Civil Rights Activist Roslyn Pope Dies At 84

ATLANTA (AP) — Roslyn Pope, a college professor and musician who wrote “An Appeal for Human Rights,” laying out the reasons for the Atlanta Student Movement against systemic racism in 1960, has died. She was 84.

Pope died Jan. 18 in Arlington, Texas, where she moved from Atlanta to be with her daughters after her health began to fail in 2021, according to her family’s obituary.

The document Pope wrote as a 21-year-old senior at Spelman College launched a nonviolent campaign of boycotts and sit-ins by Black college students protesting discrimination not just in voting but in education, jobs, housing, hospitals, movies, concerts, restaurants and law enforcement.

“We do not intend to wait placidly for those rights, which are already legally and morally ours, to be meted out to us one at a time,” the Appeal declared. “We plan to use every legal and non-violent means at our disposal to secure full citizenship rights as members of this great Democracy of ours.”

Atlanta’s white-owned newspapers wouldn’t publish it, and Georgia’s segregationist leaders tried to dismiss it, saying it couldn’t possibly be the work of college students. But The New York Times ran it on a full page, as did other publications across the U.S. It was read into the Congressional Record as a testament to how segregation was stifling the ability of people to coexist with equality and dignity.

FILE – In this March 4, 2020 photo, Roslyn Pope poses with a framed copy of “An Appeal for Human Rights” in her home in Atlanta.