Dear Becky and Wally (Toevs)
Monday, June 14
I won't mail this for awhile, since you won't be home, but keeping up with all the events and writing about them is already getting to be a problem.
We got here in one piece; no car trouble except a flat tire in Texas and a little trouble with the load on top in Louisiana. We used $18.50 worth of gas; 36 hours to Birmingham.
We drove straight through to Birmingham, where we looked up Les Fishman (economics professor at the University of Colorado) and the McClurgs at Miles College. They put us up for the night and then we toured the campus the next day. Fishman's first observation was the lack of ability on the part of the students to grasp ideas from a textbook. In a way, he has to spoon feed the text, but on the other hand, they won't do any permanent good if they can't develop a little independent thinking among the students. The library looks like a donated oneand it is still very inadequate. There is a fair collection of liberal news magazines, such as the "New Republic." The bookstore carried practically nothing but textbooks; only Gandhi's autobiography and five or six other paperbacks were available.
We went to a meeting in Birmingham of the Concerned White Citizens of Alabama. They seem to do more talking than acting, but groups like that are still few. There was an SCLC guy in charge of Operation Dialogue. His name, in common with one of the opposites in the dialogue, is Al Lingo! We got the impression from him that the CWCA has been trying to get some Negroes into the Alabama National Guard and the Birmingham police force; no success in the first as the officers of the National Guard deny charges of discrimination from the Pentagon. Dean Jones of Miles College was coaching Negroes for the police civil service exam, but President Pitts had a heart attack and things are rather disorderly at Miles. (This complicates the professors' programs). Arlene McClurg is tutoring a math student that she says is never going to learn enough at Miles, as the classes are no challenge to him.
Back to the trip — we became aware of where we were in Shreveport. I decided to call a friend — you remember my speaking of Bill Teague, who taught organ at CU last summer. I found him, wife and children to be very delightful people, seemingly open minded. I went with them to hear Jester Hairston's choir concert, and they were at a picnic at Hiltys where a Negro from M.V. was/ Mrs. Teague expressed to my mother how nice it was for their kids to meet a cultured Negro like Zella. Yet, when I called Mrs. Teague in her home territory, I got an earful about outside agitators. I kept calm, though, and managed to keep my foot in the door with communication. She wants further reports on my reactions to the summer. (See letter to the Teagues, July 1965) I think that this is the first time she has ever encountered a civil rights worker that she knew in another context. This is good, I think, but I am still impressed that the hardest part of the work is that with the white people. It really bothers me to have to be so estranged from them, and yet it seems to be the only way to make the point. It is especially hard when the estrangement is between friends.
In Monroe, Louisiana, we saw a good example of the old and the new — a filling station with white and colored restrooms, a barber shop with separate entrances, and a supermarket that was fully integrated in employment at every level — all in the same block.
I am so impressed with the SCLC people; we have already encountered a number of newsworthy people, as well as the ones who do the leg work without publicity. We met Leroy Mouton, the kid who was in the car with Mrs. Liuzzo the night she was shot. We heard that the transportation committee had agreed to go in convoys, but Mrs. Liuzzo and Leroy got out of line. Leroy is working at the SCOPE freedom house. James Bevel was at the house when we arrived. We went to a short party Saturday night with some of the Freedom House staff. Sunday morning we visited Ebenezer Baptist, where the Revs. King, Jr. and Sr., are pastors. Rev. King, Sr., preached the sermon — long winded but not bad at all. Two of MLK, Jr.'s kids participated in the service — it was children's day. The music, except for "In the Garden," (my bias in those days), was quite good, and they had a pipe organ! It wasn't really as "typical" as services at Union Baptist in Denver.
We are at Morris Brown College in Atlanta for the week. The program is exciting — more on it later.
We already have had some excitement — as a result of the newspaper articles, Pam Mausner's folks have gotten two crank phone calls — one, "Is your daughter one of them Commie civil rights workers? We don't wanna hurt no little girl, but there is likely to be a car accident." They reported it to the FBI and we are planning to contact the FBI office here to register the car, etc.
SOUTHERN CHRISTIAN LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE
SUMMER COMMUNITY ORGANIZATION POLITICAL EDUCATION
Sunday evening, June 13
We sang freedom songs and heard Hosea Williams introduce people. He doesn't stand for any nonsense; if people don't produce, he kicks them out.
