Atlanta: S.i., . Broadside, with text mimeographed in black on white stock, measuring 21.5cm x 28cm (8.5" x 11"). Minor handling, else Fine.
Jailhouse letter by Leroy Washington, freedom rider, a member of the Committee on Appeal for Human Rights and a student at Brown Morris, a historically black college in Atlanta. Washington, together with Leon Green and 17 others, was arrested on February 7, 1961, for participating in a sit-in at the Sprayberry Cafeteria (in the Federal Building at Peachtree and 7th Street in Atlanta) and requesting service. The letter, composed by Washington at the City Jail on behalf of his fellow inmates, is a passionate display of resolve in the face of difficult and uncertain conditions, addressed to the student body at Atlanta University Center. "We know most of you are wondering why we are doing this...the only way we can achieve our freedom is by being willing to endure and suffer the hardships that are encountered in the achievement of freedom. I only wish that each of you were here to share the darkness of this room, this hard bunk, the smell of this place, and the filth, but yet the light of freedom is slowly slipping in. The morale is high here, we are singing and praying even though we know the prices we might have to pay for our convictions are severe. We would rather spend the rest of our lives here as chained men, bound together in brotherhood for one cause, than to be chained outside in the prison of segregation." A compelling and little-known letter from a key period in the civil rights struggle; the sole reference to the text we have found is on Morris Brown's monthly newspaper, the Wolverine Observer (Vol.31, No.4), who published the full text on the front page shortly after his arrest.