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Jackie Robinson Criticizes Northern Negroes

Sept. 25, 1962 - Jackie Robinson (pictured examining a burned church in Sasser, Ga. earlier this month) criticized Northern Negroes today for failing to support the Southern integration movement. “We’ve got to get the Northern Negroes to recognize they have a responsibility for their Southern brothers,” he said. Mr. Robinson was the major speaker at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference convention in Birmingham, Ala. The former baseball star said he wanted to strike back when he saw the ruins of Negro churches in Sasser, Ga., last week. “These churches were burned because they were getting Negro Americans to register to vote,” he said. “I don’t like violence. But I didn’t feel too badly when that Negro woman in Dallas, Ga., shot back when those white men stormed her porch. We are in the position of a cat being backed against the wall by a dog. Our back is against the wall. I hope the President realizes this.” Mr. Robinson said he was not interested in how much President Kennedy talks. “I want action,” he said. “We ought to send the Peace Corps to Alabama and Mississippi. If we’re looking for backward people, we don’t have to go to Africa. We can find them down here.” Mr. Robinson said that there were many “splendid white Americans helping with the integration struggle, but a lot of white persons are waiting for Negroes to get up and go with the ball. It’s a shame we [Northern Negroes] don’t participate more.”

#civilrights #history #OTD #1960s #MLK #JFK