Monday, June 14
Ralph Abernathy, "History of SCLC" and Hosea Williams, "Why We are Here." They are really tough with people — no nonsense, sleeping through speeches, etc. They make lots of attempts to take the wind out of the sails of the kids that think they know everything. Abernathy spoke on the text, "Ye are the salt of the earth." Bayard Rustin has been coordinating the program. Williams: Registration without education and organization will get the Negro no political power. Motivation must be concrete bread and butter approach to politics. Over a thousand dollars was stolen last night — SCLC is going to keep our money for us. Plenary: "History of SCLC," Rev. Ralph Abernathy, Vice President, Treasurer of SCLC
Hosea Williams, "Why We Are Here, What is SCOPE?" (Comment) His organizational talent is magnificent. For example, tonight there was too much talking during the speeches. So he (1) gave us hell, (2) led freedom songs, ending with "We Shall Overcome," with locked hands, (3) said a prayer for Robert Shelton and the White Citizens' Councils, (4) Shouted "freedom now!" That way he successfully dealt with people without making enemies. Notes: The Negro lives in a gigantic cell. The Northern problem is serious, too. The type of political education needed: What is it going to do to improve the lot of the man himself. He expressed opposition to some of the tactics of Adam Clayton Powell.
2. Two salty old guys from the Alabama black belt. They look exactly like they were straight from a tenant farm, and they know practical politics of registration, etc., better that all the PhD.'s in a political science department.
3. Bayard Rustin, the cool old veteran, must have been around for 30 or40 years. He has a tremendous sense of humor and ability to handle a group He talked about the universality of fear in the situation. His talk: "The Civil Rights Movement since 1954: History and Perspectives." Notes: 1. All people need dignity. There should be no form of superiority of any kind. 2. We need respect for the mind of man. Ideas must be intellectualized in a revolution. #. Don't accept anything short of the goals.
Afternoon: John Hope Franklin, Negro historian, "Myths in the History of Reconstruction."
Notes: Reconstruction: there is a lot of distortion of fact associated with this period. There are maudlin efforts to glorify the lost cause. Myths: (1) The South as extremely and completely prostrate. Agriculture and a large laboring population are resources. (2) The South was never under military occupation in spite of claims that it was. In Mississippi, no Negro could buy land outside a corporate town. (This led to sharecropping.) Schools were not extended to Negro children. There were several organizations devoted to violence. The KKK was founded in 1865. There were a considerable number of literate Negroes at the end of the war. Negroes were assisted by the Freedman's Bureau, the Civil Rights Bill of 1866, and the 14th amendment to the constitution. Moderates were driven to become more radical. Not all Northerners were Carpetbaggers. Some were idealistic people and industrialists. Some Negroes returned from the North to the South. Non slave- owning whites had no love of the Negro, but they were not behind the "scalawags" who caused the most harm. Churches, schools, and the military were all segregated. Blacks gained no control of the executive branch of states; they did control the Louisiana and South Carolina legislatures. In Georgia, they had no voice in government. After the war public immorality was extensive all over the nation. Never did the Negro exercise suffrage in safety. Reconstruction lasted five to ten years. Washington turned a deaf ear to Negro requests.
Evening lecture: Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., "Why We Are Here" Notes:
We are here because history is being made here. Students have discovered this. In the 1950's, McCarthyism made students fear. The aim used to be the comfort of large corporations. The cup of endurance ran over with Negroes. The Civil Rights movement freed students as they contributed to the sit-ins, etc. Teachers also were influenced. We need to extend our focus of interest: (1) Foreign policy, (2) Profound disturbance of the national government, (3) Abolition of capital punishment, (4) Challenge to educational establishment. SCLC sees the permanence and educational value of a student movement.
The deprivation of Negroes has always diminished our nation. Jefferson said, "I tremble for my country when I reflect that my God is just." The Selma- Montgomery march was one of the most triumphant moments in the search for brotherhood. The most reactionary elements are guaranteed control of congressional committees. Negroes will be a strategic force in raising the quality of Congress. They will retain the Southern statesmen.
...Lots of "outsiders" will be there when the voting rights bill passes. It will extend the law of the United States to the South. Nobody from the United States is an outsider. Churches are on board with the movement, referring to the prophets, such as Amos 5 and Isaiah 53. Non-believers on our side are enthusiastically rebuilding burned churches.
