Jackie Robinson: Political Activist and Civil Rights Advocate

 

Civil rights is not by any means the only issue that concerns me--nor, I think any other Negro. As Americans, we have as much at stake in this country as anyone else. But since effective participation in a democracy is based upon enjoyment of basic freedoms that everyone else takes for granted, we need make no apologies for being especially interested in catching up on civil rights.

After leaving baseball, Jackie Robinson concentrated much of his energy on speaking out for civil rights, and supporting candidates whom he believed would promote his causes. Using the power of his famous name, Robinson promoted civil rights through many methods, raising awareness and funds for his chosen causes.

Even while working at Chock Full O'Nuts, he was also spending time working as a spokesman for the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People). He further expanded his efforts in the civil rights field by working with other noted figures, including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Robinson, a man of a conservative bent, also supported Richard Nixon in his campaign against John F. Kennedy. His reasoning was that Kennedy had seemed uneducated and uncommitted to the civil rights cause. Robinson used his column for the New York Post to advance his political opinions.

After leaving Chock, Robinson worked as special assistant to the Governor of New York, Nelson Rockefeller. He worked on Rockefeller's campaign for the Republican Party nomination, but lost to Barry Goldwater.

Feeling that the established banks were unfair to black businesses, Robinson also raised over $1.5 million for the Freedom National Bank, which was dedicated to loaning money to black businessmen to finance their companies.