The Civil Rights Legacy of Harry S. Truman

Truman Legacy Series

Book 2
Truman State Univ Press
Free sample

President Harry S Truman's contribution to civil rights is generally viewed as substantial and important. But some historians are inclined to regard his achievement as meagre, hesitantly undertaken, polluted by political motives, and inadequate. The essays in this volume include the perspectives of historians and political scientists, of a member of Truman's White House staff, and of descendants of slaves -- including General Colin Powell, Congressman John Lewis, and former Congresswoman Carrie Meek. These essays renew a continuing dialog into the meaning of some of President Truman's most important decisions.
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Publisher
Truman State Univ Press
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Published on
Dec 31, 2007
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Pages
224
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ISBN
9781935503767
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
History / United States / 20th Century
Political Science / American Government / General
Political Science / History & Theory
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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In the early months of 1965, the killings of two civil rights activists inspired the Selma-to-Montgomery marches, which became the driving force behind the passage of the Voting Rights Act. This is their story.

“Bloody Sunday”—March 7, 1965—was a pivotal moment in the civil rights struggle. The national outrage generated by scenes of Alabama state troopers attacking peaceful demonstrators fueled the drive toward the passage of the Voting Rights Acts later that year. But why were hundreds of activists marching from Selma to Montgomery that afternoon?

Days earlier, during the crackdown on another protest in nearby Marion, a state trooper, claiming self-defense, shot Jimmie Lee Jackson, a 26-year-old unarmed deacon and civil rights protester. Jackson’s subsequent death spurred local civil rights leaders to make the march to Montgomery; when that day also ended in violence, the call went out to activists across the nation to join in the next attempt. One of the many who came down was a minister from Boston named James Reeb. Shortly after his arrival, he was attacked in the street by racist vigilantes, eventually dying of his injuries. Lyndon Johnson evoked Reeb’s memory when he brought his voting rights legislation to Congress, and the national outcry over the brutal killings ensured its passage.

Most histories of the civil rights movement note these two deaths briefly, before moving on to the more famous moments. Jimmie Lee and James is the first book to give readers a deeper understanding of the events that galvanized an already-strong civil rights movement to one of its greatest successes, along with the herculean efforts to bring the killers of these two men to justice—a quest that would last more than four decades.
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