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African-American History

               African-American History Film Clips

President Truman and Civil Rights (Commonweal, 1948)

When President Truman's Committee on Civil Rights submitted their findings to the White House in December of 1947, the anxious and skeptical editors at COMMONWEAL MAGAZINE eagerly waited their conclusions. Knowing that this Southern president was the only Klansman (1924 membership) to have ever attained such high office, they were doubtful that any good would come of it, and in this column they explain why they felt that way.

Four years later an article was written about the gratitude many African-Americans felt toward President Truman and his stand on civil rights - read it here...


Dan Burley, Editor (Pic Magazine, 1943)

Dan Burley (1907 - 1962) was a much admired man of his day; noted editor and columnist who served at a number of respected African-American newspapers and magazines, a Boogie Woogie pianist, sports writer covering the Negro League and he was to Jive what Samuel Johnson was to English - a lexicographer. This PIC MAGAZINE profile centers primarily on his efforts to translate famous English lines into Jive talk and chronicle the "slanguage" .

More about the African-American press corps can be read HERE.


FDR, African-Americans, and the 1944 Election (Yank Magazine, 1944)

This article is a segment from a longer piece regarding the 1944 presidential election and the widespread disillusionment held by many Black voters regarding the failings of FDR and his administration:

"...the Negro vote, about two million strong, is shifting back into the Republican column."

The report is largely based upon the observations of one HARPER'S MAGAZINE correspondent named Earl Brown.


Foreign-Aid on Behalf of the American Civil Rights Struggle (Quick Magazine, 1951)

Recognizing that the United States has seldom ever been without civil libertarians, of one form or another, who could always be relied upon to file papers in the courts on behalf of one injured tribe or another - I often wondered why, if this was the case, was so much progress made in the American civil rights struggle of the 50s and 60s as opposed to other periods? This article answered that question.

"Radio Moscow noted the warnings of a Klansman in South Carolina, that there will be bloodshed if Negro students attend white schools. But ignored the admittance of 1,000 Negroes to colleges in 15 Southern and Border states, schools formerly for whites only."


Brough Called Out for Racial Parity (New York Times, 1915)

One year prior to being elected as the 25th governor of Arkansas, Charles Hillman Brough (1876 - 1935), while serving as the chairman of the University Commission on the Southern Race Question, submitted his opinion regarding racial segregation in the Annual Report that he had written for that organization. Dr. Brough, who at the time was a professor of Economics and Sociology at the University of Arkansas, condemned the Jim Crow laws that had separated Whites from Blacks, believing that no good could ever spring from it:

"In my humble opinion, it is better to admit the negro to all the stimulus and the inspiration of the white's social heritage, so far as it applies to economic equality of opportunity given through industrial education, in so far as it does not endanger the integrity of the social heritage itself, than to encourage an ignorant and debased citizenship by his neglect and repression."


''Thank You, Mr. President'' (Quick, 1952)

Although African-American leaders anticipated a rough time when a Missouri politician named Harry Truman assumed the mightiest office in the land - in the end, he proved to be their champion.

"[The NAACP] still regard President Truman as their real hero for pressing anti-poll tax, anti-lynching, FEPC and anti-segregation programs in the face of heavy Southern Democratic Opposition."

Those councilors who advised FDR on all matters African-American were popularly known as "the Black Brain Trust"...


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