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Heavyweight Champ Floyd Patterson Speaks at NAACP Conference in Mississippi

Feb. 25, 1962 - Floyd Patterson (pictured right with Eleanor Roosevelt), the heavyweight boxing champion, said today that he felt guilty remaining in the North while Southern Negroes faced “danger” in the fight for racial integration. Mr. Patterson spoke to a crowd of 3,800 in Jackson, Mississippi, at the Southeast Regional Conference of the NAACP. Jackie Robinson, the former baseball star; Archie Moore, the boxer; and Curtis Flood of the St. Louis Cardinals also spoke. Mr. Patterson, speaking almost in a whisper, said he was “proud to be a part of this fight for equal rights.” “I feel extremely guilty sitting there in the North, reading and hearing about the things you are going through down here. You people are the ones going through all the danger,” Mr. Patterson said.

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