This will be a technology-based, analysis, assignment that will focus on primary source documents of President Truman’s viewpoints on race and letters that Brooklyn Dodgers Hall-of-Famer Jackie Robinson wrote to former Presidents, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon advocating for advancements of Civil Rights in American society.
- According to the U.S. National Archives and Administration Association: Robinson, proud of being black, challenged racial pretensions throughout his life. As a child he fought with rocks against taunting neighbors; as an adolescent he went to jail for a traffic altercation involving a white motorist; and as a college star in four sports, he took no guff from race-baiting competitors. As an Army lieutenant, he so resisted efforts to make him move to the back of a southern bus that he eventually faced court-martial proceedings (where he was found innocent); and as a ball player, he railed against teams and individuals he believed to be racist. This vigilance against racial wrongdoing was a legacy he wanted to pass on to his children--to be willing to stand up for what they believed and to lawfully press for their rights as full-fledged Americans who happened to be black.
- Students only see Jackie Robinson as a black, baseball player. They know he endures a lot during his playing days thanks especially to such films as 42 by Brian Helgeland. However, students need to see that he was even more active in Civil Rights for groups of people after his playing days by speaking out about pros and cons on issues such as the escalation of Civil Rights for African-Americans over time and the Vietnam War. Likewise, Presidents such as Harry S. Truman will be viewed on race-relations during their respective time periods.
- The student will be able to understand the relationships between Robinson and some of our former Presidents concerning Civil Rights.
- The student will be able to understand the changing social landscape in the United States from the 1940s through the 1970s.
- The student will be able to evaluate not only Jackie Robinson as a baseball player, but his strong character off the baseball diamond.
Social Studies Grade - and Course-Level Expectations 2.0 for the State of Missouri
- Analyze the evolution of American democracy, its ideas, institutions, and political processes from Reconstruction to the present including: 2. Struggle for Civil Rights SS3 1.6, 1.9
- Explain the importance of the following principles of government since Reconstruction 2. Constitution and civil rights SS3 1.10
- Describe and evaluate the evolution of United States domestic and foreign policies from Reconstruction to the present, including 7. Cold War SS3 1.6, 1.9, 3.5, 3.6
- Describe the changing character of American society and culture (i.e., arts and literature, education and philosophy, religion and values, and science and technology SS3 1.9, 1.10
- Compare and contrast the major ideas and beliefs of different cultures SS6 1.6
- Analyze how the roles of class, ethnic, racial, gender and age groups have changed in society, including causes and effects SS6 1.6
- Predict the consequences that can occur when: 1. Institutions fail to meet the needs of individuals and groups 2. Individuals fail to carry out their personal responsibilities SS6 3.1
- Determine the causes, consequences, and possible resolutions of cultural conflicts SS6 3.6
- The film 42 by Brian Helgeland
The story of Jackie Robinson from his signing with the Brooklyn Dodgers organization in 1945 to his historic 1947 rookie season when he broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball.
- Tygiel, Jules. Baseball’s Great Experiment: Jackie Robinson and His Legacy. Expanded ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997. This book describes one of the most important steps in the history of American desegregation, Tygiel tells the story of Jackie Robinson’s crossing of baseball’s color line. Examining the social and historical context of Robinson’s introduction into white organized baseball, both on and off the field and how he helped transform our national pastime into an integrated game. Drawing on dozens of interviews with players and front office executives, contemporary newspaper accounts, and personal papers, Tygiel provides the most telling and insightful account of Jackie Robinson’s influence on American baseball and society.
- Taylor, Jon E. Freedom to Serve: Truman, Civil Rights, and Executive Order 9981 (Critical Moments in American History) New York: Routledge, 2013.
Taylor traces the development of civil rights policy in the American military from the World War II era
to the present, focusing on the civil rights campaigns that pressured the Franklin D. Roosevelt and
Truman administrations for faster and greater change.
- 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 Pendergast 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, http://www.trumanlibrary.gov/library/public-papers/130/address-national-association-advancement-colored-people (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.
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 a