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"PEOPLE WILL WONDER WHAT ALL THE FUSS WAS ABOUT AND WHY IT WASN'T DONE SOONER" (CIVIL RIGHTS.) TRUMAN, HARRY S. Typed Letter Signed to Walter White, Executive Secretary of the NAACP. 2 pages, on White House stationary, paper evenly toned, both leaves dry-mounted to a matte, removed from the frame. Washington, June 23, 1952
a letter with superb historical content. Truman writes to Walter White on the occasion of the forty-third anniversary of the NAACP: "It is with genuine pleasure. . . Five years ago I addressed your convention on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. The first post-war years were trying for everyone who believes strongly and literally in the words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. For a time, it looked as though the wartime gains in equal rights and equal opportunities were about to be wiped out in a wave of hatred and violence similar to that which swept the country after the first World War. I was determined that this should not happen again. Not long after I talked to you about this problem, the President's Committee on Civil Rights handed to me and to the American People its momentous Report. In February 1948, I sent a Special Message to the Congress in which I recommended the adoption of a ten-point civil rights program for the benefit of the whole American people. Only two points of that program have been adopted" [One of them, Truman's executive order 9981 integrated the armed services]. The President goes on, looking forward to the day when all ten points of his civil rights program will be law, says that in the future, "people will wonder what all the fuss was about, and why it wasn't done sooner. Some day it will be taken for granted." Three short years later, Rosa Parks would decide she'd waited long enough. The Montgomery Bus Boycott began, as did sit-ins and other acts of civil disobedience that would eventually lead to the Civil Rights Acts of the 1960s. Truman concludes "The conscience of the American people is a tremendous force when it is aroused. . . sincerely, Harry Truman."