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Civil Rights Organizations Will Continue Demonstrations

June 19, 1963 - Major organizations in the forefront of the battle for equal rights said “no” today to President Kennedy’s request for a truce in anti-segregation demonstrations throughout the country. Mr. Kennedy, in submitting civil rights legislation to Congress, cautioned that “unruly tactics or pressures will not help, and may hinder the effective consideration of these measures.” He asked community leaders, Negro and white, to “do their utmost to lessen tensions and exercise self-restraint” while Congress considered the controversial legislation. The consensus of organizations spearheading the drive was that, in nearly two-and-a-half centuries, Negroes had accomplished little toward equality by being passive. James Farmer (pictured), national director of the Congress of Racial Equality, declared: “We do not agree that demonstrations for freedom will damage the chances of the passage of civil rights legislation. On the contrary, such peaceful demonstrations should help persuade the legislators of the urgency of the situation.” Mr. Farmer emphasized: “The demand for freedom is not something that can be turned on and turned off.”


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