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CIVIL RIGHTS-1959

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The Federal Government

The present administration has given active and constructive leadership to the broad and increasing process of desegregation of public life and affairs. With its consistent support and under directives of the President, (1) the process of desegregation of the armed services has been pushed close to con pletion; (2) schools on Army installations which receive Federal funds have been integrated; and (3) the U.S. Department of Justice filed supporting briefs against segregation at the invitation of the Court, when the cases were argued before the Court.

On November 24, 1954, the Justice Department filed and made public its brief, submitted at the invitation of the Court on the question of implementing decrees That brief advanced five "ground rules" for a gradual ending of public school segregation :

(1) The lower courts shall direct school authorities to submit a desegregation plan within 90 days.

(2) In the absence of satisfactory plans, the lower courts shall direct the school authorities to end segregation at the beginning of the next school year.

(3) Where plans are submitted, the lower courts shall hold hearings to determine acceptability and to fix the earliest practicable date for completing the desegregation.

(4) The lower courts should require progress reports, to guard against uinnecessary delays.

(5) The Supreme Court should retain jurisdiction, in order to make further orders necessary to effect its ruling. Some communities undertake integration voluntarily

School authorities in several cities have already successfully undertaken voluntary compliance with the Supreme Court's decision. The most notable and celebrated examples are Washington, D.C., Wilmington and Milford, Del., and Baltimore, Md. Shortly after the decision was announced, the school board of Greensboro, N.C., voted 6 to 1 to direct the superintendent of schools “to work out a system for an orderly changeover” from segregated to integrated schools

. This was perhaps the first school board in the South to take steps to comply voluntarily with the Court's decision.

Protests against programs of integration in Washington, Baltimore, Wilmington and Milford, Del., captured the headlines and tended to obscure the more im. portant fact that such protests involved only a small percentage of the affected schools and persons.

Desegregation of the schools in the District of Columbia was undertaken with the open support of the President of the United States, who expressed a hope that it would set an example and be a model for other affected areas. The program proceeded smoothly and without overt incidents for 3 full weeks, until

, on October 4, students at one high school in Anacostia began demonstrations against desegregation. Students from two other formerly all-white high schools and six jumior high schools joined in these demonstrations which followed. These actions clearly were suggested by similar protests which had been made by parents and students in Milford, Del., and in Baltimore, Md.

As a result of the combined efforts of Washington school and police authorities, religious and civic leaders and other private citizens, order was restored by the fourth day and since that time enrollment and school attendance has been normal and without overt incidents. At the height of the demonstrations, which were classified by the school authorities as truancy, only 2,500 students

, or 2 pers cent of the city's 104,000 school population, were involved in the organized class cutting.

The experience of Baltimore was somewhat comparable to that of Washington, Fifty-two out of Baltimore's 186 public schools were involved in the integration

Sept tember 29, the program

was put into effect peacefully and smoothly. On theware only 12 Negro pupils and 575 white students. The developinent of the profesor day of September picketing began in one of the integrated schools in which were and the public demonstrations have been fully reported in the press. Reportes de these incidents tended to overshadow the much more significant and truly headline news, that not more than 6 of the 52 integrated schools were involved in the demonstrations, and that all of these 6 were schools in which there were only a more, as in Washington, the coordinated efforts of school authorities, political few Negro students and an overwhelming majority of white students. In Baltileaders, law-enforcement officials, civic and religious organizations and private

dizens, peace, law, and order were restored within a short time. The Southern School News reports: "The student march was a noisy one, but the hard facts Fere that 97 percent of Baltimore's public school boys and girls were not drawn at and continued classes without interruption." (Southern School News, vol. I, No.3, Nov, 4, 1954, p. 7.)