...Each community where will be going has invited SCOPE. All the peoples of the world identify with our struggle demanding to be admitted to the 20th century. Carl Sandburg, in a poem, said, "Lay me on an anvil, O God" On some things we need to be maladjusted. Non-violence is an alternative to non- existence. Victor Hugo said, "There is nothing more powerful than an idea come of age." Things that need to happen: We need to do away with 14b. (?I think it has something to do with labor organization.) SCLC was involved in and helped to organize the Scripto strike. We need a minimum wage of $2 an hour. As of now 17-18 million people are not covered by the minimum wage. We need unity in the movement. Diversity within the unity is possible. We need a negotiated settlement about Vietnam through the U.N., including the Viet Cong, South Vietnamese, China, Russia, U.S., North Vietnam. The movement needs to go on with faith that we are right! Our commitment will show.
A state that has denied opportunity for education for Negroes has no right to demand literacy as a prerequisite for voting. Southern whites fear that Negroes will retaliate, so they exercise domination over them. The Negro is seeking democracy, not one tyranny over another. In Macon County, Georgia, Negroes have not thrown out all whites as they received power.
... Evening discussion:
We heard a title-by-title discussion of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by Joseph Rauh, Washington civil rights attorney. Notes: Birmingham made the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Bull Connor and Sheriff Clark were fathers of their bills. Title I: Voting: standards must be the same for everyone. Anyone who has completed 6th grade is considered literate. Title II: Public accommodations. Act forbids anyone who owns hotels and all forms of lodging except places with 5 rooms or less; restaurants or lunch counters; gasoline stations; motion picture houses, etc. Barbershop in a hotel is covered. Legal action can be taken for violations. Direct action: Go. Give no excuse for not serving. Sue: U.S. government can sue if the litigant cannot afford it. Threat of a suit will usually work. Sit-ins are not outmoded and can be used in places not covered. Title III: Publicly owned public accommodations are covered. Title IV: Schools. Attorney General integrates schools on behalf of those turned away. HEW has funds for assistance in integration. Title V: establishes Civil Rights Commission. Title VI: No federal funds can be used to discriminate or segregate. In 1965-66, 1st, 7th, 10th, and 12th grades must be integrated to keep federal funds. 1966-67 year all grades are to be integrated. Watch for gerrymandering of school district boundaries and freedom of choice programs. Efforts may be made to use integration as an excuse to discharge teachers involved in civil rights. The Office of Education will take a complaint. Title VII: Fair Employment Practices Commission. In first year, it affects only employers of a hundred or more. Title VIII: Voting statistics. Survey by Secretary of Commerce to check how many people of each race, color, national origin have voted in each geographical area. Title IX: Attorney General may enter any civil rights case covered by this act. Title X: Community Relations Services, under Department of Commerce. It will seek voluntary compliance. Check agricultural extension services; sometime crop allotments are manipulated.
We were given copies of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Rev. Walter E. Fauntroy, director of the Washington office, commented on Rauh's talk. Workshops on implementation of the Civil Rights Act followed, led by SCLC Staff, U.S. Civil Rights Commission, NAACP Legal Defense Fund staff.
...Symposia: These sessions are for questions and discussion on any subject concerning students. There were special sessions on literacy training by Mrs. Septima Clark, SCLC Citizenship Education and Dr. Theodore Pinnock of Tuskegee Institute. Notes from Septima Clark: She discussed methods of literacy training, especially the Townsend Method, Steck Company, Austin, Texas. Reading should sound constant. Teach about election laws, "why vote." Use newspapers. Go over all parts of the paper. People to get to know: undertakers, county agents, bootleggers, churches and pastors. Teach about banking, receipts, etc., how to make out a deposit slip, check, etc. Teach about interest. Work around students' interests; teach them to write about it.
Each evening ended with singing freedom songs.
