Monday, January 01, 1900
Producer: WNYC presents Freedom's Ladder, with the Triangle of Rhythm, and as our guests this evening, Mrs. Liliian Sharp Hunter, of the New York State Commission Against Discrimination, Mr. W. Werner, Senior Editor of the New York Age, and the Peterson Sisters, not to forget Laura Bowman and, as your master of ceremonies, Bill Chase.
Chase: Hello, this is Bill Chase, introducing the eleventh program in the series of Freedom's Ladder, a 15 minute program designed to promote a closer understanding between all races and creeds, and to break down disc against all minority groups. First of all as you know, a regular item on this series is that very talented combination of swing known as the Triangle of Rhythm, with Harold McFadden on guitar, Abner Keener on bass, and Austelle Allen at the 88. They're gonna start things off right now with a very wonderful arrangement on "You're a Lucky So-and-So."
[Triangle of Rhythm perform "You're a Lucky So-and-So"]
Chase: Oh, thanks guys. That was really swell. We have a very distinguished group in the studio tonight who will talk about the New York State Law Against Discrimination. Ladies first, so let me introduce Mrs. Liliian Sharp Hunter, who probably has more friends to the square inch than any other person I know. Well, at least, shall we say, just as many. Mrs. Hunter, at present, is a field representative for the New York State Commission Against Discrimination. Mrs. Hunter, will you step up to the microphone?
Hunter: Thank you, Mr. Chase.
Chase: Well, you know, we've got just another guy here I think you ought to know. He's a swell guy. He's an outstanding editor of the New York Age, Ludlow W. Werner. Well I could spend about an hour talking about the achievements of Mr. Werner, but I'll confine myself to just a few. First of all, you know he's an editor. He's been the editor of the Age for quite a number of years. He's a very swell guy and very popular, and he's an adviser of the Boys' Advisory Committee of Harlem. And he's also the Eastern Vice President of the Negro Newspaper Association of America. I guess I better stop here, but as I said before, Mr. Werner has won so many honors that I really couldn't remember them all right now. I give you Ludlow W. Werner of the New York Age.
Werner: Thank you, Mr. Chase.
Chase: Well, let's see now. It seems to me, about a couple of weeks ago, Mrs. Hunter, we discussed the history and background of the Discrimination Law, didn't we?
Hunter: We certainly did, Mr. Chase. And we mentioned filing a complaint. Remember?
Werner: Filing a complaint? I shouldn't think you could talk about that too much. Tell me about the complaints, Mrs. Hunter. I doubt very much that everyone who is discriminated against in applying for a job files a complaint.
Hunter: I'm afraid you're right there, Mr. Werner. But everyone who has the slightest suspicion even that he or she has been the victim of discrimination in getting or keeping a job should file a complaint.
Chase: Well, Mrs. Hunter, just before we get really launched on this discussion, don't you think we ought to pause a moment and let the listeners know the address of the New York State Commission on Discrimination. And that is: 124 E. 28th St., 124 E. 28th St, New York, New York.
Hunter: Fine. And the name of the Commission is The State Commission. Under the law, as you know Mr. Werner and Mr. Chase, every person who is qualified is given an equal opportunity to a job.
Werner: I have been interested in this law even before it was a law. I followed its progress carefully, and when the temporary Committee Against Discrimination was appointed, I was extremely pleased with the support which came out for the bill on all sides and in so many different groups.
Chase: As a matter of fact, Mr. Werner, you were one of the chief supporters of this bill, weren't you?
Werner: Yes, Mr. Chase. I believe in it, and I believe in its principles. However, there are times when I feel that things are moving a little slowly. I read about Negroes being employed in a big department store, for instance, and I find that, out of 600 employees, only 6 are Negroes.
Hunter: It's very easy to look at the negative aspect of any situation, Mr. Werner. In fact, you know the old saying about the quarter that was held up to the eye and succeeded in hiding the sun? Not that you're doing that, of course, but I'm glad you asked that question. In many cases, and in many businesses, the hiring of Negroes or Jews or Catholic, or whatever may be the race, creed, or color which was the victim of the discrimination. Anyway this hiring has just begun. We are on the edge of a tremendous expansion in our democratic ideals. This law is a pioneer law. New York was the first state to pass such a law, and the employment of minority groups in this state is no token employment, I can assure you.
Werner: How would you prove that, Mrs. Hunter?
Hunter: First, by observation of the methods and attitudes of the commissioners. I'm convinced that every one of the five commissioners, diversified as they are, in respect to race, creed, and color, has the enforcement of this law at heart. Each one is sincerely interested in making the law effective to the last notch. They give of themselves of their time, of their effort without stint. And the result of their work is already felt and observable.