Two different communities in Delaware undertook desegregation with contrasting experience. The city of Wilmington undertook desegregation on a voluntary basis and without incident involving several thousand pupils. Milford, Delo at the opposite end of the State undertook integration of its high school involving only 12 Negro students and the opposition and protests made headline Fews throughout the world. The bitter controversy, which developed in Milford and the surrounding Sussex County, appears to have been touched off and organized by leaders of the recently formed National Association for the Advancement of White People. The Milford incident, as it is now called, started a chain reaction of protests which quickly spread to Baltimore and to Washing. fon. To counteract the activities of the National Association for the AdranceDent of White People, leaders of religious and civic organizations throughout Delaware, and particularly in the affected areas, supported the efforts of school authorities to comply voluntarily with the Supreme Court decision. The bishops of the Episcopal Church and the clergy were among leaders in the effort to win the support of the people to the integration program. Desegregation programs prior to the decision

These efforts of local and county school authorities to integrate public schools following the Supreme Court decision, are neither new nor isolated. A volume Terently published by the University of North Carolina Press (Nov. 10, 1954), entitled "Schools in Transition,” reports the experiences of 24 communities, in 6 States bordering the South, as they have sought to move from racially segregated public schools toward integrated systems prior to the decision.

The 6 States, involved in a study conducted by 45 scholars under the auspices
of the Fund for the Advancement of Education, ranged from New Jersey to the
East through Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois to New Mexico and Arizona in the West.
All these may be considered border Southern States.

The 24 communities included in this study varied from large industrial cities, such as Cincinnati, to small towns, such as Nogales, Ariz. Their population fange was from 8,500 to 3,600,000. They included such industrial cities as Camden, N.J., and nonindustrial areas, such as Cairo, Ill. The size of the Negro population varied from large to small. The pattern of housing varied from highly segregated districts to a rather random and scattered arrangement. The material in the study was gathered during the period of August and September

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In addition to these communities, Paden City, W. Va., voluntarily integrated its schools in 1953. The Negro school was closed and its pupils transferred to the previously all-white elementary and high schools. The high cost of dual schools is indicated by the fact that the closed Negro school served only four elementary and four high school pupils.

As may be expected, the experiences of these communities varied greatly. In general

, it may be said that they offer convincing evidence of the successful bussibilities of voluntary integration. They point, also, to certain common pitfalls. The most outstanding example of voluntary school desegregation prior to the Supreme Court decision is that of the State of New Jersey. In the period 1947–52 New Jersey successfully completed integration of thousands of school children and their teachers “with a minimum of resistance. It took 5 years, despite some hostility and threats of resistance.” (George Cable Wright, New York Times, May 23, 1954.)

Also prior to the Supreme Court decision, the Ferieral Government undertook to end segregation in schools operated by the Army, with Federal funds, for children of Army personnel in all Army installations throughout the country, (New York Times, March 25, 1954.) Educational, social welfare, civic, and labor groups

The National Education Association, perhaps the most influential professional orsanization in that field, meeting in July, adopted a resolution in support of the Supreme Couri decision. The conference was made up of 48 State delegations comprising 20,000 teachers, college officials, superintendents, and prominent

citizens, peace, law, and order were restored within a short time. The Southern School News reports: "The student march was a noisy one, but the hard facts were that 97 percent of Baltimore's public school boys and girls were not drawn out and continued classes without interruption." (Southern School News, vol. I, No.3, Nov. 4, 1954, p. 7.)

Two different communities in Delaware undertook desegregation with contrasting experience. The city of Wilmington undertook desegregation on a voluntary basis and without incident involving several thousand pupils. Milford, Del., at the opposite end of the State undertook integration of its high school involving only 12 Negro students and the opposition and protests made headline news throughout the world. The bitter controversy, which developed in Milford and the surrounding Sussex County, appears to have been touched off and organized by leaders of the recently formed National Association for the Advancement of White People. The Milford incident, as it is now called, started a chain reaction of protests which quickly spread to Baltimore and to Washington. To counteract the activities of the National Association for the Advancement of White People, leaders of religious and civic organizations throughout Delaware, and particularly in the affected areas, supported the efforts of school authorities to comply voluntarily with the Supreme Court decision. The bishops of the Episcopal Church and the clergy were among leaders in the effort to win the support of the people to the integration program. Desegregation programs prior to the decision

These efforts of local and county school authorities to integrate public schools following the Supreme Court decision, are neither new nor isolated. A volume recently published by the University of North Carolina Press (Nov. 10, 1954), entitled "Schools in Transition," reports the experiences of 24 communities, in 6 States bordering the South, as they have sought to move from racially segregated public schools toward integrated systems prior to the decision.

