Lot #3010
Franklin D. Roosevelt Typed Letter Signed as President

"Those who seek a better life for our Negro fellow citizens are engaged in the first task with which we all should be concerned: the fulfillment of the promise of America for all its people"

Estimate: $1000+

Description

"Those who seek a better life for our Negro fellow citizens are engaged in the first task with which we all should be concerned: the fulfillment of the promise of America for all its people"

TLS as president, one page, 7 x 9.75, White House letterhead, October 1, 1943. Letter to Arthur B. Spingarn, president of the New York chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), in full: "Thank you for your letter calling my attention to the twenty-five years of service by Walter White in the effort to advance the colored people of America. It is a long period of service in the life of a man, and it has also been, I believe, a long period measured in progress in the life of the Negro in America. Certainly anyone familiar with the long hard road the Negro has had to travel must recognize the importance of such work. It is not important for the Negro alone. We can count on no advancing America unless we can count also upon a better living and a better chance for the thirteen million Negro citizens of the United States. Those who seek a better life for our Negro fellow citizens are engaged in the first task with which we all should be concerned: the fulfillment of the promise of America for all its people." Handsomely matted and framed with an engraved portrait of FDR to an overall size of 19.25 x 16.25. In fine condition.

On May 25, 1944, President Roosevelt wrote a testimonial letter on behalf of Walter White and his twenty-five years of service to the NAACP: ‘He is small, dapper, high-strung, and it is only through his own insistence on his Negro blood (estimated to be about one-sixty-fourth) that anyone would take Mr. White for a Negro; he is blond with fair skin, blue eyes, and sandy hair. This fact has enabled him frequently to pass for white and secure information (at very dangerous risk) during his investigations of race riots and lynchings. His father, George White, was an Atlanta postman who died because of neglect, after an injury, caused by his being a colored man; that and a harrowing experience during the Atlanta Race riots when he was twelve years old have made the welfare of his putative race Mr. White’s chief concern.’

White became an executive officer of the NAACP in 1918 and its executive secretary in 1931. As an officer, White investigated forty-one lynchings and eight race riots, traveling throughout the United States and Europe. He became a prominent spokesman in the fight against lynchings and for enactment of federal legislation against it, ‘especially in the marshaling of public opinion of behalf of the Costigan-Wagner anti-lynching bill in the 74th Congress, and he led the forces which succeeded in bringing to passage the Gavagan anti-lynching bill in the 75th Congress.’ In 1937 he was awarded the Spingarn Medal—so named after Joel Elias Spingarn, the brother of this letter’s recipient—for his personal investigation of lynchings and race riots and for his ‘remarkable tact, skill and persuasiveness’ in his determination to bring about the federal anti-lynching bill.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Remarkable Rarities
  • Dates: #638 - Ended June 23, 2022





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