This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.
Frank Titus moderates.
Alexander J. Allen, Associate Director of National Urban League, discusses "the current status of the Negro in America."
Panelists include Bruce Herrell and Mike Selkin.
The National Urban League is celebrating its 50th anniversary and will be holding a conference the following week.
What changes are anticipated for Negroes in 1970 - better housing, fair education, employment based on merit. Will cities become exclusively Negro? Allen believes the future of cities relies on community involvement, housing development, etc. Not simply race.
The Urban League's job is involvement in communities and leadership. Each city will have to develop its own priorities.
Housing represents the most serious problem today. Discrimination in municipal services.
Unequal educational opportunities and medical services are also discussed.
Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection
WNYC archives id: 72056
Municipal archives id: LT9017
This is a machine-generated transcript. Text is unformatted and may contain errors.
Well nine hundred sixty sing Negro voting for the next Cabinet included Negro were minorities came from equality in this decade Negroes making progress all the answers to these and other questions listen now do your city stations campus press conference this transcribed discussion the editors of college newspapers question newsworthy personality or moderator on campus press conference is W N Y C News editor and reporter Frank Titus to introduce the panel and today's guest here is Mr Titus Good afternoon today our campus press conference guest is Mr Alexander J. Allen associate director of the National Urban League the members of our college news panel asking the questions are like silken Columbia Daily Spectator and Bruce a rail based college press the National Urban League devoted to the improvement of race relations and the Negroes fight for equal opportunity in every aspect of American life is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary beginning Sunday September second that weeklong conference will be held at the hotel comment on the conference Spain will be race relations in the sixty's what course for Americans there sitting station will broadcast portions of that conference the current status of the Negro in America and the work of the Urban League from the basis of our discussion today and here's Mike Celcom with the first question Mr Allen what difference is in the race relations in the condition of Negroes do you expect different than the conservatives it's hard to be a prophet but I think there is no doubt what some of the trends we have seen develop in the mid fifty's and the sixty Minutes. I'm thinking particularly with some additional progress in housing certainly our trend towards burying one that practices. And on the basis of merit without reference to race is going to come much closer to full realization we have some major economic. Better. Seventy and distribution of health and welfare services. Minorities of various types. Do you think the. Two major parties. It depends on how much implementation takes place. And to some degree. How much is actually going to be done by either party to live up to these promises promises is something that I think any one of us could take a guess that first around Mr Allen what is the future of negroes in American cities will be American city be entirely negro the way the pattern has been going along for the last couple of years when I think there's a lot of learning to excitement about population figures which have come out of the one nine hundred sixty census and perhaps that to some extent even on the preliminary estimate we see. Some proportion which. But actually we should not be measuring the legal into the city itself we should be measuring the metropolitan area. People are moving to the suburbs because. At a higher level there are certain opportunities we want fresh air for the children there are a number of motivations some of them are related to race some of them are not. The negro population is experiencing some movement toward more desirable areas in the city and other racial nationalism and I think that the future of the city is one that is going to be determined largely by what happens in the next few years on the area on the level of community organization and community involvement neighborhood improvement neighborhood stabilization legislation to fair housing legislation comparable to the fair employment practices legislation that in many cities in many states is anybody's guess but it depends largely on what you and I and others actually do with I time one of the Urban League race relationship where we have a job as we see it is one of involvement of leadership trainee recruitment and. The problems that face local communities around the country we have. Sixty three local affiliates in cities in all parts of the country and in those cities with the help of interation and. Staffs we are able to pull together leadership community from the general community from business education. In an effort to sort of on a common table and thrash out the problem and decide on a course of action that pattern will not be one in which we. Have. Set of priorities. Program. Designed to operate just around what social or economic area to make her suffer the greatest discrimination. Well I think. Represents the most serious problem of the present time. But I suggest that the problem is. When you compare. The. Causation that you can see in the problem of housing discrimination the way in which you deprive. Equal educational opportunity neighborhood conditions. Tangible things. Which takes place in the segregated. Residential segregation so perhaps that. Problem right now the. City sanitation to discriminate in collecting garbage. I would say in cities around the country it's very common practice to find that. To be able to make you don't know at all about New York City that I couldn't. What should be done about housing discrimination a number of things there. You. Know about the fact. Patterns we need to know more about the successful experiences rather than the ones which the unsuccessful experiences which results unfortunately. So many cases the. Represents. Tension and excitement perhaps even violence. Is. An adjustment as man. Just is not as good a story in that. You generally don't realize that. They have a logic like. Downtown section. Of cities around. Persons who have successfully developed patterns and I think that's what we need to know more about this kind of thing in the world. That has many benefits for the total community as well as for. Minority families and. We have. Some states now and some cities which have their housing legislation we have a New York City we don't have it yet in the state of. Florida. We have it in the city of Pittsburgh. And legislation the city of Cleveland Ohio recently failed but hopefully it will succeed later on and they are some states as I say. Mr. You know it's very hard question I think. That. The. Particular kinds of pressures based on race. Consciousness and that awareness. Economic issues they want in terms of their basic economic. They in many instances of course are a part of labor right of organized labor trade unions. And such persons will have. To and I will agree to the extent that labor is a reality I think increasingly it is becoming. I think there is reality to this concept that there is to be a collision. I read a story not too long ago about an experience in one community in which persons. Was being interviewed about the. Point that. There was was not going to be racial in this particular election until the concern about it and the expressions of general community leadership and the. Limitations which were being put on. A racial element in the community. Conscious of the special treatment that they receive and that they felt that the