Friday, March 18, 2022

Truman 1944 speech in Lamar featured in upcoming book

A picture can tell so many stories, as does this one taken August 31, 1944 when Democratic vice presidential candidate Harry Truman was warmly greeted in Lamar, the city where he was born.
You can see the Plaza Theater, which is still a fixture on the Lamar Square and the long-forgotten Lamar Leader, a newspaper that offered token competition to Arthur Aull's Lamar Democrat.

Truman arrived at Lamar after opening a full day of activities with a breakfast at the Connor Hotel in Joplin, followed by visiting the troops at Camp Crowder in Neosho.

The speech he gave that evening was one of the most important speeches of Truman's political career. Because FDR was busy conducting the war, it was this speech, which was broadcast nationwide and was covered on page one of the New York Times, that launched the Democratic side of the presidential campaign. People would know for themselves whether this largely unknown senator was worthy of the trust that Roosevelt had in him.

Truman was not a gifted speaker and had a tendency to rush through his speeches. To keep that from happening, the man who served in the job that today would be called media coordinator, only put a few words on each page of his speech. Because Truman was continually having to change pages, it slowed his speech.

At the time the man who introduced Truman, Sen. Tom Connolly of Texas, was considered to be a great orator and it was feared that he would overshadow Truman.

Perhaps he did, but if you listen to those speeches (and they are available on YouTube), Connolly delivers his speech in the bombastic fashion of the day, while Truman's speech was delivered in a more conversational style that would be perfectly acceptable in modern politics.

The information about Harry Truman and Lamar, as well as Wyatt Earp, Gerald Gilkey, Tom O'Sullivan, the state champion Lamar High School football teams of 2011-2017, Arthur Aull and others will be included in my upcoming book, Only in Lamar, Missouri: Harry Truman, Wyatt Earp and Other Legendary Locals. The official publication date is Monday, April 11, but the first signing for it will be held five days earlier, Wednesday, April 6, from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Mary K. Finley Library in Lamar.

A signing will be held at Always Buying Books in Joplin later in the month.

For those former Lamar residents or history buffs who do not live in the area, the book, which is available in paperback and e-book formats, can be pre-ordered through Amazon and will be delivered April 11

Eleven years ago today: Death, destruction hit Joplin, Missouri

(This post was originally published on the Huffington Post and the Turner Report on May 23, 2011 and is included in the 10th anniversary edi...