Truman Civil Rights Symposium



Opening Event: “To Secure These Rights”


Clifton Truman Daniel, Honorary Chairman, Truman Library Institute

Clifton Truman Daniel is the eldest grandson of President Harry S. Truman and First Lady Bess Wallace Truman. Daniel serves as honorary board chair of the Truman Library Institute, board secretary of the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation, and vice president of the Society of Presidential Descendants. Show more

He is the author of Growing Up with My Grandfather: Memories of Harry S. Truman and Dear Harry, Love Bess: Bess Truman’s Letters to Harry Truman, 1919-1943. In addition to portraying his famous grandfather in the one-man stage show, Give ‘Em Hell Harry, Daniel writes and lectures on the Truman presidency.

Linwood Ham, Director of Military and Veteran Affairs, The Boeing Company

Linwood Ham is Director of Military and Veteran Affairs for Boeing Global Engagement. He is responsible for the development and execution of programs that positively impact the veteran and military family community from both a charitable grant and sponsorship standpoint. He is also responsible for leading the Boeing Global Engagement relationship with Talent Management and other Boeing stakeholders in support of veteran recruitment and hiring programs. Show more

Previously, Ham worked at the Institute for Security Governance, where he led and guided Institutional Capacity Building programs in the Indo-Pacific region. He also worked for the U.S. Institute of Peace, where he led inter-organizational projects on addressing fragile states; understanding risks to U.S. front line diplomats and development professionals; and UN peacekeeping reform. He served over 24 years in the U.S. Army, with more than 12 years of experience in developing, executing, and assessing national policy directives at the U.S. Department of Defense and U.S. Department of State.

Josh Earnest, Former White House Press Secretary

Josh Earnest is the Senior Vice President and Chief Communications Officer for United Airlines, a position he's held since 2018. Previously, Earnest served as the 29th White House Press Secretary under President Barack Obama from 2014-2017. Show more

Educated at Rice University, Earnest is a veteran of political campaigns at the local, state and national levels, and was part of the Obama White House from the first day to the last. He serves on the Board of Trustees of Rice University, the Board of Trustees of the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago and the Board of Directors of the Truman Library Institute.

Alex Burden, Executive Director, Truman Library Institute

Alex Burden is the Executive Director of the Truman Library Institute, the member-supported, nonprofit partner of the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum. Show more

For more than two decades under Burden’s leadership, the Truman Library Institute has provided financial, programmatic, creative, and staffing assistance to make the Truman Library a dynamic center for the study of the presidency. Most recently, this includes raising over $55 million for the Stay TRU Capital Campaign, including $30 million for the largest museum renovation since the Library’s doors opened in 1957. Burden also led the Truman Statue Campaign to fund, create and install a bronze statue of President Truman in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda.

U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel

Richard Mark Gergel is a U.S. District Judge for the District of South Carolina. His book, "Unexampled Courage: The Blinding of Sgt. Isaac Woodard and the Awakening of President Harry S. Truman and Judge J. Waties Waring," was the basis for the PBS American Experience documentary, "The Blinding of Isaac Woodard." Show more

Judge Gergel currently presides in the same Charleston, South Carolina, courthouse where Judge Waring heard arguments from President Truman’s Justice Department against a police officer who beat and blinded Sgt. Isaac Woodard, a decorated Black World War II veteran hours after he had been honorably discharged. Though an all-white jury acquitted the police officer, the case served as a turning point for both President Truman and Judge Waring, leading to the establishment of the first Presidential Commission on Civil Rights. Judge Gergel was nominated to the U.S. District Court bench by President Barak Obama and was confirmed unanimously by the U.S. Senate in August 2010. He earned undergraduate and law degrees from Duke University.

Dr. Carla Hayden, Librarian of Congress

As the first woman and the first Black American to lead the national library, Dr. Carla Hayden was nominated to the position by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate on July 13, 2016. Show more

Previously, Dr. Hayden served as CEO of the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, Maryland. She was nominated by President Obama to the National Museum and Library Services Board and confirmed by the Senate in June 2010. Prior to joining the Pratt Library, Dr. Hayden was deputy commissioner and chief librarian of the Chicago Public Library (1991 to 1993). She was an assistant professor for Library and Information Science at the University of Pittsburgh (1987 to 1991) and library services coordinator for the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago (1982 to 1987). Dr. Hayden began her career with the Chicago Public Library as the young adult services coordinator (1979 to 1982) and as a children’s librarian (1973 to 1979). Dr. Hayden was president of the American Library Association (2003 to 2004). In 1995, she was the first Black American to receive Library Journal’s Librarian of the Year Award in recognition of her outreach services at the Pratt Library, which included an after-school center for Baltimore teens offering homework assistance and college and career counseling. She received a B.A. from Roosevelt University and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the Graduate Library School of the University of Chicago.

