Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

July 3, 2006

Susan Medler, director of communications
PH 816.268.8245 o FAX 816.269.8299

Panel Discussion Featuring Gerald Early Marks 58th Anniversary
of President Truman's Desegregation of the U.S. Armed Forces

Culture critic Gerald Early and author of Eyes Off the Prize Carol Anderson to discuss civil rights successes, failures of the Truman administration with Ken Hechler, former Truman aide, July 27 at The Gem Theater

KANSAS CITY, MO (July 3, 2006)-The Truman Presidential Museum & Library with the American Jazz Museum will host To Secure These Rights: President Truman and Progress on Civil Rights, a panel discussion honoring and reflecting upon the 58th anniversary of the desegregation of the U.S. Armed Forces by order of President Harry S. Truman.

Now in its fifth year, this joint event will take place at the Gem Theater in Kansas City's historic 18th & Vine district on Thursday, July 27. The evening opens with a reception at 6 p.m. at the Jazz Museum featuring local singer Myra Taylor, who was an entertainer in the USO when President Truman issued the desegregation order. The program continues at 7:00 p.m., when distinguished panelists Gerald Early and Carol Anderson (see attached profiles) will discuss the civil rights successes and failures of the Truman Administration. R. Crosby Kemper III will moderate, and Truman aide Ken Hechler-renowned public servant, author of The Bridge at Remagen, and only sitting Congressman to march at Selma-will join the panel for a question-and-answer session.

"President Truman's legacy is under renewed examination, and his civil rights accomplishments are lauded now more than ever," said Michael Devine, director of the Truman Presidential Museum & Library. "Our panelists, Gerald Early and Carol Anderson, will consider Truman's several successes-such as integrating the military, invigorating the Justice Department's civil rights division, and special addresses to Congress and to the NAACP-in the context of the profound shortfall that these steps represented when measured against the overall racial climate of the 1940s and 1950s."

"With 18th & Vine recognized as the historic center of Kansas City's African American community, the American Jazz Museum is honored to host such a distinguished panel and hopes it encourages a fresh look at President Truman's efforts and the ongoing struggle for civil rights," said Juanita Moore, executive director of the American Jazz Museum.

Greater Kansas City, besides being the home of President Truman, has historic ties to the civil rights movement, as well as jazz and many aspects of African-American culture. The Call, which was managed by editor Roy Wilkins before he became executive director of the NAACP, still publishes weekly just down the street from The Gem Theater.

This event is free and open to the public. Reservations, although not required, can be made by calling the American Jazz Museum box office at 816.474.6262.

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The Truman Presidential Museum & Library is one of eleven presidential libraries administered
by the National Archives and Records Administration. Located in historic Independence, Missouri, theTruman Presidential Museum & Library has inspired millions of visitors since its dedication in 1957. Step into a replica of Truman's Oval Office, test your Presidential mettle with interactive exhibits, and discover the powerful stories of an era that continues to shape our world today, from the ending of World War II to the formation of the United Nations, and from the desegregation of the U.S. Armed Forces to the beginning of the Cold War.
For more information, visit www.trumanlibrary.org or call 816.268-8200.

The sights and sounds of a uniquely American art form come alive at the American Jazz Museum. The Museum includes interactive exhibits and educational programs as well as the Blue Room, a working jazz club, and the Gem Theater, a modern 500-seat performing arts center. Located in the historic 18th and Vine District in Kansas City, Mo., this is the place where jazz masters such as Charlie Parker, Count Basie, Big Joe Turner, and hundreds of others defined the sounds of the 1920s, 30s, and 40s. Today, scholars, students, musicians, and fans are drawn here to learn about the legends, honor their legacy, or simply enjoy the best music America has to offer. For more information, visit www.americanjazzmuseum.org.


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