The living embodiment of integration didn’t stop pushing for civil rights when his time on the baseball field ended.
Jackie Robinson will forever be known for having broken the color barrier in major league baseball. But his work as an important civil rights advocate was just getting started. The US National Archives has compiled a collection of letters and telegrams Robinson sent to the White House after retiring from baseball as he used his notoriety to help influence the cause for which he himself had become synonymous.
The letters tell a story of violence and frustration, and Robinson’s tone changes over the years as the movement takes its toll leading up to his death at just 53.
Below are some excerpts from the National Archives.
TELEGRAM TO ASST. TO PRESIDENT EISENHOWER – AUGUST 13, 1957
LETTER TO PRESIDENT EISENHOWER – MAY 13, 1958
TELEGRAM TO PRESIDENT KENNEDY – JUNE 15, 1963
TELEGRAM TO PRESIDENT JOHNSON – MARCH 9, 1965
LETTER TO SPECIAL ASST. TO PRESIDENT NIXON – APRIL 20, 1972
— Photo [main] AP.
— Photos [inset] National Archives.