JFK’s letter to Jackie Robinson
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Robinson personally asked Nixon to do something about King’s arrest, but Nixon preferred to keep silent. Kennedy meanwhile, supported King, including making a call to his wife. This started a change in Robinson’s feelings that would not fully be complete until Kennedy’s strong reaction against the police violence in Birmingham, Ala., just a few months before his assassination.
While ultimately greater events led to the election of John F. Kennedy, this letter – which is preserved in the archive of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum – shows the place Jackie Robinson has in the history of politics and America, as well as his importance in the history of baseball.
Amanda Belli is a curatorial intern at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum