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Gardner, Michael R. 1942-

GARDNER, Michael R. 1942-


Born November 19, 1942, in Philadelphia, PA; married Theresa Lennon; children: two daughters. Education: Graduate of the College at Georgetown University, 1964, and Georgetown University Law School, 1977.


Home—Washington, DC. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Southern Illinois University Press, P.O. Box 3697, Carbondale, IL 62902-3697.


Attorney and author. Bracewell and Patterson (law firm), partner, 1977-82; Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer, and Feld (law firm), Washington, DC, partner, 1982-89; The Law Offices of Michael R. Gardner, P.C., Washington, DC, communications policy lawyer, 1990—. College of Georgetown University, Washington, DC, adjunct professor, 1992-2000. United States Ambassador to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Plenipotentiary Conference, Nairobi, Kenya, 1982; United States Telecommunications Training Institute (USTTI), founder and pro bono chair, 1982—; served on Presidential Commissions of Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, and George H. W. Bush, including President's Committee for Mental Retardation, Council of the Administrative Conference of the United States, Board of Directors of the Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corporation of Washington, DC, and International Cultural Trace Center Commission.


Conde Naste Award, Georgetown College, 1990; Chairman of the College Board of Advisors' Award, Georgetown University, 1996; Henry Adams Book Prize, Society for History in the Federal Government, 2003, for Harry Truman and Civil Rights: Moral Courage and Political Risks.


Harry Truman and Civil Rights: Moral Courage and Political Risks, forewords by George M. Elsey and Kweisi Mfume, Southern Illinois University Press (Carbondale, IL), 2002.


Michael R. Gardner is an attorney and a founder and chairperson of the United States Telecommunications Training Institute (USTTI), a nonprofit joint venture between ranking officials of the federal government and leaders of the communications industry. USTTI's goal is to share advances in technology and communications globally by providing communications training to people in developing countries. Since 1982, the USTTI has graduated 6,633 men and women who are now working to make modern communication a reality for their fellow citizens in 165 developing countries.

Gardner is also the author of an award-winning study, Harry Truman and Civil Rights: Moral Courage and Political Risks. Gardner had served on commissions during the terms of four presidents and also taught at Georgetown University, and his interest in presidential history is apparent in this volume, which offers a unique and uncommon perspective on Truman as a champion of civil rights. As Gardner notes, Truman was the first president to have an integrated inaugural during a period when the nation's capitol continued to be segregated and was the first president to accept a speaking invitation from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). During his seven years as president, Truman named the first black judge to the federal bench, ended segregation in the federal civil service and armed forces, desegregated Washington's public swimming pools, and, in 1953, delivered the commencement address at the historically black Howard University.

Michael S. Neiberg reviewed the book in American Studies International, noting that Gardner contends that Truman's commitment came from his personal experiences with prejudice in Missouri and the racist attitudes, including those of his mother, that he witnessed there. However, Neiberg called Truman's stance "more like a middle ground than a freshly blazed trail," noting that several of his key reversals of segregation were implemented just months before the 1948 election. Gardner maintains in the book that Truman opposed "the unholy alliance of Southern Democrats and conservative Republicans, risking his chance at the presidency in order to accomplish what was 'morally right.'"

In reviewing Harry Truman and Civil Rights for H-Net Reviews online, Peter M. Carrozzo stated that "Gardner's main contribution is to present a story that has been often overlooked by historians who credit other presidents for civil rights. To demonstrate the social impact of Truman's accomplishments, Gardner includes statements from people who were involved or affected." Carrozzo also noted, "An excellent source that Gardner uses with skill is the biography of White House butler Alonzo Fields. Fields's fond depiction of his friend Harry Truman speaks volumes about the President's true feelings."

Political Science Quarterly's Kevin J. McMahon found that Gardner "presents a forceful case for why Harry Truman deserves recognition as one of history's great champions of civil rights." The reviewer called the book "a captivating story. And Gardner tells it well."

Gardner told CA: "Growing up as I did in the nation's capital in the 1940s and 1950s, I saw firsthand how Washington, D.C., was an apartheid city in every respect. While I had little direct appreciation of the Truman Presidency during those early years, I was keenly aware of the racist environment that dominated Washington, D.C.

"While attending the College of Georgetown University in the early 1960s, I had the good fortune to work for Eunice Kennedy Shriver and to observe members of the Kennedy family. Subsequently, in the 1970s through my extensive work with Texas Governor John B. Connally, I was exposed to many of the Johnson and Nixon Administration officials with whom Connally worked. I also worked closely with the Reagan Administration in the 1980s. Based on the various relationships with several of the leading political forces of the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, I became aware of the considerable mythology that had taken root in this country about which president was the real pioneer of federal civil rights reform.

"Based on my lifelong interest in modern American presidents and my firsthand knowledge of the pervasive segregation in the Washington, D.C., of my youth, I determined to document the largely unheralded actions of Harry Truman as he tenaciously challenged segregationists in the Congress and throughout much of the country. After seven years of research that included extensive discussions with several key people who worked closely with Harry Truman in the White House, Harry Truman and Civil Rights: Moral Courage and Political Risks was published with forewords by Truman historian and former Truman White House staffer George Elsey, and NAACP president Kweisi Mfume. Importantly, for future presidential scholars and students of this country's ongoing civil rights struggle, Harry Truman and Civil Rights documents the fact that neither Franklin Delano Roosevelt, nor Harvard-educated John F. Kennedy, nor the great legislator Lyndon Johnson launched the modern federal civil rights movement; it was our plain talking, high-school educated, thirty-third President from a rural Missouri background—Harry Truman—who forever altered the racial landscape in American as he labored to ensure that all Americans enjoy the full protection of a colorblind Constitution."



American Studies International, October, 2002, Michael S. Neiberg, review of Harry Truman and Civil Rights: Moral Courage and Political Risks, p. 100.

Library Journal, March 1, 2002, William D. Pederson, review of Harry Truman and Civil Rights, p. 118.

Political Science Quarterly, fall, 2002, Kevin J. McMahon, review of Harry Truman and Civil Rights, p. 535.

Ruminator Review, spring, 2003, Sharon Kinney Hanson, review of Harry Truman and Civil Rights, p. 47.


Foreword Online Web site, (June 2, 2004), Karl Helicher, interview with Gardner.

H-Net Reviews Web site, (June 2, 2004), Peter M. Carrozzo, review of Harry Truman and Civil Rights.

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