The 6 States, involved in a study conducted by 45 scholars under the auspices of the Fund for the Advancement of Education, ranged from New Jersey to the East through Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois to New Mexico and Arizona in the West. All these may be considered border Southern States.

The 24 communities included in this study varied from large industrial cities, such as Cincinnati, to small towns, such as Nogales, Ariz. Their population range was from 8,500 to 3,600,000. They included such industrial cities as Camden, N.J., and nonindustrial areas, such as Cairo, Ill. The size of the Negro population varied from large to small. The pattern of housing varied from highly segregated districts to a rather random and scattered arrangement. The material in the study was gathered during the period of August and September 1953.

In addition to these communities, Paden City, W. Va., voluntarily integrated its schools in 1953. The Negro school was closed and its pupils transferred to the previously all-white elementary and high schools. The high cost of dual schools is indicated by the fact that the closed Negro school served only four elementary and four high school pupils.

As may be expected, the experiences of these communities varied greatly. In general, it may be said that they offer convincing evidence of the successful possibilities of voluntary integration. They point, also, to certain common pitfalls.

The most outstanding example of voluntary school desegregation prior to the Supreme Court decision is that of the State of New Jersey. In the period 1947–52 New Jersey successfully completed integration of thousands of school (hildren and their teachers "with a minimum of resistance. It took 5 years, despite some hostility and threats of resistance.” (George Cable Wright, New York Times, May 23, 1954.)

Also prior to the Supreme Court decision, the Federal Government undertook to end segregation in schools operated by the Army, with Federal funds, for children of Army personnel in all Army installations throughout the country. (New York Times, March 25, 1954.) Educational, social welfare, civic, and labor groups

The National Education Association, perhaps the most influential professional prganization in that field, meeting in July, adopted a resolution in support of the Supreme Court decision. The conference was made up of 48 State delegations comprising 20,000 teachers, college officials, superintendents, and prominent them for that action." The formation of the Southern Education Reporting Service, shortly befo the announcement of the Supreme Court decision (May 11, 1954), represen one of the significant and constructive responses of private citizens to the th anticipated Supreme Court decision. With headquarters in Nashville, Ten this new group publishes the Southern School News with the support of t Fund for the Advancement of Education. The chairman of the board of rectors is Virginius Dabney, editor of the Richmond Times Dispatch a rice chairman is Thomas R. Waring, editor of the Charleston News and Courie Its executive director is C. A. McKnight, editor of the Charlotte News. T Reporting Service maintains correspondents in 17 southern and border Stai and in the District of Columbia. Its purpose is to provide a factual, objecti and comprehensive report on “the adjustments which various communit in the southern region make as a result of the Supreme Court's recent decisi and forthcoming decrees in the five cases involving segregation in the pub schools." (Letter of Mr. Dabney to President Clarence H. Faust of the Fund 1 the Advancement of Education, July 5, 1954.) Mr. Dabney set forth the purpo of the Southern School News as follows:

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educators. Voting as State groups, only 2 State delegations out of the entire 28 opposed the resolution, namely, South Carolina and Mississippi.

Representatives of some of the principal social welfare agencies of the country, both public and private, expressed their support of the Court's decision at a conference on school segregation, which was in session at the time the decision was announced. The conference had been convened by the National Social Welfare Assembly, the central social welfare agency of the country, and was attended by 75 representatives of 22 national social welfare agencies. The assembly is comprised of 67 national agencies of social welfare.

The statement, adopted by the conference on May 18, said:

"The Supreme Court decision in regard to segregation in the public schools served to heighten and to pinpoint this area of the agency's interest and concern ***. It is recogized that not all social agencies are at the same point in the integration of board, staff, membership, and services. Moreover, praetices differ from locality to locality even within the same agency. Few, if any, were satisfied that their agencies had done all they should or could. But all were united on the goal and expressed determination to press forward. All were convinced that this is an area in which social agencies had a fundamental responsibility and an obligation to take the leadership.

