Peter Clendenin Robertson, 61; Headed Human Rights Agency

Article excerpt

Peter Clendenin Robertson, formerly of St. Louis and the second head of the Missouri Commission on Human Rights, died Wednesday (April 16, 1997) in Orlando, Fla., of a brain hemorrhage. He had been in Florida on business. He was 61 and lived in Arlington, Va.

In 1963, Mr. Robertson was named executive director of the Missouri Commission on Human Rights. "Peter served at a pivotal time as we moved into the struggles of the 1960s," said civil rights leader Margaret Bush Wilson. "He was a chap who obviously did not measure people by the color of their skins or their religions - he measured them by who they were."

Wilson was president of the state conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People when Mr. Robertson was at the rights commission's helm. "He brought fresh air to state government," Wilson said. "He was a person you could communicate with. He leaves a legacy we can remember and cherish."

In 1965, Mr. Robertson received the Man of the Year award from the St. Louis Junior Chamber of Commerce. A Post-Dispatch editorial called him one of the most effective and youngest public servants in the state: "He is an understaffed, underpaid and largely one-man operation to sustain the state's civil rights laws. …