Rep. James E. Clyburn, Assistant Democratic Leader in the U.S. House of Representatives

James (Jim) Clyburn is the Assistant Democratic Leader, the third ranking Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Previously, he served in the post from 2011 to 2019 and was elected House Majority Whip (2019 to 2023; 2007 to 2010) — the first Black American to serve multiple terms as Majority Whip. Show more

As the representative for South Carolina’s 6th Congressional District since 1993, he is currently serving his 16th term. Growing up in South Carolina during a time of intense racial discrimination and segregation, Congressman Clyburn began his civil rights work as president of the NAACP local youth chapter at age 12. He participated in many civil rights demonstrations, including a 1961 march on the South Carolina State House, for which he was jailed. Congressman Clyburn graduated from South Carolina State College the same year and began his career as a public-school history teacher and then directed two community development programs before joining the staff of Governor John C. West in 1971 — becoming the first Black American advisor to a South Carolina governor. In 1974, Congressman Clyburn was appointed by West as the South Carolina Human Affairs Commissioner where he served until 1992 when he was elected to Congress. He served as Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus in 1998 and Vice Chair and Chair of the House Democratic Caucus in 2002. Congressman Clyburn’s numerous awards include the NAACP’s highest honor, the Spingarn Medal (2022); the Harry S Truman Foundation’s Good Neighbor Award (2021); and the Lyndon Baines Johnson Liberty and Justice for All Award (2015).



General Session Opening Remarks


Kari Frederickson, Professor of History, University of Alabama

Kari Frederickson is Professor of History at the University of Alabama. She writes extensively on the political, social, and cultural history of the American South. Show more

She is the author of three award-winning books, including The Dixiecrat Revolt and the End of the Solid South (2001) which won the Harry S. Truman Book Award in 2002; and Cold War Dixie: Militarization and Modernization in the American South (2013) which was awarded the Bennett H. Wall Award for the Best Book in in Economic History from the Southern Historical Association. Her most recent book, Deep South Dynasty: The Bankheads of Alabama, published last year, examines three generations of this once-powerful but now largely forgotten family who were the chief architects of the New South. Frederickson earned her PhD in History from Rutgers University.

Jason Parker, Professor of History, Texas A&M University

Jason Parker is Professor of History and Cornerstone Faculty Fellow at Texas A&M University. He earned his PhD at the University of Florida and taught at West Virginia University for five years before joining Texas A&M in 2007. Show more

He is the author of Hearts, Minds, Voices: U.S. Cold War Public Diplomacy and the Formation of the Third World (2016); Brother’s Keeper: The United States, Race, and Empire in the British Caribbean, 1937-1962 (2008) which won the SHAFR Bernath Book Prize; and articles in the Journal of American History, Diplomatic History, and the Journal of African American History, among others. His research has been supported by the Fulbright Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, the Smith Richardson Foundation, and other entities, including his current project: a global history of postwar federations. His professional service includes elected positions in the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR) and on the Board of Directors of the Truman Library Institute.

General Session I – The Black American Experience in the U.S. Armed Forces


Eugene Robinson, Columnist, The Washington Post

Eugene Robinson is a Pulitzer-Prize winning writer for The Washington Post where he writes a twice-weekly column focusing on politics and culture that is syndicated in 145 newspapers across the nation. Show more

In his three-decade career with The Post, Robinson has been city hall reporter, city editor, foreign correspondent in Buenos Aires and London, foreign editor, and assistant managing editor in charge of the paper’s Style section. Robinson is the author of Disintegration: The Splintering of Black America (2010), Last Dance in Havana (2004), and Coal to Cream: A Black Man’s Journey Beyond Color to an Affirmation of Race (1999). Robinson is also a commentator on NBC’s “Meet the Press” and also appears frequently on MSNBC, CNN and other media outlets.

Dr. Woody Holton, Professor of History, University of South Carolina

Dr. Woody Holton is the Peter and Bonnie McCausland Professor of History at the University of South Carolina and a leading scholar of the American Revolution. Show more

Dr. Holton is the author of Liberty Is Sweet: The Hidden History of the American Revolution, (2021) which he wrote as the Huntington Library’s Los Angeles Times Distinguished Fellow and as a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow. He is also the author of Unruly Americans and the Origins of the Constitution (2007), a finalist for the National Book Award; Abigail Adams (2009), which won the Bancroft Prize; and Forced Founders: Indians, Debtors, Slaves and the Making of the American Revolution in Virginia (1999), which won the Merle Curti Social History Award from the Organization of American Historians. His articles have appeared in the Journal of American History, the Journal of Southern History, and the Journal of the Early Republic. Dr. Holton earned a Ph.D. in History from Duke University.