**In this light, each individual agency should ask itself the question: (1) Has this agency taken all the steps it should to prepare for a leadership role in the desegregation of America * * * on its board, its committees, its staff, its mem. bership, and in the extension of services on an equal basis to all? (2) Are all free to participate in programing, in policy decisions, and in conferences?"

The August issue of the Intergroup Relations Bulletin of the assembly reported on desegregation projects underway in five member agencies :

The Camp Fire Girls.—The leadership of this agency has discussed the implications of the Supreme Court ruling for the organization of Camp Fire councils and groups, and, also, the ways in which local Camp Fire councils might bring their practices in line with the membership policies of the National Camp Fire Girls, Inc., and the spirit of the Supreme Court ruling. The agency also is publishing a study pamphlet on this issue.

Girl Scouts of the United States of America.—The national office sent to each of its regional offices in Southern States, a list of the branch offices of agencies which might be able to assist in local desegregation programs. This list of com sultative agencies includes the American Jewish Committee, the Antidefamation League, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the National Conference of Christians and Jews, and the National Urban League. The national personnel department of the Girl Scouts has explored the implications of the Supreme Court decision for its work. The national executive committee approved the statement adopted by the National Social Welfare AS sembly and

sent it with a covering memorandum entitled "Relation of Girl Scouts to Desegregation in the Public Schools” to the field staff and unit directors of the Girl Scouts.

National Federation of Settlements and Neighborhood Centers.—The president of the federation sent letters of commendation to Governors and school authorities in areas affected by the decision, who had expressed the desire and willingness to comply with the Court's decision. National staff members of the federation will be participating in institutes during the coming year in local communities dealing specifically with methods of desegregation,

YMCA National Council. The 28th Annual Meeting of the National Council of the YMCA adopted a resolution on interracial policies for the 1950's in which it urged all member associations to work earnestly toward the elimination of segregation and other forms of racial discrimination, by dealing with them at the area, State, and local levels.

YWCA National Board. The national board established an ad hoc committee to study the implications of hehra tourt's

decision as they apply to the total YWCA movement, and to explore areas for immediate and long-range concern and program activities. Educational materials have been made a vailable to branches of the YWCA to assist them in study and action on the local level.

In addition to these, the National Urban League, with affiliated organizations of its local groups to give special attention to opportunities for community or in some 60 communities throughout the Nation, has called upon the leadership ganizations to act before any community opposition has developed, where desegre gation programs are underway or contemplated. Based upon the participation of the Baltimore Urban League in the happy and successful control of the recent

situation there, a seven-point program for community organization, in support of desegregation programs, was suggested to league leadership.

A closed conference of about 100 Negro leaders from 18 southern and border States held shortly after the announcement of the Supreme Court decision, and called by the NAACP, advocated "a spirit of give and take" without sacrifice of principle. (New York Times, May 23, 1951.) The Southern Regional Council, with headquarters in Atlanta, Ga., has continued its widespread and constructive program of education in southern communities following the Supreme Court decision. One of its main targets is to encourage and facilitate discussion on the local level. Field trips conducted before and after the decision, in different communities throughout the South, bare all pointed to the bottleneck of lack of adequate communication and discussion on the local level. These field investigations point to the need for encouraging and organizing local exchange of opinion as a basic and almost uniPersal need in the communities affected most by this decision. The Council has also published a pamphlet entitled, “Answers for Action Schools in the South," which seeks to outline generally the next steps in the South. The pamphlet pre sents the background of the decision, its specific nature, and sets it in its his torie framework. Further, it reports the comments of various church organiza tions and discusses the prospect of defiance, evasion, or compliance throughou the South. It evaluates some of the problems which were raised by the decision some of the questions which are on people's minds, and suggests positive thing which may be done on the local level, to meet the spirit as well as the lette of the law. A grant from the Ford Foundation will enable the council to plac specially qualified fieldworkers in each Southern State.

