Educator Resources

Jackie Robinson, Civil Rights Advocate

JUNE 15, 1963

By this pivotal stage in the civil rights struggle, Robinson was fully aware of the lengths to which some Southerners were willing to go to resist desegregation. Not only had governors--including Mississippi's--resisted efforts to integrate lower-level schools, but they had attempted to block lawful efforts by black students to attend state colleges. Even more disturbing was the violence committed against civil rights freedom riders and marchers which was sanctioned, or at least condoned, by local white authorities. One of the worst cases had occurred recently in Birmingham, AL when firehoses, billy-clubs, and attack dogs were pitted against unarmed demonstrators. These brutalities and other incidents, culminating with Medgar Evers's death in June caused a coalition of civil rights groups to organize the massive March on Washington in August. That assemblage of more than 250,000 Americans, white and black, was intended to show public unity and a desire for more effective Federal protection than that afforded by the Civil Rights Acts of 1957 and 1960.


Telegram to President Kennedy
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John Fitzgerald Kennedy Library
White House Central Name Files
File: Jackie Robinson