Tuesday, June 15
Rev. James Lawson, director of nonviolent education, spoke on "The Meaning and Relevance of Nonviolence." Notes: The new student concern is less than five years old. Violence: our society has a tremendous potential for violence. The U.S. has a hypocritical approach to violence. Violence is a form of force by inflicting deliberate suffering upon other people. Every human creature has power. People in Memphis have refused to be robbed. Nonviolence is a non- physical force. It is not docility bout the courage to be, an insistence on one's own existence. A Virginia black belt minister has courage that he gained at Brown's Chapel in Selma. What person can say of any man that he should not be allowed to live. Every man is me, even my enemy. A man is to reject myself. Non-violence is contagious. Jackson, Mississippi was in 1959 almost a failure in terms of numbers. 300 were arrested and bused to Hinds County jail, which brought the concern for justice to people's attention. Seeing an act of non-violence brings commitment. Non-violences heals. A quote from a Selma participant: "Listen man, there ain't nothing those troopers can do that'll make me act like they did." It is necessary to think the unthinkable. There is a danger from a military based economy to the civil rights movement. The efficiency of it sacrifices funds, etc., that could be used to eliminate problems. The civil rights movement has contributed to the ecumenical movement. New elements appeared in society. SNCC people got us all involved in the sit-ins, for example. Dr. King, Bayard Rustin, Rev. Andrew Young and others commented. Workshops on non-violence followed. Rustin commented that as the dignity of Negroes rose in Montgomery during the bus boycott, crimes of Negroes against Negroes went down. Love is a Judaeo-Christian concept. The prophets attempted to record an ethical moral history. Law of Moses' "an eye for an eye" concept replaced revenge that consisted of total tribal destruction. Jews teach collective social responsibility for all mankind. Essenes: you cannot delimit violence without a code. All need to take a share of responsibility for conflict. Social peace proceeds from social justice. Jesus said, "love your enemy" — love, not like. We all have social responsibility. Bull Connor is included in the human equation. His idea of equation brutalizes everybody. Our responsibility is to take away from him his god-image of himself and make him recognize that he is a man. Our first responsibility is to unseat him from power so he cannot brutalize. A loving situation emerges. Andrew Young comments: He talked about the demonstrations in St. Augustine. They gave him enough experience to realize that violence created a hell. The city put itself under martial law. When people question non-violence they question Jesus. In Winona, Mississippi, black people are beaten for little things. Men are capable both of being decent and of being a beast. We need to confront them as children of God and make them treat us as children of God also. Within every man there is something of the image of God. A personal encounter with Jesus is not enough. We need to apply it to social situations and power relations. If we should go to jail, we should get people to call from all over the country to the jail. Demonstrations are not really effective without personalization. We need also to meet with whites to interpret what we are doing. We should talk to a policeman using his name. Our goal is to so mobilize people about the truth that they cannot effectively resist it. We need to show respect for people and property and not destroy either. We need to find the strength to be a little bigger than the enemy. Violence is often expressed against an activist's wife and children. There is a lot of pent-up frustration. Help a man to see what he is doing and why. If you can love anybody, you can love everybody. They love their wives and children insofar as they are self-images. After you understand a Jim Clark you don't need to hate him anymore.
James Bevel, Director of Direct Action for SCLC: Comments on self-defense and non-violence. Defense of your person is not as important as keeping the issues before people. We need to learn how to create a climate whereby we are protected. Love is undiscourageable good will. There can be an agnostic and a Christian approach. "Jesus wasn't a Christian; he did not have any trouble accepting others who are different." There is not much point in arguing a personal philosophy. An ability to accept men as men does not mean that one cannot accept those of different creeds. What will the Negro do with his freedom? Each Negro has a different idea of freedom. Nonviolence in India: has it worked there? We can compare violent and non-violent approaches there. What would have happened if Gandhi had not practiced non-violence? We need to see what is wrong in then attack the problem. Why did the democratic process break down in Mississippi? Non-violent movement seeks to administer to their ills. Man cannot go back before Christ and Gandhi or before the movement in Alabama to killing "niggers." It is a question of the company and the redeemed in the Lord. It is people, not just Negroes. Non-violence is an experiment in truth and love. There are some Negroes who are trying to be white people but non- violence is concerned with brotherhood and human relationships.
...While we had free time, a news conference was held by Dr. King and other orientation officials.
The afternoon plenary was by C. Vann Woodard, Professor of American History, Yale, "The Relationship of Southern History to the Negro Revolution. Comments followed by August Meier, American History professor, Roosevelt University, Chicago. We had workshops on southern history following the plenary. Notes: The earth is always for the living. The past is part of the daily environment. Much of the history of the South is not in common with the rest of the country. Elements in the Movement would like to ignore the past, but the other side uses it. There have been successful Negro-white political combinations, such as the Readjustment Party in Virginia, concerned with agrarian labor, in the late 1870's. They controlled the state government in 1879. In North Carolina Populists and Republicans worked together. In South Carolina, in the Port Royal experiment, students and freedmen worked together. In Georgia Tom Watson started the Populist party. Alabama also had a Populist movement. Kob lost the governorship by fraud. If the struggle for independence had been half as hard as the Negro struggle, we would never have made it. Racism was a popular philosophy at the time of the Civil War. Historians left out the Negro. The Social Gospel did little for the Negro. Labor ignored Negroes. Socialists went in for Jim Crowism. Disfranchisement was virtually complete by 1910. European colonization of Africa took place mostly after 1861. In Africa the white man was a minority. Africans possessed cultural heritage which colonists did not appreciate. That the Negro survived at all is remarkable under provocation.