only recourse was to vote in terms of what they thought would be their best interest as racial. Or. Vice President Nixon it's difficult to say at this point. I think there's no question but. The fact that. The Democratic Party has some strong elements in it which I strongly oppose. Right. On the other hand. There are certain results which need to be and the civil rights and equality of opportunity. Which apparently. Municipal and state. They have to be supplemented by certain federal steps and yet there is a strong feeling in the Republican Friday that too much federal legislation is not. So. And will be benefited most is the defense in this connection. Is there any disadvantage to Senator Kennedy Senator Johnson Yes I think that's true. I think that. Senator Johnson represents in the Negro community across the country it is not the favorable one his role in the one nine hundred fifty seven at the. Civil rights legislation is not one which is one the unanimous admiration. And just the fact that he has Southern connections and the fact that he was named. To the ticket was. Almost universally as a step to. Solidifying the party and retaining the support of the South was sufficient to cause concern and perhaps justifiable concern me if I want to Bruce I'd like to develop this a bit more leaving Lyndon Johnson aside is there some anti Kennedy sentiment among Negroes concerning the man himself I'm not aware of it at least we've heard Jackie Robinson and Adam Clayton Powell express sometimes when you say the man himself. As you may recall I had breakfast meeting with one of the Southern governors which again. And the Southern governor was accompanied by the president of the chairman of the right Citizens Council in that state. And I think whether you call that Senator Kennedy himself or his associates. It presented a problem. To him and may very well cost him support. There's no anti Kennedy sentiment among Negroes because religion is there I would not think so from surrounding other negro Catholics do I understand. Mr Allen more and more negroes are attending colleges today do they actually have an opportunity when they graduate in other words as there are other jobs available to them and the strain of Commerce and professions increasingly so we have not yet reached the millennium we are not yet at the point at which we can say to the negro high school graduate or to the college student that you will have the same chance that any other college graduate has we hope of course that someday to reach that point but we're not there yet we can say however that many many more doors are open these days than world one just a few years ago the Urban League itself has played a tremendous role in this in its development program that's worked with through its Commerce and Industry Council which is called vice president of Union Carbide cooperation cochairman. It also about ten years ago did something which was written up in one of the national magazines Ebony magazine just a month or so ago in summary fashion. For the first time it brought the recruiting officers from the major corporations. General Electric Westinghouse General Motors number about this I took the campus of the Negro College of negro University Howard University in Washington D.C. And these men for the first time were exposed to the qualifications of Negro college students and college graduates and found it very enlightening as a result they interviewed and made a number of job offer office so that today these corporations. Recruit at a number of negro colleges and also have begun to take an interest in the Negro college graduate or Negro college senior who is enrolled at some of the larger schools which are not making. About the Negro doctor that's a practice in white communities today it varies. And historically you can find a number of instances. Going back. Perhaps. To soon after the Civil War in which Negro doctors. Practiced among whites is one of them. So that the extent to which it happens today is not we could not call it a new development I think perhaps you might say that there's more of it. These days than perhaps a few years ago. Yet if you compare the statistics the number of doctors per ten thousand population is so much smaller among Negroes that it is among whites the need there is so much greater even though the economic ability to pay is so much less about the New York City hospitals do you think there are enough to grow doctors. I would say not. I think New York perhaps to a lesser degree than other places but New York too suffers from the same problem less than adequate medical care for Negro Puerto Rican neighborhoods Why is this Is there discrimination in the medical schools. Yes that is widespread. Historically. The negro medical student had to go to Howard University in Washington D.C. which. More recently the pressures for. Medical personnel have made themselves evident some of the schools have begun to loosen up to open up opportunities but even today I would say that there is a strong pattern of continuing discrimination limitations of opportunity I would not put the think you're specifically on the schools in the New York area I would say it's a national problem. Myself. Prejudice. I would say that it is a problem. Whether it's and to some degree serious Yes I think it needs to be always considered though when conjunction with the the cause it's really a reflection and frequently a very faint reflection of the experience that the negroes and had with the attitudes of the dominant community. Is the way people reacted if you don't like me I don't like you when you feel that there's a niggers accepted into it society this was stuff I think I think without a doubt it will. This problem to the degree that it does exist into the work of building yes it does we as I say are dedicated to the concept of teamwork. Bringing together people from various kinds of backgrounds and experiences of areas that both sides of the racial fence so to speak and from all levels of society and locational. Class etc to pull them together into the kind of. Cooperative endeavor I think the team concept probably the best way to express it and when we find anti-racial feelings whether they be directed against Negroes all whites or religious groups for that matter to hinder isn't it handicap the kind of teamwork we're seeking to develop does the emergence of the unity chanson African leaders influence this problem I think it influences it in a very positive fashion. Because too many negroes in this country. In years past have not had enough knowledge of the actual facts. African history and racial history to have a degree of self-confidence and a degree of personal pride which is necessary to function adequately I think that's one of the things that has come out very positively from this experience of the new nations and their continued growth and development. Mr Allen is a true that there are a number of entertainers Negro entertainers who approve their money to buy property in a white neighborhood in other words they can afford to buy at a high price and after they buy a Negro family moves in their prices keep. Tumble down is there any chance that the state not for this moment time and time again well it sounds like. Some of the rumors that you heard during the war on the island or clubs the pushing clubs and the repeated stories that you would hear that Negroes had all been eyes with the purpose of pushing whites off the sidewalk and any time person happen to be just on the street he would assume that well this person must be a member of this club that he was an organized campaign and sometimes the names of organizations were related to it and it was alleged that this organization that one hand sponsored was sponsoring such and such an effort. Knowing there is no such effort to my knowledge I am virtually certain that. This is not factual report. There there is this kind of perhaps fragment