Chase: You don't mean to say that discrimination is really wiped out?
Hunter: Of course not, Mr. Chase. We have a long way to go. Rome was not built in a day. But we have begun, and for the year the Commission has been in operation, I can say there's a definite improvement in the employment patterns in this state. Mr. Werener, what do you think should be the attitude of the member of the minority group in respect to this law?
Werner: Mrs. Hunter, I feel that he should know what his privileges and duties are under the law. I would also say that his first job was to qualify himself for the job he is best fitted to fill. A man who wants to be a bank president, for instance, should develop that skill. He should take courses in business and bank administration. He should fit himself for that position, and of course he must realize that he has to fill some sort of training period in getting the experience he needs.
Hunter: I think you've hit the nail on the head, Mr. Werner. The great need of those who have faced discrimination today is qualification. You might even say in these competitive days, superior qualifications. To get a job, you must be qualified. That is basic.
Werner: Certainly. And vocational schools and university must accept the qualified applicant. I don't suppose we have enough time to go in to that angle?
Hunter: Not this time, but perhaps another time. I'd like to finish your thought, though, Mr. Werner, in regard to the next duty of the member of the minority group. If the first is that he must qualify himself, the second is that he must apply for the job he wants.
Werner: Yes, and a third naturally follows. That is, if he applies and is turned down, he must make a complaint under this law.
Hunter: Yes. I don't think that we can emphasize that enough. He must apply for the job, and if he doesn't get it, and he thinks he's been discriminated against because of race or creed, he must take the next step and file a charge.
Chase: That's an easy procedure too, isn't it, Mrs. Hunter?
Hunter: Yes. All he has to do is to come to the office of the Commission, tell his story, and he will receive assistance. The Commission then undertakes the investigation and secures compliance with the law.
Werner: I'd like to talk more about that sometime, Mrs. Hunter.
Hunter: We have a lot that we haven't said.
Chase: Well, shall we say: to be continued? Thank you, Mr. Werner and Mrs. Hunter. And don't forget, friends, if you think you have been discriminated against in a job, and you have been fired, if they haven't promoted you when you feel that you've earned a promotion, if a labor union keeps you out of membership, or an employment agency doesn't refer you to a job because you think you happen to be a Negro or a Catholic or a Jew, that is illiegal under the state law against discrimination. Come down to 124 E. 28th St. and tell your story. And now The Peterson Sisters take over the spotlight, and with the Triangle of Rhythm in the background, the girls give us the low down on "The Joint Is Really Jumpin' at Carnegie Hall."
[Peterson Sisters and Triangle of Rhythm perform "The Joint Is Really Jumpin' at Carnegie Hall"]
Chase: Oh, thanks girls. And shame on Carnegie Hall. We have with us today one of America's greatest character actresses, and the first lady of the Negro drama. She is a member of the company of "Anna Lucasta," which leaves next Monday for a possible world tour. I am very honored and very proud to present to you now on Freedom's Ladder that star of stage, screen, and radio, Miss Laura Bowman.
Bowman: Thank you, Bill Chase. It's certainly gratifying to hear such nice things about yourself.
Chase: Well Miss Bowman, all of us who have had any connection at all to the theater know about you and the great contribution that you have made. And I've always held you in great esteem.
Bowman: My. Thank you again. After that, I don't know what to say.
Chase: Oh, well. I think your art and your work really speak for you, Miss Bowman. By the way, how long have you been in the theater anyway?
Bowman: Oh, do you really want to know?
Chase: Sure. It seems to me that, ever since I was a little boy, I've heard of the name Laura Bowman.
Bowman: Well, on the third of next month, it'll be exactly 45 years.
Chase: But no! It couldn't be. Well, time really flies. That's a long time. I suppose that, during that time, you've played and trouped around with many of our great artists, haven't you? It seems to me that you should be able to tell me about some of them.
Bowman: well, let me see. Burt Williams, George Walker, Jesse Ship, Alec Rogers, Marion Cook, Abbott Mitchell. There are so many of them.
Chase: Oh, well. Miss Bowman, I'd like to ask you something about some of the great productions you've been in, but our time is so short. But first of all, what about the cast of "Anna Lucasta"? What's going on --
Bowman: Well I think it's a very fine cast. And what is so important is that it's made up of a group of a grand lot of youngsters with a lot of talent. They should really go places.
Chase: And I know they'll learn a lot from you, Laura. Well time is running out. Listen, couldn't you just -- will we have time for her to do a little number? A poem or something?
Producer: Bill, I know we relied on Miss Bowman doing something for us, but time is fast running out. So we must bring to a close Freedom's Ladder. Freedom's Ladder is directed and produced by Clifford Burdette. This is the Municipal Broadcasting System.