...In the evening, we had a plenary on "Farm Labor in the South," by Jac Wasserman, US Department of Agriculture and director of the Atlanta office of the National Sharecroppers' Fund. Workshops followed on farm labor, government loans, assistance and local farm boards, conducted by the National Sharecroppers Fund staff and U.S. Civil Rights Commission.
The evening ended with a film, "Right Now: The Mississippi Story," and freedom songs.
Wednesday, June 16
The morning plenary was by James Bevel, Director of Direct Action, SCLC, and Michael Harrington, author of "The Other America" and board chair, League for Industrial Democracy.
Tom Kahn, Executive Secretary of LID, commented, followed by workshops.
Michael Harrington, "National Implications of the Southern Movement." The SCOPE project has implications for the entire nation. The Negro, the most oppressed, is also the most important political catalyst. Those who are most wronged are bringing the most rights. 60% of Southern Negroes live in cities. They work in an industrial, not an agricultural economy. Booker T. Washington's program was one of Negro accommodation to white supremacy. That creates difficulties are in economics, politics, society, among people. In New York there is no Jim Crow but 68% of Negroes there have no high school diploma. Fourteen years of education is almost a must. In Atlanta, 50% of Negroes are poor. Negroes have probably done more for white people than for themselves. They gave white America a conscience. The political problem is to make 90% of them active. The War On Poverty is a start. The freedom movement put the rats and the roaches on television. Sen. Russell (D-Ga) said that the poor whites are worse off than the poor Negroes because they don't have a civil rights movement.
Goldwater brought the alliance of Northern Republicans and Southern racists out into the open. Even LBJ's program on poverty is not enough. It was a consensus idea based on "expanding the economy." The Job Corps takes no one with a criminal record, so it becomes the cream of the poor. It eliminates many poor Negroes. We need to create 1 = million jobs a year to keep a 5% employment rate. Especially young Negroes need employment and training. Automation is cutting low skilled jobs but will eventually get to the executives too. Labor alliances are necessary. The Democratic Party is a source of political power for Negro labor-liberal alliance. Negroes are helping to create a national social change coalition.
James Bevel: Negroes have not been allowed to come into the community to work out their problems. Knowledge has been denied because of poor schools. Negroes have been exploited, having their money and labor stolen. Those who have been segregated have had their humanity destroyed. Integration alone is not enough; the North proves that. There is no way to have peace on earth if Senator Eastland (D-Mississippi), as he is, continues in the Senate. Negroes in the South must vote if the slums in the North are to be cleaned up. We can't strategize on "if." In the north a program has existed to destroy the humanity of Negroes by forcing them to live in ghettos. They must say, "I will not live under these conditions." A rent strike is a possibility. "I will burn the house down and live in the park." When Harlem Negroes regain their humanity they won't live in the slums. Trained people must be committed to the movement"And the word became flesh and dwelt among men."(John 1:14) People in Selma in fact loved their enemy. "The question is, will you carry the cross?" Love finds a way to be constructive. Movements get communities in motion. The quest of all people to have an adequate house, to have an adequate education, is not a tradition. Americans try to treat everybody in the world like they treat Negroes in Mississippi. Men must be respected as men. We need to minister to the total sickness in American society.
...Comments in response to Harrington and Bevel by Tom Kahn, Executive Secretary, League of Industrial Democracy: Love in a social context comes down to a political question. The Civil Rights Movement has not created an economic program as yet. Negro economic history: In 1939, 25% of Negroes were unemployed. World War II caused Negroes to move into industrial areas, creating a new lower middle class and hope. Protest grew from this movement. Revolutionary movements come when people have hope. The end of the war brought an automation problem. The myth that the economy is beyond control must be destroyed. School integration cannot be accomplished by bussing alone. It comes when communities are rebuilt. Local and state governments have employed increasing numbers of people. Most problems cannot be solved on the local and state levels. They require both local groups and national programs, such as the Democratic Party encourages.
In the afternoon, we heard Brendan Sexton, from the Office of Economic Opportunity, "The War on Poverty in the South." Lack of democracy in company towns is reflected in labor problems. Industrial violence sometimes results, as happened in Harlan, Kentucky, in 1937, where the sheriff was crooked and on the payroll of the coal companies. There is a direct link from industrial protest to the civil rights movement. Most people are poor because of the way society is organized. Average income is below $3,000 for the 35% in Atlanta who are poor. Operation Headstart is a preschool program to address poverty at an early age.
Commentary followed by Vernon Jordan, Atlanta office, OEO.
More commentary by a representative of the Sharecroppers' Fund: Religious organizations dominate in poor black communities. Sometimes the church has made people comfortable in their misery. People never make more than $1,000 a year. They can accept change because they have so little to lose. In the skirmish on poverty, poor people can be very active participants. Urban people can learn from action in rural areas. It is important to get people to do things for themselves. FHA agency deals with acreage allotments for farmers. The Negro was not represented and did not receive an adequate share. There is a poverty loan for small farmers without collateral.
William Cook, Agricultural Stabilization Service: It deals with conservation, price supports, etc. Nominations to ASCS may be made by voters. Any person is eligible who is of voting age and engaged in farming under ASCS programs. Negro farmers are supposed to be proportionally represented. The office is in Athens, Georgia.
Workshops dealt with the War on Poverty in specific areas.
The evening session was on "Community Organization," led by a panel of SCLC staffers, chaired by Randolph T. Blackwell, Program Director, and Hosea Williams, with the assistance of grass roots people from black belt counties. Dr. William Stewart, Medical Committee for Human Rights, discussed medical problems. Workshops on community organization followed.
Notes on community development:
Senior citizens will come in with all their background. They see themselves as rightfully the leaders. They may be a bit out of focus.
Young adults are the best trained and perhaps highest earning of the group. They are overburdened with the notion that they have a "right" to run things. They need to be careful not to alienate other segments of the community. Some have a tendency to believe that the ends justifies the means. There is no room in community organization to deal with school-boy pranks.
Hosea Williams and field staff:
A. Organize workshops on nonviolence.
B. Try activities like baseball games, free picnics combined with mass meetings.
C. Involve both boys and girls.
Workshop: Earl Davis, "AFL-CIO Voter Registration"
A sign that they used in Nashville: "We sat in for you. Now stand up and register."
Street lights are a possible issue.
Get people who can communicate to go along with the voting rights movement.
"Case the joint." It takes contacts to get accepted in the Negro community.
Develop a contest between churches. Jehovah's Witnesses are a waste of time.
Thursday, June 17
Morning plenary: "The Labor Movement in the South," Donald Slaiman, Director, Civil Rights Department, AFL-CIO. Sheriff Jim Clark, before he tried to stop the civil rights movement, broke up union organization in Selma. Liberal programs are now being restarted: Labor and civil rights have complemented each other. Civil rights movement supports repeal of 14b (?) Negro workers need strong, progressive unions. Economics is the basis of many of the problems. The seniority of Southern congressmen and malapportionment are problems in getting progressives elected. In Mississippi there is a local union and civil rights project working together. The Negro vote is necessary to get union organization in that state.
Workshops on Mr. Slaiman's address, with emphasis on baskc problems of local communities — specific people to talk to in local areas, how to relate to the local AFL-CIO, when to contact the National Committee on Political Education (COPE); Norman Hill, Industrial Union Department; AFL-CIO; Al Kehrer, AFL-CIO Civil Rights Department, Cleveland Robinson, Secretary- Treasurer, District 65, RWDSU.
Afternoon plenary: "Title VII: Federal Fair Employment Practices Act," LeRoy Clark, NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
Employers can be forced to pay court costs, as happened in St. Augustine, Florida. Anyone who gets fired for civil rights activity in a factory of 100 or more employees may come under this law. Communities need educating about their rights.
"The Challenge to You," Rev. C.T. Vivian, Affiliate Director, SCLC
County assignments: Discussions and questions, Hosea Williams and SCLC staffers.
Evening Plenary: "The Dynamics that Led to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Bill of 1965" Rev. Andrew Young. The Bible and the ballot go together. The philosophy of civil rights history includes God. Civil rights leaders are chaperones, not architects of the movement. The Freedom riders contributed a lot at first (desegregating public transportation and businesses). In Greenwood, Mississippi, marchers went in groups to the register's office. Movements are often spontaneous, built on inspiration and insight. Some of the justice department questions: How can a state with inadequate education require literacy?
After the bombing of the Birmingham 16th Street Baptist Church, there was a state of complete bewilderment among Bevel, King and other organizers. There was a proposal to get rid of Gov. Wallace. In Alabama there is a climate in which murder is accepted. The structure of government must be attacked. In Gadsden, Alabama, the movement was literally beaten into the ground. It will take many cities in concert. The problem with the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (at the Democratic Convention in 1964) was that they did not yet have the mass support of the nation. Mobilization in Alabama led to Selma. Selma typified total resistance, whereas Montgomery was not as resistant. It was illegal to do almost anything. The Selma people had already been working but not making much progress. King spoke to the Emancipation Proclamation. He said that everybody should vote just because they are a child of God. So folks started marchin'. The Marion, Alabama, movement: people felt they had less to lose, so they were ready to risk everything they've got for freedom. It is a sad commentary that in Selma the beating of white reporters got more attention than the killing of Jimmy Lee Jackson. Marching to his funeral, everybody got washed again. There is a juxtaposition between the Selma movement and the Nuremberg trials in Germany. "You are caught up in God's movement."
Second evening plenary: Introduction by Dr. King
"The Voting Bill of 1965: Its Effect on the Deep South" by Clarence Mitchell, Director, Washington Bureau, NAACP. Session chaired by Dr. King.
The movement supports the ban against the poll tax. It is unfair to ask people to pay to vote against Sheriff Clark. Sen. Edward Kennedy led the fight to ban the poll tax. Southern senators oppose government work on urban affairs because they are afraid it might help Negroes. Increasing the Negro vote will allow them to vote in the national interest. Texas and Tennessee re-elected senators who voted for the civil rights bill. The poll tax elimination was an amendment to the 1964 bill. Anyone who has completed the 6th grade is assumed to be literate.
Under 3052, 3053, Title 18, U.S. Code, the FBI may make an arrest for a felony without a warrant for any offense that occurs in their presence.
File 20 complaints will mean that a federal examiner will watch registration procedures for compliance.
Mississippi an South Carolina do not accept absentee ballots. The voting bill will not cover this.
Workshops on voter registration, canvassing, suggestions, etc., conducted by SCLC staffers, COPE staff, and assigned faculty members.
File: "Nothing But A Man," followed by singing freedom songs.
Friday, June 18
Morning plenary: "Problems of Understanding: North, South, Black, White," by Dr. John Morsell, Assistant Executive Director, NAACP
The courts were the only means of relief in the early days. Before the migration to the north, 90% of Negroes lived in the South. Now it is 50% in the North, 50% in the South. The myth that Negroes moved North because of welfare is harmful. The Southern mentality resists change of any kind and is insensitive to the suggestion that anything is wrong. Negroes in Atlanta voted for a white Democrat over a Negro Republican, while whites voted on racist lines.
Racial killings have a wider total impact on the community than ordinary crime. Whites in the 21-24 age group are less liberal than they were previously. Racial attitudes: 69% of whites believe that Negroes have loose morals, 61% believe that they have untidy homes, 50% believe that Negroes are less intelligent, 35% believe that they are inferior. Social contact produces understanding. Integration of the armed services helped to eliminate race as a factor.
Commentators: Harry Boyte, Rev. Andrew J. Young, Dorothy Cotton, followed by workshops on Negro-white relations.
Harry Boyte: There is a white Southerner on King's staff. The average white Southerner does not recognize that the Negro is a human being. Negroes are unknown; they represent threats to the white Southerner's being. The most oppressed white is ready to move into the Negro coalition. Poor whites have had some difficulty with police, too. Education does not affect basic prejudices unless sociological contact has taken place.
Dorothy Cotton, Educational Director, SCLC. She discussed the sensitivity of Negroes. There are stereotypes on both sides.
Andrew Young (off the record): We all tend to ethnocentrism. We need to be anthropologists. The Negro family is a strong clanlike group that is not necessarily accompanied by sexual fidelity. The small unit family is not common; other children may be present. Women run the community! The man is often put in a humiliating position and has no way of being a man, except one, sexual aggressiveness. Hostility and resentment symbolize the attitude toward the establishment. Most search for personhood, acceptance of one's self. There is racial resentment. Whites are resented. There is a sense in which every Negro hates himself and those who made him that way. White women will have to work on relationships to Negro women. Filia is the best definition of love in this project; friends who are equal. Sexual level of contact should be avoided in the project.
