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Lot # 1288 (1288 of 1911)   « Previous Lot | Next Lot »

1957 Jackie Robinson Signed Letter - NAACP Freedom Fund Campaign - Remarkable Civil Rights Related Signed Letter!

Starting Bid - $1,000, Sold For - $3,000

Extraordinary one-page typed letter, dated May 31, 1957 and written on official National Association For The Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) letterhead, beautifully signed in blue ink (grading "9/10") by Jackie Robinson. As noted in bold red lettering along the top, this letter pertains specifically to fund-raising efforts on behalf of the NAACP's "1957 Freedom Fund Campaign." Robinson was the National Chairman of the Freedom Fund Campaign" in 1957 (his portrait image appears in the upper left-hand corner) and this letter was written to a potential donor in Columbus, Ohio. In part:

Dear Friend: I had hoped to stop in Columbus on my way back from the coast recently, but a tight schedule wouldn't permit me. One of the things I wanted to share with you was the wonderful feeling of inspiration I got from the large turn-out of the public and their show of responsibility for the freedom fight. This was true wherever I visited. As National Chairman of the 1957 Freedom Fund Campaign, I hope to raise the $1,000,000 we have set for our goal. But I need your help. The pressures of my new job have curtailed my traveling for the Association so I must look to the future for a trip to Columbus. It, therefore, seemed best to write to you. We both know that the situation of the Association is serious. The enemy wants not only to break the morale of the NAACP members but the NAACP, financially as well. . . . You have been a staunch supporter of the NAACP, our records prove that. . . . I am writing Dr. Watson H. Walker, the Columbus FFF Chairman, asking him to contact you for me. I trust that when he does you will respond generously. May I count on you to help us reach our million dollar goal?

Ever since the start of his professional baseball career Robinson had taken a strong interest in the civil rights movement. Following his retirement from the game in 1957 Robinson became an outspoken supporter of the NAACP. Earlier, the time demands of his baseball career made his active participation in the NAACP difficult. However, once his career ended, he was able to fully commit his time to the cause, as evidenced by this letter.

The NAACP's Freedom Fund Campaign, which began in 1953, aimed to raise one million dollars per year for the NAACP’s anti-segregation efforts. It had never met that goal, but in 1957 Robinson volunteered to chair the fund, with the hopes that he could meet or exceed that dollar expectation. That year Robinson worked tirelessly for the fund, including a cross-country speaking tour that helped raise thousands of dollars at each stop. Robinson's appearances drew huge crowds wherever he went, and his speeches so motivated people that many spontaneously donated money from their pockets at the events. Robinson's efforts paid off and the fund finally met its $1 million goal that year.

While Robinson's achievements in helping the Freedom Fund Campaign meet its goals in 1957 are well documented, actual items related to the cause are practically nonexistent. This letter is the first of its kind we have ever seen. The only other piece we know of regarding Robinson and the 1957 Freedom Fund Campaign is an exceedingly rare advertising poster (which originated directly from the Robinson family!) that appeared as Lot 1035 in REA's October 2015 auction (realized $7,200). This letter, which would make a wonderful companion piece to that poster, is one of the most significant Jackie Robinson signed items we have ever seen dating to his civil rights activities. The letter (8.5 x 11 inches) displays two horizontal folds, a few tiny edge tears, and four small areas of light discoloration. In Very Good condition overall. Full LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $1,000. Estimate $2,000+++. SOLD FOR $3,000

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