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Telegram from Abraham Joshua Heschel to President John F. Kennedy, June 16, 1963

Telegram from Abraham Joshua Heschel to President John F. Kennedy, June 16, 1963

Telegram from Abraham Joshua Heschel to President John F. Kennedy, June 16, 1963, Moral grandeur and spiritual audacity: essays, ed. Susannah Heschel (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1996), vii. Copyright Professor Susannah Heschel.

Rights: 
Other license (see note)
Submitter: 
Heschel, Susannah
Owner: 
Heschel, Susannah

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Description: 

In this telegram Abraham Joshua Heschel describes his beliefs on the role of religious clergy in the Civil Rights Movement.

Transcript: 

TO PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY, THE WHITE HOUSE, JUNE 16, 1963.
I LOOK FORWARD TO PRIVILEGE OF BEING PRESENT AT MEETING TOMORROW AT 4 P.M. LIKELIHOOD EXISTS THAT NEGRO PROBLEM WILL BE LIKE THE WEATHER. EVERYBODY TALKS ABOUT IT BUT NOBODY DOES ANYTHING ABOUT IT. PLEASE DEMAND OF RELIGIOUS LEADERS PERSONAL INVOLVEMENT NOT JUST SOLEMN DECLARATION. WE FORFEIT THE RIGHT TO WORSHIP GOD AS LONG AS WE CONTINUE TO HUMILIATE NEGROES. CHURCHES SYNAGOGUES HAVE FAILED. THEY MUST REPENT. ASK OF RELIGIOUS LEADERS TO CALL FOR NATIONAL REPENTANCE AND PERSONAL SACRIFICE. LET RELIGIOUS LEADERS DONATE ONE MONTH’S SALARY TOWARD FUND FOR NEGRO HOUSING AND EDUCATION. I PROPOSE THAT YOU MR. PRESIDENT DECLARE STATE OF MORAL EMERGENCY. A MARSHALL PLAN FOR AID TO NEGROES IS BECOMING A NECESSITY. THE HOUR CALLS FOR HIGH MORAL GRANDEUR AND SPIRITUAL AUDACITY.

Abraham Joshua Heschel

Date / time: 
JUNE 16, 1963
Author(s): 
Heschel, Abraham Joshua, 1907-1972
Editor(s): 
Heschel, Susannah
Publisher: 
Farrar, Straus & Giroux
Pages: 
vii
Publication: 
Moral grandeur and spiritual audacity : essays
Date published: 
1996

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Telegram from Abraham Joshua Heschel to President John F. Kennedy, June 16, 1963." (Viewed on April 17, 2014) <http://jwa.org/media/telegram-from-abraham-joshua-heschel-to-president-john-f-kennedy-june-16-1963>.