Shortly after the decision was announced the leadership of the two principa national labor federations announced their support of the Court. The Amer ican Federation of Labor (AFL) urged Congress to set up a billion dolla fund to help the South build new schools to aid and carry out the racial de segregation program. The Phillip Murray Memorial Foundation of the Cor gress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) presented $75,000 to the NAACP fo promoting full acceptance of the civil rights guaranteed by the Constitutioj In October, the executive board of the CIO issued a statement deploring “th spread of lawless resistance to the actions of local and State officials in goin forward with the peaceful integration of the public schools.” The statemer afirmed that "the sequence of events makes it clear that in the absence of ou side agitation and stimulation by elements seeking to subvert the law of th land, integration of the public schools can proceed peacefully and successfully The statement pointed to the relationship between the events in Milfor Baltimore, and Washington, as proof of the fact that outside intervention ha stimulated the original disturbances and that these had passed from one con munity to another. The board called upon the Attorney General of the Unite States "to take firm and fast action," and called for immediate investigation : to whether the Federal civil rights laws had been violated. The CIO board co cluded “There is no question of States' rights here. Local and State scho authorities initially elected to comply with the law of the land. We commer

“The Southern Education Reporting Service has therefore been establish with the aim of assisting responsible local and State leaders, and particulai

situation there, a seven-point program for community organization, in support of desegregation programs, was suggested to league leadership.

A closed conference of about 100 Negro leaders from 18 southern and border States held shortly after the announcement of the Supreme Court decision, and called by the NAACP, advocated “a spirit of give and take" without sacrifice of principle. (New York Times, May 23, 1954.)

The Southern Regional Council, with headquarters in Atlanta, Ga., has continued its widespread and constructive program of education in southern communities following the Supreme Court decision. One of its main targets is to encourage and facilitate discussion on the local level. Field trips conducted before and after the decision, in different communities throughout the South, have all pointed to the bottleneck of lack of adequate communication and discussion on the local level. These field investigations point to the need for en. couraging and organizing local exchange of opinion as a basic and almost universal need in the communities affected most by this decision. The Council has also published a pamphlet entitled, “Answers for Action-Schools in the South,” which seeks to outline generally the next steps in the South. The pamphlet presents the background of the decision, its specific nature, and sets it in its historic framework. Further, it reports the comments of various church organizations and discusses the prospect of defiance, evasion, or compliance throughout the South. It evaluates some of the problems which were raised by the decision, some of the questions which are on people's minds, and suggests positive things which may be done on the local level, to meet the spirit as well as the letter of the law. A grant from the Ford Foundation will enable the council to place specially qualified fieldworkers in each Southern State.

Shortly after the decision was announced the leadership of the two principal national labor federations announced their support of the Court. The American Federation of Labor (AFL) urged Congress to set up a billion dollar fund to help the South build new schools to aid and carry out the racial desegregation program. The Phillip Murray Memorial Foundation of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) presented $75,000 to the NAACP for promoting full acceptance of the civil rights guaranteed by the Constitution. In October, the executive board of the CIO issued a statement deploring "the spread of lawless resistance to the actions of local and State officials in going forward with the peaceful integration of the public schools.” The statement affirmed that "the sequence of events makes it clear that in the absence of outside agitation and stimulation by elements seeking to subvert the law of the land, integration of the public schools can proceed peacefully and successfully.” The statement pointed to the relationship between the events in Milford, Baltimore, and Washington, as proof of the fact that outside intervention had stimulated the original disturbances and that these had passed from one community to another. The board called upon the Attorney General of the United States “to take firm and fast action," and called for immediate investigation as to whether the Federal civil rights laws had been violated. The CIO board concluded “There is no question of States' rights here. Local and State school authorities initially elected to comply with the law of the land. We commend them for that action."

