The First Amendment to the Constitution guarantees all Americans—children as well as adults—the right “to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
Andrew S. Evans wrote to President Harry S. Truman to voice his opposition to racially segregated playgrounds. The 11-year-old lived only“about three yds. from a white playground,” he wrote. But he was prohibited from using the playground and had to go to one “4 or 5 blocks away.”
Evans requested a response from Truman, but there is no record of a response.
In the same file is another letter from a child, J. Jagliarin, who writes:
I am 9 years old and I think it was a disgrace that in Washington 51 children were not let in to a hotel because 4 children were colored. The capital is supposed to be for freedom. I am proud to be an american but this makes me feel ashamed because in my own classroom we made up a play on brother hood.
Andrew S. Evans to President Truman, June 20, 1949. National Archives, Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum
J. Jagliarin to President Truman, May 28, 1948. National Archives, Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum