Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

For Immediate Release

Contact Information:
Stacy McCullough, Sprenger McCullough & Co., 816-221-9716, mobile: 913-927-0128
Bill Musgrave, Sprenger McCullough & Co., 816-221-9716, mobile: 816-215-4658
Edeen Martin, Truman Library & Museum, 816-268-8218

TRUMAN'S DESEGREGATION OF THE MILITARY HIGHLIGHTS
JULY 26 PRESIDENTIAL ADVISOR LECTURE

Truman Advisor and Chicago Sun-Times Columnist to Speak

Independence, MO - June 15, 2001- More than fifty years ago, Truman K. Gibson, Jr., an advisor to Presidents Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman, worked diligently behind the scenes to end segregation in the armed forces. Now nearing the age of ninety, and still practicing law in Chicago, Gibson will speak at 7 p.m. on July 26, in the third Presidential Advisors Lecture at the Truman Presidential Museum and Library Auditorium. Joining him will be Steve Neal, political columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times, who has written about Gibson and the work he did during the Truman administration.

During World War II, about one million African Americans served in the U.S. armed forces, but most were confined to menial jobs, support services, and segregated noncombat units.

Beginning in World War II and against the opposition of many senior officers in the armed forces, Gibson from his position in the War Department pushed for fairness and inclusion, and challenged the efficiency of a segregated military. President Truman appointed Gibson to the President's Advisory Commission on Universal Training in December 1946. Partly as a result of the efforts of Gibson and other opponents of racial discrimination, President Truman signed an executive order in July 1948 that brought about the end of segregation in the U.S. military. July 26 will mark the 53rd anniversary of this historic executive order.

Steve Neal is a journalist and author, who has covered the political scene since 1979. His latest book, Harry and Ike: The Partnership that Remade the Postwar World, will be published by Scribner in September 2001.

The lecture is free with the price of museum admission. Seat reservations, which are limited, can be made by calling the Central Ticket office at 816/235-6222.

Following Gibson and Neal, the fourth Presidential Advisors lecture on August 16 will feature former special assistant to President Truman, Ken Hechler. Hechler will sign copies of his book "Working with Truman" following his presentation.

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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