Letter from James R. Robinson to Lottie Houston and Marion Hamilton, April 3, 1960

Letter from James R. Robinson to Lottie Houston and Marion Hamilton, April 3, 1960


Congress of Racial Equality
A national organization with affiliated local groups working to abolish racial discrimination by direct, nonviolent methods
38 Park Row
New York 38, New York
COrtlandt 7-0408
Roger N. Baldwin
Algernon D. Black
Allan Knight Chalmers
Grenville Clark
Earl B. Dickerson
Eugene E. Frazier
Harold Gibbons
Rabbi Roland B. Gittensohn
Sidney Hollander
E. Stanley Jones
Martin Luther King
Will Maslow
A. J. Muste
A. Philip Randolph
Ira DeA. Reid
Jackie Robinson
Arnold M. Rose
Lillian Smith
Howard Thurman
Goodwin Watson
Jerry Wurf
Charles S. Zimmerman
Charles R. Oldham, chairman
Henry Hodge, vice chairman
Anna Holden, Secretary
Lula A. Farmer, treasurer
James Peck, CORElator editor
regional representatives
Walter Hayes
George M. Houser
Herbert Kelman
Frank Robinson
Rev. Charles Smith
Earl Walter
Gordon R. Carey, field secretary
L. W. Holt Esq., field secretary
James T. McCain, field secretary
Marvin Rich, community relations director
James R. Robinson, executive secretary
April 3, 1960
Mr. and Mrs. M. N. Hamilton
749 South West Avenue 'C'
Belle Glade, Florida
Dear Mr. Mrs. Hamilton:
I want to write you about the very important contribution Patricia and Priscilla Stephens are making to a future of Brotherhood in this country. I know how hard it must be for you to permit these two girls to spend sixty days in a Southern jail. But I feel sure they know what they are doing and why they are doing it.
And it is a most effective demonstration of FAITH in the future of this country. We believe it was no accident that Governor Collins made his statement just after the Tallahassee students refused to pay unjustified fines and went to jail. He could have made his politically dangerous statement at any time before, but it was only the obvious injustice of jailing these extremely orderly students for their beliefs which caused him to speak out in a way that is without precedent for a Southern governor.
I have myself been in jail although never for any significant period. When one goes to jail for a principle, there is a feeling of elation and joy, a conviction that one has done what God would have wanted one to do -- there is usually none of the feelings of being degraded which one gets when jailed for something which is wrong. I have talked at some length with both of your daughters, and I know they have the inner strength to come forth with greater worth after their period in jail. I am sure there is no reason to worry on that score. Also, I feel sure that something can be arranged to make up for any scholastic losses.
I am enclosing a few clippings. They deal with the growth of the Woolworth boycott as well as with Tallahassee. The faith shown in Tallahassee is a major factor in the growing pressure nationally to change Woolworth's policy. The chances are good that we shall win. If so, much of the credit must go to the Stephens sisters. They have the admiration of Jackie Robinson, Harry Belafonte and others.
Also enclosed is a reprint from the Florida State students' paper. Patricia particularly can take much credit for interesting white students in CORE. When Southern whites are willing to be arrested for integration, can victory be far away?
You are courageous parents, and you have our admiration.
Sincerely yours, 
[Signature] James R. Robinson, Exec. Secy.


State Archives of Florida: Collection N2015-1, Box 02, Folder 1


Letter from James R. Robinson, executive secretary of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), to Lottie Houston and Marion Hamilton, the mother and stepfather of Patricia and Priscilla Stephens, detailing the importance of the sisters' activism, explaining his time in jail and providing clippings about the Woolworth's boycott in Tallahassee.