For Immediate Release: April 20, 1998
Contacts: Edeen Martin
Truman Library and Museum

Julie Goldsborough
Barkley & Evergreen Public Relations


Truman Library Presents "The Legacy of the Whistlestop Campaign"

(Independence, MO.) - Fifty years ago this fall, President Harry S. Truman traveled nearly 22,000 miles trying to "keep (his) job" as President of the United States. His "Whistlestop" campaign strategy worked. On November 2, 1948, in an incredible upset over Thomas Dewey, Truman was re-elected. The impact of the election will be examined in "The Legacy of Truman's Whistlestop Campaign," a lecture series presented by the Harry S. Truman Library and sponsored in part by Johnson County Community College.

Series topics include the Dewey perspective on the 1948 campaign, Truman and Civil Rights in 1948, and how the example of Truman's come-from-behind victory has affected subsequent presidential campaigns. All programs begin at 7 p.m. and are free and open to the public. The series will take place on three consecutive Thursdays in October. For more information on the series, call 1-800-833-1225 , ext. 254 or 351.

In an effort to make its programs more accessible to Kansas City area audiences, the Truman Library is increasingly collaborating with other organizations throughout the metropolitan area. Two of the lectures in "The Legacy of Truman's Whistlestop Campaign" will be presented at Johnson County Community College, co-sponsor of the series, and one lecture will be presented at the Arthur Mag Center near the Country Club Plaza.

Thursday, Oct. 8, 1998: "The 1948 Campaign: The Dewey Perspective"

In 1948, Republican candidate Thomas Dewey challenged incumbent President Harry S. Truman for the office of President of the United States. Despite the fact that the national press was unanimous in predicting a Dewey victory, and public opinion polls showed Dewey the likely winner, Truman won an upset victory.

Historian and biographer Richard N. Smith will speak about "The Dewey Perspective," including why Dewey was so certain he would win the election and how he conducted his campaign based on that notion.

Smith currently is the director of the Gerald R. Ford Museum and Library and previously served as director of the Herbert Hoover, Eisenhower and Reagan Presidential Libraries. He has written biographies of Dewey, Hoover, George Washington and Colonel Robert R. McCormick. His books have received high praise from The New York Times and other reviewers.

Smith will speak at the Johnson County Community College Theatre, located in the CEC Building, 12345 College Blvd., in Overland Park, KS.

Thursday, Oct. 15, 1998: "Truman, Civil Rights and Politics in 1948"

Nineteen forty-eight was an eventful year in civil rights. President Truman asked Congress to enact an historic civil rights program, and issued Executive Order 9981, establishing as policy, the desegregation of the U.S. armed forces. Meanwhile, Senator Strom Thurmond and the "Dixiecrats" left the Democratic party in protest against its civil rights platform.

Ken Hechler, who served on President Truman's White House staff from 1949 to 1953, is the author of Working with Truman. He has done substantial research on the 1948 Whistlestop campaign and will discuss the role civil rights played in Truman's re-election.

After a long career in politics, including eighteen years in Congress, Hechler was elected Secretary of State of West Virginia in 1984, and remains in that office today.

Hechler will speak at the Arthur Mag Conference Center, 4920 Cherry, Kansas City, MO. (located directly behind the Midwest Research Institute).

Thursday, Oct. 22, 1998: "Campaigning Against Liberalism: George Bush and the 1988 Campaign"

Truman's Whistlestop Campaign greatly impacted the way political campaigns are run in this country. For nearly 30 years, Herb Parmet has studied, and written about Presidents and their political campaigns. Parmet will discuss the inner workings of President Bush's 1988 campaign.

Parmet retired from teaching in 1995 with the rank of Distinguished Professor of History Emeritus. He has written nine works of history and biography, including books on Richard Nixon, John F. Kennedy and Dwight D. Eisenhower. His latest book, George Bush: The Life of a Lone Star Yankee, is the first scholarly biography of President Bush.

Parmet will speak at the Johnson County Community College Theatre, located in the CEC Building, 12345 College Blvd., in Overland Park, KS.

"The Legacy of Truman's Whistlestop Campaign," fall lecture series is presented in connection with the "1948: Year of Turmoil and Triumph" exhibition at the Harry S. Truman Library, which examines the year 1948 when President Truman faced a series of monumental events and decisions. The exhibit focuses on four key areas: the recognition of Israel; the Berlin Airlift; the desegregation of the armed forces; and Truman's famous "Whistlestop" campaign for re-election.

The Truman Library and Museum is located at U.S. Highway 24 and Delaware in Independence, Mo. 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, $3 for children ages 6 to 18, and free for children 5 years and under.

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

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