Dr. Lorien Foote, Professor of History, Texas A&M University

Dr. Lorien Foote is the Patricia & Bookman Peters Professor in History at Texas A&M University. She has written extensively on the cultural, intellectual, and military history of the American Civil War. Show more

Rites of Retaliation: Civilization, Soldiers, and Campaigns in the American Civil War (2021) was awarded the Organization of American Historians Civil War and Reconstruction Book Award; The Yankee Plague: Escaped Union Prisoners and the Collapse of the Confederacy (2016) was a 2017 Choice Outstanding Academic Title; and The Gentlemen and the Roughs: Manhood, Honor, and Violence in the Union Army (2010) was a finalist and Honorable Mention for the 2011 Lincoln Prize. Dr. Foote is also the creator and principal investigator of a digital humanities project, which is mapping the escape and movement of 3000 federal prisoners of war. Dr. Foote earned a Ph.D. in History at the University of Oklahoma.

Dr. Thomas A. Guglielmo, Department Chair of American Studies, George Washington University

Dr. Thomas A. Guglielmo is the Professor and Department Chair of American Studies at George Washington University where he teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on race and racism, civil rights, immigration and World War II. Show more

His latest book, Divisions: A New History of Racism and Resistance in America’s World War II Military, won the Society for Military History’s Distinguished Book Award. His articles have appeared in the Journal of American History, the American Journal of Sociology, the Journal of American Ethnic History and other publications. Dr. Guglielmo’s research has been supported by Stanford University’s Research Institute for the Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity and by Harvard University’s Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History. He currently serves as an Organization of American Historians Distinguished Lecturer. Dr. Guglielmo earned a Ph.D. in History from the University of Michigan.

Dr. Adriane D. Lentz-Smith, Associate Professor of History and African American Studies, Duke University

Dr. Adriane Lentz-Smith is an Associate Professor of History and African American studies at Duke University where her courses include the Civil Rights Movement, Black Lives, Modern America, and History in Fact and Fiction. Show more

She is also a Senior Fellow in Duke’s Kenan Institute for Ethics. Dr. Lentz-Smith is the author of Freedom Struggles: African Americans and World War I (2009). She appeared in the PBS American Experience “Voice of Freedom” documentary and has served as an historical consultant for the BBC HistoryExtra podcast series on the civil rights movement. She has published articles on modern U.S. history and Black struggles for civil and human rights in Southern Cultures, Modern American History, and American Quarterly. Dr. Lentz-Smith earned a B.A. in History from Harvard-Radcliffe and a Ph.D. in History from Yale University.

General Session II – The Right to Fight: The Implementation and Impact of Executive Order 9981


Michele Norris, Columnist, The Washington Post

Michele Norris is regarded as one of the most trusted voices in journalism. Currently a columnist for The Washington Post, Norris was the host of National Public Radio’s afternoon magazine show, All Things Considered, from 2002 to 2012. Show more

She later served as a special correspondent for NPR covering race and identity in America. Previously, Norris worked for a decade as a television correspondent for ABC News in the Washington Bureau. Prior to that, she was a staff writer for The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times. She also has done reporting projects for Time, National Geographic, PBS and Lifetime Television. Norris has won Emmy, DuPont and Livingston awards for her work. In 2009, she was named “Journalist of the Year” by the National Association of Black Journalists and Essence Magazine’s “25 Most Influential Black Americans.” In 2010, Norris started The Race Card Project where she asks people around the world to share their experiences, questions, hopes, laments and observations about identity — in just six words — as the starting point for conversations about race. In partnership with NPR, Norris produced a series of radio segments based on The Race Card Project narratives that were honored with a Peabody Award. Norris is also the author of The Grace of Silence, a book that examines how hidden narratives around race can have a profound and lasting impact.

Dr. David P. Cline, Professor of History, San Diego State University

Dr. David P. Cline is Professor of History at San Diego State University and the Founding Director of the SDSU Center for Public and Oral History. From 2013-2020, he was a Lead Interviewer and Research Scholar for the Civil Rights History Project of the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian Institute’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. Show more

His book, Twice Forgotten: African Americans in the Korean War, An Oral History (2022), was nominated for the Oral History Association Book Award and the Museum of African American History Stone Book Award. Cline is also the author of From Revolution to Reconciliation: The Student Interracial Ministry, Liberal Christianity, and the Civil Rights Movement (2016) that was nominated for the 2017 Oral History Association Book Prize. Dr. Cline earned a Ph.D. in Philosophy from North Carolina at Chapel Hill and M.A. in U.S. History from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Dr. Robert F. Jefferson, Jr., Associate Professor of History, University of New Mexico

