The Roosevelts and Race: A Distance Learning Program

Registration is now open for two programs on February 18th: “The Roosevelts and Race in the 1930s and 40s” at 10:00–10:50 a.m. and 2:00–2:50 p.m. CST.

Despite overwhelming support from the African American electorate, FDR’s fear of losing the support of long-serving southern Democrats in Congress kept him from becoming a champion of civil rights.

This session will explore the Roosevelt record on race by highlighting three specific events: Mrs. Roosevelt’s 1939 resignation from the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR); Executive Order 8802, which ended discrimination in the defense industries; and the creation of the all-black 99th Pursuit Squadron, the “Tuskegee Airmen.”

People Gathered to Hear Singer Marian Anderson in Potomac Park
First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt worked to arrange this concert; 75,000 people gathered to hear Marian Anderson sing after she had been denied the right to perform at Constitution Hall.

“The Roosevelts and Race in the 1930s and 40s” is presented by the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum as part of the Presidential Primary Sources Project (PPSP).

The Presidential Primary Sources Project offers a series of free, 50-minute, interactive videoconferencing programs to students all over the world. PPSP is a collaboration between the National Park Service, U.S. Presidential Libraries and Museums, other cultural and historic organizations, and the Internet2 community.

Students will interact live with presidential historians at museums and Presidential Libraries and park rangers at our National Presidential Historic Sites to explore historical themes and events. This year’s PPSP theme is “Human and Civil Rights.” In addition to live interactive discussion, primary source documents will be used extensively during the presentations. Each program will also be live streamed (no registration required) and archived for on demand viewing.

Watch the archived program “President Truman and Civil Rights,” presented by the Harry S. Truman Library & Museum from February 4, 2015. The presentation examined primary sources from the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum and evaluated Truman’s response to the mistreatment of African American veterans.

Look for “Segregation and a Controversial Tea Party at the White House” presented by the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and The White House Historical Association coming up on March 13.

See the list of presentations by our Presidential Libraries on and the full presentation schedule from PPSP.

You can learn more about PPSP at or on the PPSP Facebook page.

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