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Hubert Humphrey and the Fight for Civil Rights

August 23, 2023 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm EDT

Cover art for Into the Bright Sunshine: Young Hubert Humphrey & the Fight for Civil Rights

Journalist Samuel G. Freedman visits Westport to discuss his book, Into the Bright Sunshine: Young Hubert Humphrey and the Fight for Civil Rights, with Daniel Gross.

During one sweltering week in July 1948, the Democratic Party gathered in Philadelphia for its national convention. The most pressing and controversial issue facing the delegates was not whom to nominate for president — the incumbent, Harry Truman, was the presumptive candidate — but whether the Democrats would finally embrace the cause of civil rights and embed it in their official platform. Even under Franklin Roosevelt, the party had dodged the issue in order to keep a bloc of Southern segregationists — the so-called Dixiecrats — in the New Deal coalition.

To the surprise of many, including Humphrey himself, the delegates voted to adopt a meaningful civil rights plank. With no choice but to run on it, Truman seized the opportunity it offered, desegregating the armed forces and in November upsetting the frontrunner Thomas Dewey, a victory due in part to an unprecedented surge of Black voters. Here is a book that celebrates one of the overlooked landmarks of civil rights history, and illuminates the early life and enduring legacy of the man who helped bring it about.

PLEASE REGISTER TO ATTEND HERE.  Books will be available for sale and signing.

In case you missed the event, you may watch the recorded program here.

Samuel G. Freedman is an award-winning author, journalist, and educator. He has been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award and has won the National Jewish Book Award and the New York Public Library’s Helen Bernstein Award. His columns for The New York Times about education and religion have received national prizes. He is a professor at Columbia University and has been named the nation’s Outstanding Journalism Educator by the Society of Professional Journalists.

“Samuel Freedman, one of the great chroniclers of modern America, provides us with a fascinating history of racial liberalism in Cold War America, unpacking the origin story of Hubert Humphrey's pathbreaking speech at the 1948 Democratic National Convention. Capturing a pivotal moment in the history of civil rights politics, Freedman's book is a significant contribution to the literature on American politics.” — Julian Zelizer, Princeton University, author of The Fierce Urgency of Now

Listen to Samuel on NPR's Fresh Air

More Resources...

Civil Rights Movement
Fourteenth Amendment



August 23, 2023
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm EDT
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The Trefz Forum, The Westport Library
20 Jesup Road
Westport, CT 06880 United States
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