chapter  6
Historians Debate Truman’s Civil Rights Record
Pages 14

Harry Truman’s record on civil rights, which included his decision tointegrate the military, has been debated by historians. The early historians (the historians writing in the late 1960s and early 1970s) who found much to admire about Truman’s civil rights legacy, focused their attention on his decision to integrate the military. The very first book that

came out on Truman’s civil rights legacy during this period was Richard Dalfiume’s Desegregation of the U.S. Armed Forces in 1969 and it argued that the combined efforts of Harry Truman, the Fahy Committee, and civil rights groups, as well as the Korean War, led to the successful integration of the military. In 1973 Donald McCoy and Richard Ruetten, in their well-researched book, Quest and Response, examined Truman’s civil rights record and regarded the President’s decision to integrate the military as the “most stunning achievement of the Truman era in the field of civil rights.”3