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At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 65,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World to soldiers’ letters from World War II and Vietnam. Explore primary sources, visit exhibitions in person or online, or bring your class on a field trip.

Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano) (1882-1945) to Arthur Barnett Spingarn

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC04477 Author/Creator: Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano) (1882-1945) Place Written: Washington, D.C. Type: Typed letter signed Date: 14 June 1940 Pagination: 1

Summary of Content: President Roosevelt discusses meeting Spingarn, President of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Praises the NAACP, stating "Organizations like yours are necessary safeguards in a democracy. You remind us constantly of our principles by calling our attention to our weaknesses and our deficiencies." Encourages governmental support from the African American community during World War II, stating "Negroes and all other Americans have a special stake in this struggle. The adversaries we oppose deny every common right held by the man in the street in America ... you can help your government, in the midst of our preparations for defense, to maintain the great social gains of recent years through which your government has reflected the needs of the common man. Your government has supreme confidence in the unflinching loyalty that the Negro race has shown from Boston Common to Flanders Field. Inspired by such traditions I know our Negro citizens will not hesitate to pledge their allegiance anew, in these ominous days, to the cause of human liberty." Typed on White House stationery. A 16 June 1940 stamp is crossed out in the upper right corner, and a 17 June 1940 stamp remains.

People: Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano), 1882-1945.
Spingarn, Arthur B. (Arthur Barnett), 1878-1971.

Historical Era: Great Depression and World War II, 1929-1945

Keywords/Subjects: President Government and Civics, African American History, Civil Rights, World War II, Military History, Global History and Civics, Foreign Affairs, African American Troops, Lexington and Concord, World War I, Patriotism, Liberty

Sub Era: World War II