March 26, 1960

The Honorable Harry S. Truman

Dear Fellow Democrat:

The undersigned fellow Democrats and long time admirers of your distinguished political career wish respectfully to convey our feelings regarding your recent statement reported in the public press on the subject of the sit down efforts to obtain the right of equal service for all persons irrespective of race or color.

We cannot believe that your statement has been correctly reported. We wish to point out that discrimination in public service and accomodations has been by law against the public policy in California since 1905. California law covers all places of public accomodation and amusement, including restaurants, eating houses, soda fountains, and theatres. If this were the state law in Missouri, a place of business could not lawfully refuse service to or evict a customer who seeks service on an equal basis with other customers.

We wish also to point out that the sit down crusade has been an orderly, non-violent effort on the part of customers to obtain their just right to equal accomodations and service. Disorder and violence have been engaged in by those attempting to deprive them of their rights.

Any disturbance or disorder which has arisen has been caused by those seeking to deprive citizens of their rights, many times by clubs and baseball bats in the hands of hoodlums and rowdy agitators. We would have preferred you to have labeled these persons with the descriptive words for which you have become famous.


The Honorable Harry S. Truman March 26, 1960

To describe any group of our citizenry as "not behaving" merely because they are engaged in a peaceful and lawful effort for human rights does injustice to our free institutions and way of life. Would you also consider Organized Labor's use of the strike, picket lines and boycott as misbehavior and un-American?

Surely you have overlooked, momentarily, we are certain, how deep and steeped in American tradition is the feeling for first class citizenship. It was your own Committee on Civil Rights which in 1946 contributed much to the rekindling of the fires of Justice, kept burning since by numerous Supreme Court decisions and other legislative and public actions upholding the very rights for which these citizens are now pleading in an orderly, non-violent manner.

We are sending you a copy of a House Resolution which we have introduced expressing the moral support of the California Assembly for this crusade for full and equal accomodations and service for all persons subject only to conditions and limitations established by law and applicable alike to all citizens.

Augustus F. Hawkins
Assemblyman, 62nd District
Edward E. Elliott
Assemblyman, 40th District
George E. Brown Jr.
Assemblyman, 45th District
Vernon Kilpatrick
assemblyman, 55th District
Phillip Bunton
Assemblyman-San Francisco
W. Byron Rumford
17th District, Berkeley
L.A. M.Millan
Assembly 61st Dist
Don A Allen Sr.
Assemblyman 63rd Dist
John A OConnell
Assemblyman 23d Dist