1968 Robert F. Kennedy Letter
Well, I brought in a letter from Robert F. Kennedy. Rather poignant letter, because it was just shortly before he was assassinated. This was shortly after the death of Dr. King. I was very, very interested in civil rights. I was very affected by the death of Dr. King, and I knew that Robert F. Kennedy was doing a lot of work for civil rights, and so I wrote to him, telling him how much I was affected, and how much had to still be done for civil rights.
It seems to me that you must have written a very poignant letter to get such a poignant letter back from R.F.K. I probably have not seen a Robert Kennedy letter as heartfelt as this one, not only talking about the tragic death of Dr. King, but also his interest in civil rights and civil rights legislation. At one point, he does write in the letter, "I believe that the time for bold and imaginative action is now. We must not delay efforts to eliminate the deprivation and alienation of the ghetto, and must take steps to ensure that Negro Americans and other victims of poverty in the United States have an adequate diet, improved education, opportunities for employment, and decent housing." It's a beautiful letter. You've kept it in wonderful condition. Usually, a Robert Kennedy letter wouldn't have a great deal of value. Because of the nature, the content of this letter, I would suggest auction estimates of $2,000 to $3,000 for this letter.
Washington, D.C. 20510
April 22, 1968
Mrs. Arlene I. Weitzman
245 East 24th Street
New York, New York
Dear Mrs. Weitzman:
Thank you for your letter about the tragic death of Dr. Martin Luther King, and the need for civil rights legislation and effective action to alleviate the problems of extreme poverty and deprivation in the United States today. I appreciated your taking the time to write to me and let me know that you share my deep concern in the vital matter.
I believe that the time for bold and imaginative action is now. We must not delay efforts to eliminate the deprivation and alienation of the ghetto, and must take steps to insure that Negro Americans, and other victims of poverty in the United States, have an adequate diet, improved education, opportunities for employment, and decent housing. We must act to break the vicious cycle of dependency and hopelessness in which too many of our fellow Americans are trapped, and all of us must make a greater commitment to the achievement of these goals.
We can, of course, be encouraged by the passage of civil rights legislation. I was pleased to have your words of support for the Civil Rights bill recently passed by Congress and signed into law. As you may know, I supported cloture motions and the open housing provisions considered during Senate debate on the bill, and voted for final passage of H.R. 2516. I am sure you were pleased, as I was, that the House adopted these open housing provisions.
This legislation will help, but Congress and private citizens must also take action to insure that other effective means to deal with these problems are developed and funded. You may know that I have introduced legislation to encourage private investment in housing and industrial development in urban areas. I believe that this is one of the steps we must take. I am glad to know that I shall have your support for programs which will help to make equality of opportunity a reality for all Americans.
Again, my thanks and my best wishes to you.
Robert F. Kennedy
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