Leadership in the black community: functional institutions such as the burial society, or the choir union. Revival is basically a social fact. There is a sacred-secular dichotomy — i.e., gospel songs and rock n roll are similar, but the context is important. There should be no profanity, even at a political meeting. Heaven is an important part of the faith framework because it is part of the hope for the future. Negroes shout — and it is a whole lot cheaper than psychiatry! There is a morality of acceptance at the same time there is a preaching of judgment. They have to be able to see some positive work for the Lord. Rock n roll, etc.,--anthropologists pay attention to music because it expresses much of what people can't articulate. Rock n roll has done more for integration at some points than the church! Kids have a cultural community. Food: cornbread and pot-liquor!
Afternoon plenary: "The South and the Law," by Jack Greenberg, Director, NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund.
Workshops on what to do when arrested, when in court, without a lawyer, how to contact the Justice Department, etc. conducted by Charles Morgan, Southern Director, ACLU, Norm Amaker, Staff, NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Don Hollowell, Hon. LeRoy Johnson, State Senator, Georgia.
Notes from Charles Morgan: As southern regional director of the ACLU, he was involved in the Huntsville, Alabama, school desegregation and the Birmingham demonstrations.
Harvard-Yale syndrome = "sweet reasonableness."
Gov. Wallace is an honest man; he did exactly what he said he would do. You can't reason with many of the sheriffs. Their state of mind is like Nazi Germany. There is a segregated system of justice. The courthouse is the last bastion of segregation; 90% are still segregated. A case is never touched by Negroes. It is a struggle of law against the order.
The nearer we get to the center of power the more likely it is that we will be arrested.
Notes from Don Hollowell:
What to do in case of arrest:
"Contribution of the Civil Rights Revolution to American Democracy," by Ralph Helstein, President United Packinghouse Workers of American, AFL-CIO, chaired by Dr. King. (no notes)
Saturday, June 19
(Flexible day, agenda to be determined by SCLC Staffers and Student Committee
A. (1) How to hold a mass meeting (2) Press relations — Junius Griffin, SCLC, Public relations staffer. (3) Use of WATS line (4) Contacting Congressmen and local papers — Mississippi challenge. (5) Relationship of volunteers to local projects, field staff, and SCLC National Office. (6) Relations with Northern Groups.
B. Break up into county groups to discuss specific plans.
1 P.M. Adjournment
On Wednesday, we talked to Al Turner and Hosea Williams. Hosea says (The Word!) that we can go to Alabama if we want to. Dick Krushnic is getting two more girls from CU to come down, which brings up the problem of finances. (This never happened). We can ask SCLC to subsidize us if necessary, but Hosea would like for us to raise our own money if possible. I think this might be a way to get some more people involved. I will try to get out a letter to George Williams, Phil Danielson, Montview Presbyterian Church, Denver, etc., to see if we can raise another $3-400 in small donations. We will probably not have to pay room and board, but we will have to spend quite a bit in running the car and office, so SCOPE would like for us to have $150 apiece. We have just that, counting our personal money. The other thing that Hosea says is that he would like for us to form a permanent CU SCOPE chapter. This would involve organizing a group to come for several summers and possibly some short term people during the year. We would sort of "adopt" the county in which we work. I will try to get more details. (As far as I know, none of this happened. I received a paper on organizing a campus group, but I did not return to the University of Colorado).
On Friday morning, we learned that we are definitely going to Butler County, Alabama (just south of Lowndes). It has a mixture of urban and rural problems. Greenville, the largest city, has a cannery (American Can) and a Dan River Textile Mill. It has a movement, but hasn't had much success, and they may have some demonstrations there. Jimmy Webb, SCLC field worker, will probably ride down with us. He says we should get an Alabama license in Montgomery for the car. (We will be 15 miles out of Montgomery.) The poor whites of the county are possible troublemakers. They are planning to have lots of mass meetings. We will apparently work out of Butler Chapel AME Church, a Rev. Cook is pastor. There is a white politician, Joe Pool, who is somewhat sympathetic to the movement — at least a Wilson Baker if not better. The bourgeois Negroes are not interested in the movement; it is meeting success among the poorer people. Jimmy Webb is a graduate of the University of the Southwest, Dallas, magna cum laude.
On Friday evening, Andrew Young talked to the girls separately. He made some points that I have been trying to get enforced: dress rules, no date rules, no booze.
Hosea Williams made final announcements on assignments. If I heard him correctly, the people from SFTS are going to Wilcox County, next to Butler. I haven't discovered who they are yet. This might prove convenient if either or both groups make a permanent project.
Copyright © Janet Wolfe, 1965
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