GG Receives Reports on Life and Activities of Late U.S. Civil Rights Lobbyist

Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Professor Sir Kenneth Hall, was presented with copies of the first two volumes of reports on the activities and life of the late American civil rights lobbyist, Clarence Mitchell, Jr., today (January 7), at King’s House.

The presentation was made by Professor Denton Watson of the Faculty of American Studies, State University of New York (SUNY), at Long Island in the United States.

The papers, which were collated for publication by Professor Watson, a Jamaican, chronicles the work and struggles of Clarence Mitchell, Jr., in his effort to secure passage of the civil rights law and accord African-Americans full protection under the Constitution of the United States.

Professor Watson told JIS News that Mr. Mitchell’s work in the American civil rights movement spans his involvement in the Fair Employment Practice Committee (FEPC) between 1941 and 1956, and his subsequent entry in the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP). He served the latter organization as Director of its Washington, D.C. Bureau between 1956 and 1978.

The Professor, who was Mr. Mitchell’s biographer, said that the collection of papers comprised five volumes of reports, two of which were undertaken over a five-year period and completed in 2005. He said the manuscript for the third volume has been completed and is currently being prepared for printing.
Commenting on the works, Sir Kenneth underscored the importance of the civil rights movement, describing it as an important historical global event.

“The movement is an important historical event in the world. In Jamaica, we drew several lessons (from it). Martin Luther King was here, he came and addressed a graduation (of the University of the West Indies) in 1965, and so the linkages were there. But, it is the thought of and importance of those persons, who devoted their entire lives to the struggle (of the civil rights movement), that is the relevance of these (the publications),” Sir Kenneth said.