The formation of the Southern Education Reporting Service, shortly before the announcement of the Supreme Court decision (May 11, 1954), represents one of the significant and constructive responses of private citizens to the then anticipated Supreme Court decision. With headquarters in Nashville, Tenn., this new group publishes the Southern School News with the support of the Fund for the Advancement of Education. The chairman of the board of directors is Virginius Dabney, editor of the Richmond Times Dispatch and vice chairman is Thomas R. Waring, editor of the Charleston News and Courier. Its executive director is C. A. McKnight, editor of the Charlotte News. The Reporting Service maintains correspondents in 17 southern and border States and in the District of Columbia. Its purpose is to provide a factual, objective, and comprehensive report on "the adjustments which various communities in the southern region make as a result of the Supreme Court's recent decision and forthcoming decrees in the five cases involving segregation in the public schools.” (Letter of Mr. Dabney to President Clarence H. Faust of the Fund for the Advancement of Education, July 5, 1954.) Mr. Dabney set forth the purpose of the Southern School News as follows:

"The Southern Education Reporting Service has therefore been established with the aim of assisting responsible local and State leaders, and particularly

school administrators, in developing practical and constructive solutions to their own particular school problems by supplying them with objective facts about the developments in other communities. It is our resolve to report the facts as we find them, to refrain from taking sides on any controversial issue or advocating any particular point of view." (Southern School News, vol. I, No. 3, Nov. 4, 1954, p. 1.)

The people speak

Perhaps more important than the reaction and statements of political, religious and civic leaders is the attitude and opinion of the people in the areas most affected. Obviously, such opinion will change from time to time. However, an article in the New York Times magazine section of September 26, 1954, gives some inkling of the reaction of southerners. This article reports that of 100 letters to the editor of the Charlotte News, largest evening paper in the Carolinas, on the Supreme Court's decision, 41 upheld segregation, 30 opposed it, and the other 29 were of a general nature. The author, and editorial writer of the News, comments as follows:

"Most Negro writers approved the decision, but emphasized that equal opportunities rather than comingling is their desire. Most of the whites deplored the decision. But many of them, including native southerners, denounced segregation. About one-fifth of the letterwriters based their arguments on the Bible, which was used as 'documentation' by segregationists as often as by antisegregationists."

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He then quotes from a cross-section of these letters and observes, "Among native-born, white southerners, a service station attendant and an Army private were the most outspoken advocates of nonsegregation." After quoting from some of the more bitter opponents of desegregation he concludes as follows: "It remained for a South Carolina stockbroker to take a long-range view of the problems now facing the South, and to be encouraged and hopeful. 'No Christian,' he writes, 'can quietly sit by himself and successfully defend segregation as morally right. However, he can reason that sudden abolition of custom is wrong, or at least will cause trouble. Then he may recall that Christ caused trouble, that the Declaration of Independence caused trouble, too. Trouble forces the solving of our problems. Let's face the trouble.'"

A brief filed with the Supreme Court, on the question of implementing decrees, by the U.S. Justice Department on November 24, 1954, speaks of "popular hostility" to the decision in certain States. It is important to note that this hostility is not 100 percent even in the States, such as Georgia, which passed legislation to circumvent the Court's ruling.

Comments of the Nation's press

On the days following the Supreme Court ruling, the New York Times published a summary of editorial comments throughout the Nation. The summary covered 40 daily papers, 4 college papers, and 4 Negro papers. They were classified under the following headings:

Comments from Segregated States (25).

Comments from Nonsegregated States (15).
Comments from College papers (4).

Comments from Negro Papers (4).

The comments fell roughly into three categories: (a) those expressing forthright approval, (b) those accepting the ruling, but emphasizing difficulties immediate or long-range, and (c) those which were unequivocally opposed.

According to this rough classification, 4 papers in segregated States approved the ruling, 14 accepted the ruling, and 7 opposed.

In the nonsegregated States, 13 approved the ruling and 2 accepted; none opposed.

Two of the college papers approved the ruling, one accepted, and one opposed. The four Negro papers approved the ruling. (Please see appendix A for a digest of the comments of each of these papers.)

In general, those papers approving the decision saw it as a healthy one, the end of a long and inevitable process, a reaffirmation of our political faith, and a powerful blow against Communist propaganda. Those accepting the decision, emphasized the difficulties which it raised, stressed the need for caution, and made an appeal for clear thinking and calmness. They insisted on the need for adequate time to make adjustments. Both those approving and accepting the decision recognized the real problems and the need for wisdom. Those opposing the decision saw it as a blow against States rights, harmful to public education, and as disturbing the existing system of relationships in the South.

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