How Civil Rights Won the White House: Harry Truman, Hubert Humphrey, A. Philip Randolph and the Triumph of 1948

2:00 pm – 3:00 pm

SHSMO Center for Missouri Studies

605 Elm St.


Join author, columnist, and Columbia University professor Samuel G. Freedman, who will talk about his latest book, Into the Bright Sunshine: Young Hubert Humphrey and the Fight for Civil Rights. In the wake of America's defeat of fascism abroad in World War II, an urgent question arose on the home front. What should the United States do about its own entrenched forms of racial and religious discrimination? The struggle for a more equitable nation centered on the 1948 Democratic convention and the subsequent presidential campaign, when an incumbent president, a rising liberal mayor, and a Black labor activist, acting sometimes as adversaries but ultimately as allies, successfully made civil rights the linchpin of Truman's upset victory and the focus of some of his most transformational policies. These efforts, often overlooked in accounts of the Civil Rights Movement, laid the groundwork for the better-known breakthroughs in the 1950s and 1960s.

Freedman's talk at the Center for Missouri Studies is a collaboration with the State Historical Society of Missouri and the Missouri School of Journalism. The author will be available to sign books following his presentation.  Into the Bright Sunshine: Young Hubert Humphrey and the Fight for Civil Rights will be available for purchase at the Richard Bookstore inside the Center for Missouri Studies.

About the Speaker: Former columnist and staff writer for the New York Times and a professor at Columbia University, Samuel G. Freedman is the author of ten acclaimed books. He's been a finalist for the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. Four of his books have been listed among the New York Times' Notable Books of the Year. He's also contributed to publications including The New Yorker, The Washington Post, The Guardian, Los Angeles Times, Buzzfeed, Slate, and more. Freedman holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The New York Times calls Freedman's latest book, Into the Bright Sunshine, "Riveting...a superbly written tale of moral and political courage for present-day readers who find themselves in similarly dark times."