- http://www.archives.gov/education/lessons/jackie-robinson/index.html (Documents 4-12)
Jackie Robinson continued to champion the cause of civil rights after he left baseball. Having captured the attention of the American public in the ballpark, he now delivered the message that racial integration in every facet of American society would enrich the nation, just as surely as it had enriched the sport of baseball. Every American President who held office between 1956 and 1972 received letters from Jackie Robinson expressing varying levels of rebuke for not going far enough to advance the cause of civil rights. Indifferent to party affiliation and unwilling to compromise, he measured a President's performance by his level of commitment to civil rights. Robinson's stand was firm and nonnegotiable. The letters reveal the passionate and, at times, combative spirit with which Robinson worked to remove the racial barriers in American society.
- Congressional Record. 76th Cong. 3rd sess, 1940, 86 pt. 16: 4546-4547. Truman’s “Brotherhood of Man” speech from July 25, 1940, in Sedalia, Missouri. Taken from Taylor, Jon E. Freedom to Serve: Truman, Civil Rights, and Executive Order 9981 (Critical Moments in American History) New York: Routledge, 2013. (Document 1 – Attached)
On May 22, 1939, Thomas Pendergast, the patriarch of the Pedergast machine, pled guilty to charges of income tax evasion and was sentenced to fifteen months at Fort Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary. Truman, to distance himself from the political machine, went on a new campaign strategy and made a speech at the dedication of “Sedalia’s City Hospital No. 2 for Negroes” on July 25, 1940. The “brotherhood of man” speech was bold language for a Southerner like Truman to use in his Senate campaign supporting Civil Rights
- Truman, Harry S., Public Papers of the Presidents, Harry S. Truman, 1947, 311-313. http://www.trumanlibrary.org/publicpapers/index.php?pid=2115&st=&st1= (Document 2)
On June 29, 1947, Harry Truman became the first President to address the NAACP on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial live on radio. In the speech, Truman advocates in his speech deep changes that needed to take place to combat racial discrimination and the promotion of civil rights and liberties.
- http://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?flash=true&doc=84&sortorder= or https://www.trumanlibrary.org/9981a.htm (Document 3)
Truman moved ahead on civil rights by using his executive powers. Among other things, Truman bolstered the civil rights division, appointed the first African American judge to the Federal bench, named several other African Americans to high-ranking administration positions, and most important, on July 26, 1948, he issued an executive order abolishing segregation in the armed forces and ordering full integration of all the services. Executive Order 9981 stated, "there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed forces without regard to race, color, religion, or national origin." The order also established an advisory committee to examine the rules, practices, and procedures of the armed services and recommend ways to make desegregation a reality. There was considerable resistance to the executive order from the military, but by the end of the Korean conflict, almost all the military was integrated.