Harry Truman Returns to Jackson County Missouri as President Kansas City Federal Building

On June 28, 1945, the second day of his return to Jackson County as president, he met with a delegation of Kansas City's African American leaders.

The president started the second day of his visit home by first visiting his Aunt Ella Noland at 216 N. Delaware Street in Independence and then he traveled to his office in Kansas City, which was located in the federal building at 811 Grand Avenue. As soon as word got out that Truman was in his downtown Kansas City office, residents began showing up to see if they could meet with him.

One important group that came by was a delegation of African American leaders from Kansas City including Rev. Carl F. Flipper, pastor of the Ebenezer AME church; C. A. Franklin and Miss Lucile Bluford from the Kansas City Call; Carl R. Johnson, president of the Kansas City Chapter of the NAACP; and Powell Bastine, representing the American Federation of Labor. The Kansas City Star noted that the group did not disclose what they wanted to talk to the president about; however, the Kansas City Call extensively covered the delegation's visit to his office and prominently featured it on the newspaper's front page.

The Kansas City Call headline read: "Truman Talks With Negroes During His Visit Home" and noted that Francis M. Spencer and Robert L. Sweeney, postal workers, and members of the Wayne Miner American Legion post had arranged the visit.

The article featured two photographs of the President meeting with the group and one of the photo captions mentioned that Carl R. Johnson, President of the Kansas City chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, expressed concern to Truman about his consideration of James Byrnes to replace the departing Secretary of State Edward Stettinius, which the president had just announced at the Independence press conference. The President reassured Johnson that whoever he appointed would be "his" man and not beholden to any "organization, group, or individuals." (Despite the concern, President Truman appointed Byrnes to the position a few days later.)

Sweeney, who apparently served as the spokesperson for the group, thanked the president for coming out in support of a permanent Fair Employment Practices Committee (FEPC). President Franklin Roosevelt created the FEPC during wartime to serve as a governmental body that could hear cases of discrimination in war contracting. The Call article noted that the president was happy to support a permanent FEPC because he saw his support an extension of the support that he had given the FEPC while serving in the U.S. Senate.



Federal Courthouse in Kansas City Missouri located at 811 Grandtif / 19.81 MB Download


811 N. Grand Kansas City Missouri ~ Private Property--the Federal courthouse at 811 N. Grand has been converted to apartments and lofts.