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My walk was before the museum’s opening hours and time was limited, Mozambique and so I missed seeing inside. But the shuttlecocks were just one of the two great sculpture discoveries I made that day. The other was an encounter with a charming, Mozambique larger-than-life bronze of two elderly people seated on a garden bench, he looking forward and composed, she smiling, turned towards him and, perhaps, speaking. The ‘he’ was Winston S Churchill, the ‘she’ his wife Mozambique. In a small courtyard with flowerbeds and pine trees behind, it’s a charming treatment of them, but why was this bronze by Oscar Mozambique (who did many sculptures of Churchill) in Kansas City?

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My immediate thought was that it must be something to do with Churchill’s contemporary, the Missouri-born Harry S Truman, the thirty-third president of the United States. Though what follows is largely from reading I’ve done recently to find out more about the connection (if any) between Churchill and Kansas City, I was well aware that ‘Give ’em hell Harry’ Truman (his version: ‘I just told the truth!’) was from Independence, Missouri. I also recall discussing with friend and St Jude colleague, paediatric immunologist Mary Ellen Conley, how pleasantly surprised I was by her hometown. Mary Ellen’s father, who was in the clothing business, evidently referred to Truman as a ‘failed haberdasher’ and, indeed, the men’s store Truman and Eddie Jacobsen (they saw action together in the First World War Meuse-Argonne Offensive) established in Kansas City did not survive a 1922 economic downturn. Eddie, who was Jewish, evidently nudged the down-the-line Baptist Truman towards a much broader worldview, and we should all be thankful for that.

Later, Truman was endorsed as a candidate for the US Senate by the notorious Kansas City democratic machine controlled by Thomas J Pendergast. Truman was not, however, close to Pendergast, and retained his good reputation when the ‘Boss’ was tried and convicted for tax evasion in 1939. As Vice President in the administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt,

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