Letter to Mrs. Clarence M. Mitchell, Jr., on the Death of Her Husband

March 22, 1984

Dear Mrs. Mitchell:

Nancy and I were very sorry to learn of the death of your husband. Clarence Mitchell was without any doubt one of the most effective and respected men in Washington during his long career as a leading advocate for the NAACP.

The civil rights revolution that began in the '50s has been one of the most dramatic and beneficial events of our time. It would be hard to name anyone who made a larger contribution to the success of that revolution than your husband. His victories did not often gain him headlines, but his patient, behind-the-scenes effort shaped all the important civil rights legislation of that era. He changed the world we live in more rapidly and completely than perhaps even he imagined possible.

Although he faced great difficulties and experienced many disappointments in his battle, Clarence Mitchell himself was respected by all sides because of his idealism, generosity and goodwill. The nation truly shares your grief at his passing.

Nancy and I send our deepest sympathy to you and your family on this sad occasion. We are thinking of you and will keep you in our prayers.

Sincerely,

Ronald Reagan

[Mrs. Clarence M. Mitchell, Jr., 1324 Druid Hill Avenue, Baltimore, Maryland 21217]

Note: The text of the letter was made available by the Office of the Press Secretary on March 23. On the same day, the White House announced that the President had asked Lee Verstandig, Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Affairs, to represent the administration at funeral services for Mr. Mitchell. Mr. Verstandig delivered the President's letter of condolence to Mrs. Mitchell on March 23, the date of the services.