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First Person

Robert Romer

portrait of Robert Romer

A Quest for Civil Rights

Retired Amherst College physics professor Robert Romer remembers how he joined a dedication to teaching young people about science with a quest to transform hearts and to change minds. His journeys brought him from a laboratory on Long Island to the March on Washington, a 1963 civil rights demonstration at the nation's capitol. He moved his family to rural South Carolina so that he could teach at an all black college. Back in Western Massachusetts, he speaks of participating in Vietnam era anti-war protests at Westover Air Force Base. He concludes that despite the optimism of the civil rights demonstrators who gathered in Washington on August 28, 1963, the promise of that day has not been realized in the United States.

View a timeline of Robert Romer's life

Robert Romer's Stories

washington monument in distance with crowds of people on the mall


The March on Washington D.C. for Jobs and Freedom

picture of Romer in college yearbook surrounded by black faculty members


Student protest and state troops on the campus of Voorhees College, Denmark, South Carolina

anti-war cartoon showing bombers and blast


Vietnam War protests at Westover Air Force Base, Chicopee, Massachusetts


Listen to Robert Romer's full interview.

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