Dr. Robert F. Jefferson, Jr., is an Associate Professor of History at the University of New Mexico. Show more

He is the author of Brothers in Valor: Battlefield Stories of the 89 African Americans Awarded the Medal of Honor (2018); and Fighting for Hope: African American Troops and the 93rd Infantry Division in World War II and Postwar America (2008), which was nominated for the William Colby Book Prize. He is also the editor of Black Veterans, Politics, and Civil Rights in Twentieth Century America: Closing Ranks (2019). In 2019, Jefferson was a Fulbright scholar in Denmark where he was the Distinguished Chair of American Studies at the University of Southern Denmark at Odense. He is a participating speaker in the Organization of American Historians’ Distinguished Lectureship Program and earned a Ph.D. in American History from the University of Michigan.

Dr. Kyle Longley, Professor of History, Chapman University

Dr. Kyle Longley is the Henry Salvatori Professor of American Values and Traditions, professor of history, and director of the War, Diplomacy, and Society Program at Chapman University, joining the faculty in 2020 after more than two decades at Arizona State University. Show more

He also serves as the executive director of the Society of Military History. Longley has published nine books on topics ranging from the American presidency to U.S.-Latin American relations. His most recent works include In Harm’s Way: A History of the American Military Experience (co-author, 2019); LBJ’s 1968: Power, Politics, and the Presidency in America’s Year of Upheaval (2018); The Morenci Marines: A Tale of a Small Town and the Vietnam War (2013); and Grunts: The American Combat Soldier in Vietnam (2008; 2nd edition, 2020). Dr. Longley has received numerous accolades including the Centennial Professorship for outstanding teaching by the Associated Students of Arizona State University; the Zebulon Pearce Award for Outstanding Teacher in the Humanities at ASU; and a Kappa Alpha Fraternity National Teacher of the Year award. Longley earned an M.A from Texas Tech University and Ph.D. in History from the University of Kentucky.

Dr. Sabrina Thomas, Associate Professor of History, Texas Tech University

Dr. Sabrina Thomas is an Associate Professor of African American History and War and Society at Texas Tech University. Show more

Her book, Scars of War: The Politics of Paternity and Responsibility for the Amerasians of Vietnam (2021), was awarded the 2021 “Best First Book” prize from Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society and was nominated for the Bancroft Prize. Her articles have been published in the Journal of American-East Asian Relations and the Cambridge History of War and Society in America, among others. Previously, Dr. Thomas was the David A. Moore Chair of American History and Associate Professor at Wabash College. She earned a B.A. in History from Colorado State University, M.S. in Counseling from Butler University, and Ph.D. in History from Arizona State University.

General Session III – Veteran Voices: Desegregation’s Impact on the Individual Experience


Rawn James, Jr., author and lawyer

A graduate of Yale University and Duke University School of Law, Rawn James has practiced law for two decades in Washington, D.C. Show more

He is the author of The Double V: How Wars, Protest and Harry Truman Desegregated America’s Military. The book examines the remarkable history of how the struggle for equality in the military helped drive the fight for equality in civilian society. His previous books include Root and Branch: Charles Hamilton Houston, Thurgood Marshall and the Struggle to End Segregation and The Truman Court: Law and the Limits of Loyalty. A graduate of Yale University and Duke University School of Law, James has practiced law for two decades in Washington, D.C.

Ambassador John L. Estrada, U.S. Marine Corps

Ambassador John L. Estrada was nominated by President Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve as the U.S. Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago, the country of his birth, from 2016 to 2017. Show more

Previously, Ambassador Estrada was Senior Manager for Lockheed Martin Training Solutions (2008-2016). He served in the Marine Corps for 34 years, most notably as the 15th Sergeant Major, the nation’s highest-ranking enlisted Marine (2003 to 2007), during the height of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. As Sergeant Major, he also served the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, Marine Corps Air Station Miramar (2001-2003); Recruit Training Regiment at Parris Island (2000-2001); Recruiting Station in Sacramento, (1998-2000); and the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines Division at Camp Pendleton (1995-1998). Amb. Estrada also served on the American Battle Monuments Commission and on the board of directors for Operation Homefront.

