This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.
Guest is Dr . Frank S. Horne, Executive Director, City of New York Commission on Intergroup Relations.
Panelists include Jim Farrell, Alan Cohn, Michael Spielman, Marvin Oppenburg, and Larry Lipsitz.
Horne first describes the role of the Commission on Intergroup Relations. He describes the powers of the commission and their mission to promote positive relationships among all groups in the city and stamp out discrimination.
Horne is questioned about a statement made by Eleanor Roosevelt, in which she stated that New York City could not call itself integrated until the ghettos are abolished.
He speaks about neighborhoods and schools that are not truly integrated. He calls it de-facto segregation in our schools. He talks about the lower quality in these schools. He discusses the potential of busing to resolve segregation problems.
Horne notes that they have not yet held any public hearings and speaks of the committees power to subpoena individuals.
Horne specifically notes instances of discrimination in hospitals and nursing homes.
He describes how the average citizen can file a complaint with his department.
Marvin Sleeper moderates.
Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection
WNYC archives id: 73513
Municipal archives id: LT7671
This is a machine-generated transcript. Text is unformatted and may contain errors.
Ghetto neighborhoods such as Harlem be broken down so we really have integration in New York City what is being done about integrating more of New York's Public Schools has prejudiced subsided against Puerto Rican immigrants what can the commission on Intergroup relations do to remove segregation in New York for the answer to these and other questions listen now to your city stations campus press conference in which the editors of college newspapers interview a prominent personality in the new moderator for this transcribed program is Marvin sleeper award winning columnist for The New York Journal American here now to introduce our panel and tonight's guest is Mr Slater Good evening and welcome to another edition of campus press conference from the teaser questions you've just heard there's no doubt about it that we're going to get some information on the information problem and race relations problem that confronts our town our guest this evening is Dr Frank as Horn executive director of the Commission on Intergroup relations Dr Horn is a nationally recognized authority on the subject he served in the federal government for twenty years as a race relations expert and so he's well equipped to become the first director of the commission and that happened last year actually the commission is the ONLY officials of the agency authorized by the city charter to tackle the integration of race relations problem for the city according to local law fifty five the commission has two functions first to encourage and bring about understanding and respect amongst all groups regardless of religion and color and secondly to eliminate prejudice and discrimination wherever they find it. And that's a mighty big order even in the north so let's get on with the interview and find out how Dr Horn and his agency ticks here to question Dr Horn our campus press conference report is Jim Pharrell of the Fordham lexigram Alan Cohen of the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism Michael Spielman of the C.C.N.Y. campus and Marvin up in Bergen and Larry lipservice of the N.Y.U. square Journal and one of our first question from you Marvin happened merde Dr Horn What exactly are the functions of the city commission not into group for your relations the commission on any group relations are created by. The action of the city council in the summer of fifty five that has basically two broad charges I know one way to use every resource in the city the other city department of private meetings and whatnot to remove every possible vestige of differential and treatment of people groups organizations on the basis of race creed color or national origin and that we've all tackled when these force of the alleviation of discrimination segregation that set off of that power we can subpoena witnesses and records and hold public hearings. Recommendation for the mayor of the effects of City Department of the camp or result in five months out the other side of our charges or other positive one that we have to use all these results of to from all sound indignant relations in every way shape or form including the in-service training program going to college of education negotiations with city departments and five an organization to effect their policies and procedures in such ways as to see taught at least from old in every possible way found information from all about that marinade and I want on that one as I just want to ask you this that the vine that we really have integration in New York City or New York City has long had a reputation of. On what you might broadly call integration if we look at it as in the opportunities of citizens of all kinds of backgrounds races creeds and colors in the region to exercise their skills and abilities on the basis of an open and competitive market. For House of be it for a job the of a chance on the stage or to write a book or whatnot if you mean racial factors when you say discrimination or when you say integration I would say the city again has exercised extreme leadership in this field we have integration in city schools for consumer extent it's long been against the law have anything else here in the state of an integration in our public housing program ever since their inception inception we've gotten integration in the employment field and all kinds of jobs and so on we have a great degree of in the city and they are question from him far all in a television interview and of appearance last fall fizzes owner Isabel pointed out that New York City cannot claim to be an integrated city until it can actually abolish ghettos such as we see every day in Harlem where according to Mrs Roosevelt a white person cannot travel freely and the situation is similar to other ethnic groups around the city do you think that this is a true charge and do you think it should be corrected if it is true I think the so-called racial or ethnic