Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Contact: Edeen Martin, 816-268-8218
Event: 54th Anniversary of the Desegregation of the Armed Services
Date: July 25, 2002
Location: Gem Theater: 18th & Vine

Truman Presidential Museum and Library presents Gail Buckley at the Gem Theater in honor of the 54th Anniversary of the desegregation of the armed services Thursday July 25

Gail Buckley Independence, MO-June 6, 2002-The Truman Presidential Museum and Library in cooperation with the American Jazz Museum presents historian Gail Buckley as the featured speaker honoring the 54th Anniversary of the desegregation of the armed services. The event will take place at the Gem Theater at 18th and Vine at 7:30 p.m. on July 25, 2002.

Buckley's book, "American Patriots: The Story of Blacks in the Military from the Revolution to Desert Storm," provides a powerful description of the courage and heroic effort put forth by African Americans in the armed services despite the racial barriers they faced. She is the daughter of the famous entertainer Lena Horne. Buckley's presentation will include stories highlighted in her book as well as others discovered in the course of over 15 years of research.

American Patriots book coverDr. Delia Crutchfield Cook will introduce Ms. Buckley. Dr. Cook, currently with the Department of History and Anthropology at Central Missouri State University, was instrumental in establishing the Truman Presidential Museum's annual program honoring the anniversary of the signing of President Truman's Executive Order 9981 to desegregate the Armed Services. Dr. Cook coordinated the University of Missouri at Kansas City symposium on African Americans in the Armed Services that culminated in the Truman Museum's presentation of Colin Powell in 1998. This year the Truman Museum is pleased to join with the American Jazz Museum to present this important author.

President Harry S. Truman's Executive Order 9981 of July 26, 1948 declared that "there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services without regard to race, color, religion or national origin," and established a Presidential committee to implement the Order. Although the Order met initial resistance, Truman and the committee pushed through the reforms and by the end of the Korean War in 1953, 90 percent of United States military units were integrated. Simultaneous with Executive Order 9981, Truman signed Order 9980 on Governing Fair Employment Practices within the Federal Establishment. This Order eliminated discriminatory practices in the Federal government based on race, color, religion, or national origin.

Buckley's "American Patriots: The Story of Blacks in the Military from the Revolution to Desert Storm" was recently selected the winner of the 2002 Robert F. Kennedy Book Award.

While researching and writing "American Patriots," Buckley interviewed African-American men and women who have served in the military over the years. By gathering their first hand accounts, Ms Buckley helped many families reclaim the lives of men who fought bravely only to be resented and forgotten.

Known as a journalist and historian Buckley has also been recognized for her book "The Hornes," a national best-seller about her middle class Black family including her famous mother, Lena Horne. After the book's release, she collaborated on the American Masters documentary on her mother and narrated PBS' documentary on Black American families.

Tickets to this event at the Gem Theater are $5 each and include a free pass to the Truman Presidential Museum and Library. For information and reservations contact the Gem Theater Box Office at (816) 474-6262.

The Truman Presidential Museum & Library is located at U.S. Highway 24 and Delaware Street in Independence, Missouri. The Museum is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. The Museum is closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. Admission is $5 for adults, $4.50 for seniors and $3 for children 6-18 years old. For more information, call the 1-800-833-1225 or the web site at www.trumanlibrary.org.

The Harry S. Truman Library is one of ten Presidential Libraries administered by the National Archives and Records Administration.

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