By Mark Abrams
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – It’s a piece of the past that echoes today, given the current situation in Ferguson, Missouri. A 1963 memo from then-FBI director J. Edgar Hoover about a racial incident in Philadelphia written to then Attorney General Robert Kennedy was forwarded to and seen by President John Kennedy.

The memo, part of a collection of JFK memorabilia now being sold by the Raab Collection, was written by Hoover to RFK in October 1963. Nathan Raab, president of the Philadelphia-based historical document firm, says it recounted an incident which touched off rioting.

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Raab says the memo discussed the questioning of an African-American man stopped by Philadelphia police on Oct. 23, 1963 in connection with a robbery:

“Police claim he drew a knife and he was shot and killed by the police officer. A mob formed which claimed that actually he had been walking away from the police officer when he had been shot and it became a rallying point for the African-American community in Philadelphia.”

Raab says Hoover claimed Communist agitators were stirring the Philadelphia situation and he urged the matter be taken to the president for review.

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Less than a month later, President Kennedy was shot and killed in Dallas. And, Raab says, that apparently ended the matter.

Raab says the memo and other Kennedy documents are being offered for sale by the family of the late JFK aide Kenneth O’Donnell.

You can learn more by going to Raab’s website.


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