Admiral (Ret) Michelle J. Howard, U.S. Navy

A ground-breaking leader during her 35-year career in the U.S. Navy, Admiral Michelle Howard is the first woman to achieve the rank of four-star admiral and the first woman to be appointed to the position of vice chief of naval operations (the second highest rank in the Navy). Show more

She is also the first Black woman to reach the rank of three and four stars in any branch of the U.S. Armed Forces and the first Black woman to command a ship in the Navy. A veteran of operations that included NATO peacekeeping, Indonesia tsunami relief, Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom, Admiral Howard was thrust into the international spotlight in 2009 as leader of the counter-piracy task force that rescued civilian Captain Richard Phillips from Somali pirates. The rescue was later depicted in the film Captain Phillips. Admiral Howard is a former visiting professor at the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University where she focused on the cyber domain and associated issues in strategy and policy. The appointment highlighted a distinguished career in national defense within the areas of operations, readiness, and strategic planning. Admiral Howard led Sailors and Marines multiple times in her career as the commander of a ship, an expeditionary task force and a naval theater. This culminated in her final post as Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe and U.S. Naval Forces Africa, in which she simultaneously led NATO’s Allied Joint Force Command Naples with oversight of missions from the Western Balkans to Iraq. Admiral Howard is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. She is the first woman graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy to become an admiral.

Brigadier General Terrance A. Adams, U.S. Air Force

Brigadier General Terrence A. Adams is the Director of Cyberspace Operations and Warfighter Communications for the U.S. Air Force. Show more

After six years in the U.S. Army, Brigadier General Adams entered the Air Force through the Reserve Officer Training Corps at Alabama State University. He commanded six times at the squadron, group, and wing levels — three of these commands while deployed. Most recently, he served as Commander, 628th Air Base Wing, and Commander, Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina. Brigadier General Adams deployed to Seeb Air Base, Oman, Kirkuk AB, Iraq, Ali AB, Iraq, and Al Udeid AB, Qatar in support of operations Southern Watch, Iraq Freedom, Enduring Freedom, New Dawn, and Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa. Prior to his current position, he served the Special Assistant, Cyber Effects Operations at the U.S. Air Force Headquarters at the Pentagon. He earned a B.S. in Computer Information Systems from Auburn University, an MBA from Troy University, an M.S. from the National Security Strategy National War College, and a Master of Military Operational Art and Science from the Air Command and Staff College.

Brigadier General (Ret) Donald Scott, U.S. Army

Following a 30-year career in the U.S. Army, Brigadier General Scott served as Chief of Staff for the mayor of Atlanta before being appointed by President Clinton as the founding director of AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps in 1993. Show more

In 1996, he was appointed Deputy Librarian and Chief Operating Office for the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, until he retired in 2006. His early Army career included stints in Germany and two tours in Vietnam. From 1988-1991, Brigadier General Scott managed a staff of 400 at Fort Gillem in Georgia where he led operational and training support for Reserve and National Guard units in the southeastern U.S. and the Virgin Islands. He expanded cooperative ventures between military and local business communities, coordinated the emergency operation center for the cleanup after Hurricane Hugo and managed the activation of individuals and units in response to Operation Desert Storm. Brigadier General Scott was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, six Bronze Stars and the Combat Infantryman’s Badge. He is the author of Recipient of Grace (2015), a memoir spanning the racial segregation in the 1930s to the election of President Obama. Brigadier General Scott earned an M.A. in Counseling and Human Development from Troy State University. He serves on the board of directors for the Truman Library Institute.

Keynote Event


David Von Drehle, Columnist, The Washington Post

David Von Drehle is a deputy opinion editor and columnist for The Washington Post where he writes about national affairs and politics. He joined The Post in 2017 after a decade at TIME magazine, where he wrote more than 60 cover stories as editor-at-large. Show more

He is the author of a number of books, including Rising to Greatness: Abraham Lincoln and America’s Most Perilous Year; the award-winning bestseller Triangle: The Fire That Changed America; and most recently, New York Times best seller The Book of Charlie. He serves on the board of directors for the Truman Library Institute.

Ted Colbert, President and CEO, Boeing Defense, Space and Security

Ted Colbert is executive vice president of The Boeing Company and president and chief executive officer of Boeing Defense, Space & Security, which provides solutions for defense, government, space, intelligence, and security customers worldwide. Show more

Previously, Colbert was president and chief executive officer of Global Services with responsibility for leading Boeing’s aerospace services development and delivery model for commercial, government and aviation industry customers worldwide. Prior to that role, Colbert was chief information officer and senior vice president of Information Technology & Data Analytics. Colbert is a member of the Executive Leadership Council (ELC) and serves on the board of directors of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus Advisory Board, and New Leaders, where he serves as board chair. In 2022, The Black Engineer of the Year Awards (BEYA) named Colbert Black Engineer of the Year, the organization’s top honor. Colbert completed the Dual Degree Engineering Program at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Morehouse College with bachelor degrees in industrial and systems engineering and interdisciplinary science.

Dr. Kurt Graham, Director, Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum

Dr. Kurt Graham is the director of the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum in Independence, Missouri. Previously, Dr. Graham was the director of the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City, Utah, and director of the McCracken Research Library at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming. Show more

Prior to his work in the public history field, Dr. Graham taught undergraduate and graduate courses in American political and constitutional history at California State University, San Bernardino.

