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Jackie Robinson says a talk radio host “needs to do a lot of soul searching.”
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He needs to do a lot of soul searching for he is the kind of guy we fear. His opportunity to spread his views and his cleverness will continue to be a stumbling block before we reach peace here at home.

JACKIE ROBINSON. Autograph Letter Signed, to Jon Anthony Dosa, ca. 1968-1969. Written on letterhead of St. Francis Hotel, San Francisco. 2 pp., 7¼ x 10½ in.

Inventory #25009       Price: $5,500

Robinson writes to producer Jon Anthony Dosa after appearing on the controversial “Joe Dolan Show,” on KNEW-Talk Radio in Oakland, California, in 1968 or 1969. Robinson clearly did not like Dolan’s attitude or line of questioning. In a later memoir, Dosa wrote, “[Robinson] wasn’t happy with the tough questions that interviewer Joe Dolan posed to him. I later sent him a bottle of champagne and received a very kind and impassioned letter from him.”[1] This is that letter.

Complete Transcript

Dear John-

            Thanks for the champagne. It was nice of you to send some.

            While I enjoyed being on the program I was surprised to find out what some people think and feel. I was especially surprised to find the attitude of Joe Dolan. He needs to do a lot of soul searching for he is the kind of guy we fear. His opportunity to spread his views and his cleverness will continue to be a stumbling block before we reach peace here at home.

            It was obvious from the start <2> he expected me to agree with what he believes. Obviously he does not agree with me and I knew we would clash soon after the show started. Not expecting it before I was surprised.

            Continued good luck thanks again.


                                                                        Jackie Robinson

Historical Background

Jackie Robinson, who had served in the army during World War II, supported U.S. involvement in Vietnam. On May 13, 1967, in an open letter to Martin Luther King Jr., Robinson criticized Muhammad Ali for his refusal to be drafted, “There is another point upon which I am confused, Martin. That is your praise of Cassius Clay. I admire this man as a fighting champion and a man who speaks his mind.... What values to do you have in mind when you praise him and say he has given up so much?... I am confused because I respect you deeply. But I also love this imperfect country.”[2] Most black soldiers serving in Vietnam agreed with Robinson’s criticism of Ali. Conflict between the Civil Rights Movement and the anti-war movement were of course highlighted by people who were hostile to both.

Jon Anthony Dosa (b. 1941) was born in Akron, Ohio, and graduated from San Jose State University. He was a systems analyst for a title insurance company in San Francisco before his opposition to the Vietnam War led him in 1968 to a position as producer of the “Joe Dolan Show” on local radio and two shows on local television stations. In 1980, he moved to Los Angeles to become a program coordinator for KABC talk radio, where he produced locally and nationally syndicated talk shows until his retirement.

Joseph A. Dolan (b. 1921) graduated from Harvard University and Harvard Law School (1954). He served as a fighter pilot in the Air Corps and Air Force from at least 1943 to 1955. In 1944, he received a Distinguished Flying Cross. In 1965, a television executive heard him debate the Vietnam War at the Lost Angeles Press Club and invited him to audition for a talk show. He moved to San Francisco and hosted a controversial talk show on KNEW in Oakland from 1966 to 1969 and a television show around the same time. As a radio personality who relished controversy, Dolan had several guests who advanced conspiracy theories regarding the assassination of John F. Kennedy. When a vandal cut a cable linking the radio station to its transmitter in January 1967, some thought anger at the “Joe Dolan Show” might have been the cause. Dolan was fired from one station for speaking out against U.S. involvement in Vietnam. After becoming bored with celebrity life, and passing the California bar in 1971, he opened a law practice in Pomona.

Jackie Robinson (1919-1972) was born in Georgia and when his father left in 1920, his mother moved the family to California. In high school, Robinson played football, basketball, track, baseball, and tennis. He attended Pasadena Junior College and continued playing in several sports. After graduation in 1939, Robinson enrolled at UCLA, where he became the first black athlete to win varsity letters in four sports: baseball, basketball, football, and track. He left college in 1941, just before graduating. Drafted in 1942, Robinson eventually entered officer candidate school and received a commission as a second lieutenant. Arrested for insubordination to racist officers, Robinson was acquitted in the court martial before an all-white panel of officers. After an honorable discharge in 1944, Robinson played baseball in the Negro leagues in 1945, where he drew the attention of major-league baseball. He played with the minor-league Montreal Royals in 1946, and the major-league Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. Robinson retired in 1957, and served as vice president for personnel at Chock Full O’Nuts coffee from 1957 to 1964. He later helped found a bank and a construction company. He supported the Vietnam War and one of his sons was wounded in service in 1965. Robinson broke with Republicans when they nominated Barry Goldwater for president in 1964.

[1] Jon Anthony Dosa, Reel Life 101: 1,101 Classic Movie Lines That Teach Us about Life, Death, Love, Marriage, Anger, and Humor (AuthorHouse, 2006), lxxviii.

[2] Michael G. Long, ed., First Class Citizenship: The Civil Rights Letters of Jackie Robinson (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2007), 257.

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