Jackie Robinson to President Eisenhower - Telegram

For the first time since Reconstruction (of the South, following America's Civil War), Congress was considering legislation granting African-Americans more civil rights.  It was in 1957, and Jackie Robinson was paying close attention to the details.

He did not like what he saw.

Robinson sent this telegram to President Eisenhower, via his assistant (Fred Morrow).  The U.S. National Archives now maintains the original of this document - depicted above - and provides additional information about it:

Jackie Robinson sent this message to Presidential assistant E. Frederick Morrow in August 1957 as the first civil rights legislation since Reconstruction was being negotiated between Congress and the Eisenhower administration.

Public citizen Robinson - along with race leaders such as Ralph Bunche, A. Philip Randolph, and the publishers of the popular black newspapers - the Chicago Defender, [Baltimore] Afro-American, and the [New York] Amsterdam News - considered the emerging final version of the 1957 Civil Rights Act too weak and urged Eisenhower to veto it.

In the end, Eisenhower signed the bill.

Click on the image for a better view.

Media Credits

August 13, 1957 telegram - online, courtesy NARA (U.S. National Archives and Records Administration).


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