Dr. Colleen Shogan, Archivist of the United States

Nominated by President Biden, she was sworn in as the 11th Archivist of the United States, Dr. Colleen Shogan was sworn in May 17, 2023. Most recently, Dr. Shogan served as Senior Vice President and Director of the David M. Rubenstein Center at the White House Historical Association. Show more

She previously worked in the U.S. Senate and as a senior executive at the Library of Congress. Dr. Shogan was the Vice Chair of the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission and the Chair of the Board of Directors at the Women’s Suffrage National Monument Foundation. She taught at Georgetown University in the Government Department and moderated seminars for the Aspen Institute. She is the previous president of the National Capital Area Political Science Association and served on the American Political Science Association Council, the governing body of the organization. Her research focuses on the American Presidency, presidential rhetoric, women in politics, and Congress. Dr. Shogan earned a BA in Political Science from Boston College and a Ph.D. in American Politics from Yale University, where she was a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, the Order of the Cross and Crown, and the Washington, D.C. Literary Society.

Admiral Linda L. Fagan, 27th Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard

Admiral Linda L. Fagan assumed the duties as the 27th Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard on June 1, 2022. As Commandant, she oversees all global Coast Guard operations and 42,000 active-duty, 7,000 reserve, and 8,700 civilian personnel, as well as the support of 21,000 Coast Guard Auxiliary volunteers. Show more

She previously served as the 32nd Vice Commandant. Prior flag assignments include Commander, Pacific Area, and Commander, Coast Guard Defense Force West; Deputy Commandant for Operations, Policy, and Capability; Commander, First Coast Guard District; and a joint assignment as Deputy Director of Operations for Headquarters, United States Northern Command.  Adm. Fagan has served on all seven continents, from the snows of Ross Island, Antarctica to the heart of Africa, from Tokyo to Geneva, and in many ports along the way. Operational tours include Commander, Sector New York, more than 15 years as a Marine Inspector, and sea duty in USCGC POLAR STAR, a 399 ft heavy polar icebreaker. Staff assignments include Executive Assistant to the Commandant and Vice Commandant, and Division Chief of the Foreign and Offshore Compliance Office.

Admiral Fagan earned a B.S. in Marine Science from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, a Master of Science in Marine Affairs from the University of Washington, and a Master in National Resource Strategy from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. She is the longest serving active duty Marine Safety Officer and holds the distinction of being the Coast Guard’s first-ever Gold Ancient Trident.


U.S. Representative Emanuel Cleaver II is now serving his tenth term representing Missouri’s 5th Congressional District, the home district of President Harry S. Truman. He is a member of the House Financial Services Committee and Ranking Member of the House Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance. Show more

During the 112th Congress, he was unanimously elected the 20th chair of the Congressional Black Caucus. Congressman Cleaver serves as an honorary co-chair of the Truman Civil Rights Symposium and was instrumental in spearheading the Truman Statue Campaign led by the Truman Library Institute to install a bronze statue of President Harry S. Truman in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda on September 29, 2022. In 1991, Congressman Cleaver was elected as Kansas City’s first Black mayor after serving for 12 years on the city council.

President Joe Biden

The 46th president of the United States of America, Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr. was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, the first of four children of Catherine Eugenia Finnegan Biden and Joseph Robinette Biden, Sr. In 1953, the Biden family moved to Claymont, Delaware. President Biden graduated from the University of Delaware and Syracuse Law School and served on the New Castle County Council. Show more

At age 29, President Biden became one of the youngest people ever elected to the United States Senate. Just weeks after his Senate election, tragedy struck the Biden family when his wife Neilia and daughter Naomi were killed, and sons Hunter and Beau were critically injured, in an auto accident.

Biden was sworn into the U.S. Senate at his sons’ hospital bedsides and began commuting from Wilmington to Washington every day, first by car, and then by train, in order to be with his family. He would continue to do so throughout his time in the Senate.

Biden married Jill Jacobs in 1977, and in 1980, their family was complete with the birth of Ashley Blazer Biden. A lifelong educator, Jill earned her doctorate in education and returned to teaching as an English professor at a community college in Virginia.

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General Session Opening Remarks


Patrick Ottensmeyer, Board Chairman, Truman Library Institute

Patrick Ottensmeyer is the board chairman of the Truman Library Institute. He served as President and CEO of Kansas City Southern, a Class I railroad, from 2015 to 2023, until the completion of the merger creating Canadian Pacific Kansas City in 2023. Show more

Previously Ottensmeyer has been Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing and Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at the railroad. He is the U.S. Chairman of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s U.S.-Mexico Economic Council, where he was instrumental in representing business interests during the formation of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) from 2017-2020. In 2023, he received the NARS Edward R. Hamberger Lifetime Achievement Award and in 2022, he was the recipient of Ingram’s Executive of the Year Award Railway Age’s Co-Railroaders of the Year Award, along with Keith Creel in connection with the CP and KCS merger.

