisan goodwill and respect among former Presidents.
The Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum was dedicated on July 6, 1957, in Independence, MO. During Truman’s Presidency, Herbert Hoover offered his services to help with post–World War II humanitarian efforts. Despite being Presidents from opposing parties, the two forged a working relationship that eventually grew into a strong friendship. At the Truman Library dedication, Herbert Hoover delivered remarks … [ Read all ]
Posted by Hilary on April 23, 2013, under - Presidents, National Archives Near You, Pennsylvania Avenue.
Tags: Bush, Carter, Clinton, Eisenhower, FDR, Ford, Hoover, JFK, Johnson, Kennedy, LBJ, Nixon, presidential libraries, Presidents, Reagan, Truman
Today’s blog post was written by Sam Rushay, a supervisory archivist at the Truman Presidential Library.
In the late summer of 1945, Frances Sarah Curtis of Mt. Rainier, MD, applied for a White House pass. Curtis, a Treasury Department employee in the Bureau of Public Debt (BPD), had worked in the White House File Room for 10 days in June before returning to the Treasury Department.
Perhaps hoping for a permanent White House job, Curtis applied for a pass.
The U.S. Secret Service conducted a standard background investigation of Curtis. She did not receive a White House pass. Two reasons were given. The first reason was because she owed $100 in unpaid tuition to the Wilcox College of Commerce in Cleveland, OH, where she had taken secretarial courses from 1937 to 1939.
The second, more damaging, reason was the presence of her name on the mailing lists of the American Peace Mobilization (APM) and the Current Events Club, formerly the Council Education Alliance. The investigators note in the report that these “groups are considered Communistic in nature.” She had also contributed money to the APM. And while there was no evidence that she had ever attended any meetings, there also was “nothing to indicate that she was not active” with these groups. Known Communists had attended these meetings, although evidence suggested that Curtis herself … [ Read all ]
Posted by Hilary on February 12, 2013, under Uncategorized.
Tags: background check, Communists, Frances Curtis, George Drescher, guest blogger, investigation, Secret service, Truman, White House
On Monday, January 21, President Obama will be sworn in for a second term. It will be the 57th Presidential Inauguration. Beginning at 11:30 a.m., the President’s swearing-in ceremony will be shown live in the William G. McGowan Theater at the National Archives.
If you are in Washington, DC, don’t miss this chance to see several Presidential Inaugurations! We will be screening historic footage of previous Presidential Inaugurations from our holdings. The films will highlight different Presidential Inaugurations every day, starting with FDR and ending with Clinton. Check the schedule below to decide which historic Inauguration you want to see.
January 16, 17 & 18, at noon
William G. McGowan Theater
Screening schedule (subject to change)
January 16 at noon
First and Last Inaugurations of Franklin Delano Roosevelt (March 4, 1933, and January 20, 1945)
Inauguration of Harry S. Truman (January 20, 1949)
Inauguration of Dwight D. Eisenhower (January 20, 1955)
Inauguration of John F. Kennedy (January 20, 1961)
January 17 at noon
Inauguration of Lyndon Baines Johnson (January 20, 1965)
Inauguration of Richard M. Nixon (January 20, 1969)
Swearing-In Ceremony of Gerald R. Ford (August 9, 1974)
Inauguration of Jimmy Carter (January 20, 1977)
January 18 at noon
Inauguration of Ronald W. Reagan (January 20, 1981)
Inauguration of George H.W. Bush (January 20, 1989)
Inauguration of William J. Clinton (January 20, 1993)
On January … [ Read all ]
Today’s blog post was written by Tammy Kelly, an archivist at the Harry S. Truman Library.
When future President Harry S. Truman was born on May 8, 1884, his parents decided to name him Harry, after his mother’s brother Harrison Young. But what about a middle name? Harry’s parents could not come to a decision—should Harry’s middle name be Shipp, in honor of his paternal grandfather, Anderson Shipp Truman? Or should it be Solomon, in honor of his maternal grandfather, Solomon Young?
In the end, they entered his middle name as simply S, which led to a never-ending controversy and questions about Harry S. Truman’s middle name.
Many people tried to give Truman a middle name. When Truman took the oath of office upon the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt on April 12, 1945, Chief Justice Harlan F. Stone delivered the oath as “I, Harry Shipp Truman.” When Truman repeated it back, he made the subtle correction, “I, Harry S. Truman.”
Truman often received mail addressed to “Harry Solomon Truman,” “Harry Simpson Truman” and “Harry Shippe Truman.” In 1955, on a visit to Eugene, Oregon, to raise money for the construction of the Truman Library, the Swinomish Indian tribe gave Truman the ceremonial middle name of Swinomish.
But if Truman’s middle name is just S, and does not stand for anything else, why does … [ Read all ]
Posted by Hilary on May 8, 2012, under - Presidents, Letters in the National Archives, Myth or History.
Tags: Dean Acheson, Harry Truman, middle initial, middle name, mystery, President Truman, S, Shipp, Solomon, Swinomish, Truman