Charles Abrams

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Charles Abrams (left joins Edith Alexander, Frank Karelson, Jr, Maxine Wood and with actor Canada Lee as The Citywide Citizens Committee of Harlem in 1946. Abrams was with the Natl Housing Authority.

This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.

Abrams, Chairman of the State Commission Against Discrimination, answers question about discrimination in housing and employment.

Marvin Sleeper hosts.

Panelists: Ruth Corsnick, Jim Farrell, Mike Spielman, and Alan Siegel


The progress made over the next year will be legislative and administrative. To stop discrimination in employment, change must be industry-wide. A state-wide anti-discrimination housing bill and the Sharkey-Brown-Isaacs bill against discrimination in housing. The Commission can institute regulatory action in the event of a complaint. Migration of Puerto Ricans and "Negroes" is an indication that employment is widening. Minorities in department stores, public accommodations from which they have previously been excluded. Most notable gains in insurance, banking, brewing, railroads. A negro woman from New York was hired to work for an airline. Failure to hire by the airlines has been mentioned abroad. Hiring of a negro helicopter pilot. Specifications for hiring women as airline hostesses: the airlines have always felt the girl must be a "banker's daughter type": good complexion, good legs, certain weight and age. "A negro girl can have a good complexion and be qualified to do the chores one has to do in airlines." TWA has promised to make efforts to hire in flight capacities. Public hearing has been scheduled. American Airlines, probable cause has been found. Differences between upstate and downstate complaints: housing is the greatest problem because migrations have increased. A non-discriminatory pattern in industry in Syracuse, but there is lag in advancement. All cities upstate, including New York, jobs are available for non-whites, but no applicants apply. To improve housing, a supply of housing is required; the vacancy rate is less than 1% in the city. Reforms should include loans for buying and renting. The current complaint system takes more time than they'd prefer. He doesn't favor a penal law for offense. Probable cause was found against TWA, and the president resigned. They are deciding whether or not to redefine their policy.

Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection

WNYC archives id: 72043
Municipal archives id: LT7893