Kevin Young, Director, National Museum of African American History & Culture

Kevin Young is the Andrew W. Mellon Director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. Previously, Young served as the Director of the New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. An award-winning author of fourteen books of poetry and prose, Young is the poetry editor of The New Yorker, where he also hosts the poetry podcast. Show more

 His work includes Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts & Fake News (2017), which was longlisted for the National Book Award and a National Book Critics Circle Award, and an edited anthology African American Poetry: 250 Years of Struggle & Song, named one of the best books of 2020 by The New York Times Book Review, Esquire, TIME, the Atlantic, and Good Morning America, among others.

Terry Babcock-Lumish, Executive Secretary, Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation

Since 2019, Dr. Terry Babcock-Lumish has directed the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation, an independent federal agency that provides merit-based scholarships to college students pursuing graduate school in preparation for careers in public service. Show more

Before joining the Truman Foundation, Dr. Babcock-Lumish led Islay Consulting LLC, a certified minority and women-owned small business she founded in 2005 to provide strategic guidance for philanthropic foundations and other mission-driven organizations across six continents. She completed her B.S. at Carnegie Mellon University, where she was named a Truman Scholar in 1996. She earned an MPA in environmental and technology policy as a Lilly Community Assistance Fellow at Indiana University’s O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs. She earned her D.Phil. in economic geography at the University of Oxford as a Clarendon Scholar.

General Session IV – The Future of Inclusion: Equal Opportunity in Today’s Military—and Tomorrow’s


Commander (Ret) Theodore "Ted" R. Johnson, Senior Advisor, New America

Commander (Ret) Theodore "Ted" R. Johnson is a Senior Advisor at New America, leading its flagship Us@250 initiative marking the nation’s semiquincentennial in 2026, and a columnist at The Washington Post. Show more

Previously, he was a senior fellow and Director of the Fellows Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at the NYU School of Law, where he undertook research on race, politics, and American identity. He is a retired Commander in the U.S. Navy following a two-decade career that included service as a White House Fellow in the first Obama Administration and speechwriter to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. His writing on race relations has appeared in prominent national publications, including The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, The Wall Street Journal, Politico and National Review. Johnson also writes a column for The Bulwark, which highlights relevant academic research on how race continues to operate in America. He is the author of When the Stars Begin to Fall: Overcoming Racism and Renewing the Promise of America (2021). Commander Johnson earned a B.S. in Mathematics from Hampton University and an ALM with a concentration in International Relations from Harvard University, and a Doctorate of Law and Policy from Northeastern University.

Secretary Anthony Woods, Maryland Secretary of Veteran Affairs

Anthony Woods serves as Secretary of the Maryland Department of Veteran Affairs where he supports veterans, active-duty service members and their families in securing benefits earned through military service while advocating for veterans as business and civic leaders. Show more

Secretary Woods is a U.S. Army veteran with two deployments to Iraq where he earned a Bronze Star. In 2008, he was discharged from the Army under the military’s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy that barred members of the LGBTQ community from serving openly in the military. After working with advocates to repeal the law, Secretary Woods resumed his military service as a Major in the U.S. Army Reserves where he currently serves as an intelligence analyst for the Joint Staff at the Pentagon. Previously, Secretary Woods served four years on Veterans Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald’s Advisory Committee on Minority Veterans. He also served as a White House Fellow under President Obama and as a member of the Race, Equity, and Inclusion Advisory Board for Blue Star Families, a national advocacy for military families. Secretary Woods founded the Quad Fellowship at Schmidt Futures, a philanthropic initiative of former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, to build ties among the next generation of scientists from the U.S., Australia, Japan, and India. In the private sector, he worked at Cisco Systems, The Boston Consulting Group, and Capital One. Woods earned a B.S. in Economics and Political Science from West Point, a Master in Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and an Executive MBA from the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business.

Dr. Kori Schake, Senior Fellow and Director of Foreign and Defense Policy Studies, American Enterprise Institute

Dr. Kori Schake is a senior fellow and the Director of Foreign and Defense Policy Studies at the American Enterprise Institute. Her distinguished career in government includes work at the U.S. State Department, the U.S. Department of Defense, and the National Security Council. Show more

She has also taught at Stanford University, West Point, Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, National Defense University, and the University of Maryland. Dr. Schake is the author of five books: America vs the West: Can the Liberal World Order Be Preserved? (2018); Safe Passage: The Transition from British to American Hegemony (2017); State of Disrepair: Fixing the Culture and Practices of the State Department (2012); and Managing American Hegemony: Essays on Power in a Time of Dominance (2009). She is also the co-editor, along with former Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, of Warriors & Citizens: American Views of Our Military (2016). She has been widely published in policy journals and in the media including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, Foreign Affairs, Politico and The Washington Post. She is a contributing writer for The Atlantic and War on the Rocks. Dr. Schake earned a B.A. in International Relations from Stanford University, M.A. and Ph.D. in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland, and MPM from the University of Maryland School of Public Policy.

