Letter to the Chairman, Commission on Civil Rights, on Plans for Observing the Centennial of the Emancipation Proclamation.
[Released June 15, 1962. Dated May 23, 1962]
Dear Dr. Hannah:
I am most gratified to learn that the Commission study of 100 Years of Progress which we discussed at our December meeting is now under way. When submitted on the effective date of the Emancipation Proclamation, January 1, 1963, it should prove an important contribution to a national and international understanding of the progress we have made, the factors which have made this possible, and the road we still have to travel.
The plans for this Progress Report constitute a recognition that the Federal Government has a grave responsibility to bring home to the nation the full meaning of the Emancipation Proclamation. To further meet that responsibility, I believe it appropriate that your Commission, which has acquired so much knowledge and experience in this area, should take a leading role in commemorating the occasion of the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation. I hope you will find it possible to plan and carry out an appropriate commemoration which could properly center upon the submission of your report. Such an undertaking could well include recognizing and coordinating the similar efforts of many states and private organizations.
You may be assured that should you undertake this project, you will have the full cooperation of the Administration.
JOHN F. KENNEDY
[Dr. John A. Hannah, President, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan]
Note: Dr. Hannah's reply, dated June 5, was released with the President's letter.
John F. Kennedy, Letter to the Chairman, Commission on Civil Rights, on Plans for Observing the Centennial of the Emancipation Proclamation. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/235864