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Letter on Civil Rights, Fisk University, 3

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Creator:Jones, Lawrence Neale, 1921-
Title:Letter on Civil Rights, Fisk University, 3
Date:1963 Aug. 6

Letter dated August 6, 1963 from Lawrence N. Jones, Fisk University's Dean of Chapel, to United States senator Albert Gore. Jones, responding to Gore's letter from August 2, comments that if Gore "had been a second or third class citizen all of [his] life," he would agree that Civil Rights is something to be "emotional about." Jones explains that the African American community feels just as emotional about Civil Rights as white southerners do about the "southern way of life," which Jones says is understandable, "since they have privilege, uninhibited access, job preference, and every other imaginable door open to them." Jones recognizes that the proposed Civil Rights legislation is only a small step towards racial equality, "not an ultimate solution" and questions why African Americans must remain patient as they wait for the rights they have waited for for three hundred years. Jones declares the African Americans are just as American as other ethnic groups, and dismisses the logic that they should go back to Africa, citing the African American participation in American wars and central role in the Southern economy. He calls it paradoxical "that I as a Negro often find myself defending my native land's treatment of my race to foreigners." Jones asserts that "no one's freedom is secure when anyone's freedom is abridged." He compares the African American mood to the Revolutionary War period and the Unionization Movement" and says the community "now waits to see what the Congress will do before it acts." Pointing out that very little happened to further African American civil rights until demonstrations began, Jones expresses his hope "that other alternatives will be found." Jones also includes a copy of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "Letter from a Birmingham Jail." He concludes by apologizing for the length of the letter, explaining, "as a citizen I have little recourse at this moment then to write to my elected representatives." The Civil Rights legislation mentioned in this letter was House Resolution-7152 and Senate-1731, proposed by President John F. Kennedy in June 1963, following demonstrations in Birmingham, Alabama, and Alabama governor George Wallace standing in the door of the University of Alabama in an attempt to prevent African American students from integrating the school. After President Kennedy's assassination n November 1963, President Lyndon B. Johnson encouraged Congress to pass the legislation. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was signed into law by President Johnson on July 2, 1964.

The University of Tennessee Libraries (Knoxville, Tennessee) is the digital publisher.

The Civil Rights Digital Library received support from a National Leadership Grant for Libraries awarded to the University of Georgia by the Institute of Museum and Library Services for the aggregation and enhancement of partner metadata.

Subjects:Gore, Albert, 1907-1998 | Jones, Lawrence Neale, 1921- | Civil rights--United States | Legislation--United States | Civil rights movements--United States | Legislators--United States | Politicians--Tennessee | African Americans | African Americans--Civil rights | United States. Civil Rights Act of 1964 | United States. Congress (88th : 1963-1965) | Segregation--Law and legislation--United States | Discrimination in public accommodations--United States | Deans (Education)--Tennessee--Nashville | African American civic leaders--Tennessee--Nashville | Civic leaders--Tennessee--Nashville | Fisk University--Employees | United States, Tennessee, Davidson County, Nashville, 36.1658899, -86.7844432
Collection:Albert Gore Sr. Senate Collection
Institution:Albert Gore Research Center (Middle Tennessee State University)
Contributors:Albert Gore Research Center (Murfreesboro, Tenn.)
Original Material:

Albert Gore Sr. Senate Collection, D32, "1963 Civil Rights (1)", Albert Gore Sr. Research Center, Murfreesboro, Tennessee

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For current rights information, please visit: http://idserver.utk.edu/?id=200600000001200

Persistent Link to Item:http://idserver.utk.edu/?id=200700000002581