Captain (Ret) Dr. Cynthia Macri, M.D., FACS, FACOG, U.S. Navy Department of Veterans Affairs Advisory Committee on Women Veterans

With over 35 years of active military service, Captain (Ret) Cynthia Macri was appointed in 2022 to the Department of Veterans Affairs Advisory Committee on Women Veterans where she advises the Secretary of Veterans Affairs on benefits and services for women veterans. Show more

She also serves on the Maryland State Veterans Commission and the Maryland Governor’s Commission on Suicide Prevention. Captain Macri is also Vice President for Education and Integrative Health for LIFT A VET, a nonprofit dedicated to assisting veterans through advocacy, education and employment. As a board certified gynecologic oncologist, she has served leadership roles at the National Naval Medical Center, the U.S. Naval Hospital in Jacksonville, Fl.; Walter Reed Army Medical Center (Washington, DC); the Naval Medical Education and Training Command; and the Uniformed Services University. Captain Macri previously served as the Special Assistant to the Chief of Naval Operations for Diversity during her last tour of duty. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Asian American Inter-Community Service and the Executive Committee for the Japanese American Veterans Association. She is also Chief Medical Officer for EagleForce Health, a big data analytics firm. Captain Macri earned an undergraduate degree from Lehigh University and M.D. from Temple University School of Medicine.

Lieutenant Colonel (Ret) Jason Dempsey, Executive Director, Center for Veteran Transition and Integration, Columbia University

Lieutenant Colonel (Ret) Jason Dempsey is one of the nation’s leading experts on military demographics and civilian-military relations as the Executive Director at Columbia University's Center for Veteran Transition and Integration. Show more

As an infantry officer in the U.S. Army, he served in the 82nd Airborne Division, the 75th Ranger Regiment, and deployed to Kuwait as a company commander with the 3rd Infantry Division, in addition to graduating with honors from the Amphibious Warfare School of the United States Marine Corps. His later operational assignments included a short tour in Iraq and deployments to Afghanistan with the 10th Mountain and the 101st Airborne Divisions. In 2001,he arrived at Columbia University to begin his studies before beginning a teaching assignment at West Point, where he taught courses in American politics and American civil-military relations while conducting research that would lead to his book, Our Army: Soldiers, Politics, and American Civil-Military Relations.

Between tours to Afghanistan in 2009 and 2012, Lt. Col Dempsey spent two years in the White House where he initially served as the First Lady’s White House Fellow and was put on point to take the broad concept of military family support and turn it into Joining Forces, the First Lady and Dr. Biden’s comprehensive national initiative to mobilize all sectors of society to support service members and their families. He also coordinated 17 government agencies working to improve the lives of military families under Presidential Study Directive 9: Strengthening Our Military Families. As special assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he conceived and drafted the Call to Continued Service, a statement signed by all of the Joint Chiefs imploring service members to continued service as veterans. Lt. Col. Dempsey writes and speaks on military issues, with articles and commentary on Serial, The Washington Post, PBS, Politico, NPR, Stars and Stripes, Task & Purpose, among others. He is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and earned a Doctorate in Political Science from Columbia University.



Air Force Chief of Staff General Charles Q. Brown, Jr.

General CQ Brown, Jr. is the Chief of Staff of the Air Force. As Chief, he serves as the senior uniformed Air Force officer responsible for organizing, training, and equipping nearly 689,000 Active Duty, Guard, Reserve, and Civilian forces in the United States and overseas. Show more

As a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the general and other service chiefs function as military advisers to the Secretary of Defense, the National Security Council, and the President.


General Brown was commissioned in 1984 as a distinguished graduate of the ROTC program at Texas Tech University. He has served in various positions at the squadron and wing levels. Notably, General Brown has commanded a fighter squadron, the U.S. Air Force Weapons School, two fighter wings, U.S. Air Forces Central Command, and served as Deputy Commander, U.S. Central Command. Prior to serving as the Air Force Chief of Staff, General Brown was the commander of Pacific Air Forces, Air Component Commander for U.S. Indo-Pacific Command.

General Brown is a command pilot with over 3,000 flight hours, including 130 in combat, primarily in the F-16, and has flown 20 additional fixed and rotary-wing aircraft.

On May 25th, President Biden announced his nomination as the next Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the nation’s highest ranking military officer.