religious ghetto is the last vestige of racism in this city that needs to be broken down in every way shape and form that we can have results from our what I would time a rather un-American economic practice and that is a restriction on the use and occupancy of private property on the basis of race or of creed or of color as such restrictions are interesting enough imposed by private interests real estate people mortgage lenders home BELIN. Which are unlike any other commodity in America which is an open market anybody can buy it you can not and the individual can't always sold buy or rent the house or Dr Horn if what you just said is true if it's against the principles we get as against the laws of private property how is it allowed to exist in that how is a very interesting business it's been allowed to exist because we've built up a practice and a policy. That there is something to be washed in homogeny idea of neighborhood or of District Project or of school by that I mean that very often and for long years real estate practice has put a premium on the business of the people of the same race or the same religion or the same creed of the same color very often living in different parts of the city in fact they have so exercise it that it affects even. What appear to be agreements with lenders because very often lending practices are different on a base of a man's race or his ethnic origin and different sections of the city well are they in violation of the law or them to the owners and violation of the law don't raise an interesting question we've some of us would feel that they are because United States Code. Still has a requirement that. People should have the same rights and the use of private or real property and Nigro citizens should have that same right but still it seems to be breached almost every day in this city as well as other cities that has not been tested head on as such in law although the courts have ruled. That you have the no part of a government including the costs can enforce a racial covenant and agreement on the restriction of property by Raith. They in one thousand nine hundred eighty eight just outlawed that on the basis of this require in a state called evolve the fourteenth Amendment question from Michael Spielman and Dr Horn the discrimination you've just been talking about has to do with some of the individual citizens in our city but how about our public school system isn't it true that there are some schools that are not very well integrated. This is true with the findings of the. Public Education Association are correct which are the void of education appears to assume in large measure and that is that there are a considerable number of city schools which are either ninety percent Negro and or Puerto Rican all ninety percent other ethnic group if in fact some seventy percent of our elementary school is now fall in that category. To that degree we would have to accept the response of the in the city that we have a kind of what I guess the technicians would call a de facto segregation in our school and most educators charge a good deal of this of course to the neighborhood residential patterns since the school reflects a neighborhood of the neighborhood is all Puerto Rican from many many blocks around that makes up the difficult that's gone and then it is true that that school becomes occupied by those children so we have a great measure of that in a city where was anything being done to clear this up yes I would say a great deal at the moment as being done. Was part of the activity of interested citizens that kind of raised this question at the beginning even before the Supreme Court in one of states ruled about segregation in schools by law on the basis of findings after this question had been raised an objective study was made in the facts were found that not only do you have a large number of schools by fact segregated but unfortunately some of the very schools most of those very schools. A show what always seems to happen when you segregated by race and that's. Way schooling and worst equipment and very often noise teaching for those in the so called Difficult all subject schools is a lame question from Laurie lapses I understand that their school buses are being used to transport student students some distance from their homes in order to work attempt to integrate schools which have become segregated because of the residential segregation that is the proper way to eliminate segregation doesn't this avoid the core of the problem which is that residential segregation I don't think unfortunately there's a lot of things being said and written about. Bussing children and while I can't speak for the Board of Education I can reflect what they report about this I don't know that there's practically any instance where they're hauling children on the basis of race and race only in fact the statements of the officials over and over again and said that's not the way they want to carry this out now children are being bused for various reasons. Some school is over yours and one under your children a bunch of them for various other reasons and what the board now says if that when they are using buses for equalling equalizing out their school facilities they will observe as a principal every opportunity to make it possible for kids of various racial and ethnic groups to be in the same school building and in the same classroom Alan Cohn You seem to have a question there Dr Harnett in connection with this whole problem what can your commission do in a legal manner to cure any of these problems do you have any legal powers at all when you say legal powers in the sense that we can issue a cease and desist orders now and you take people to court for discriminatory practices No but if it's a if we're talking about school for example we as a city department as well as a school are on the board of education we have a call out of responsibility we feel under our law. To use every resource we can to see taught that there is this equal opportunity and by that we work with the Board of Education and its commissions carrying out this job to see to it that we can affect their policy and procedure and so. Bring it to the attention of public opinion as well as to the mayor and city officials. To see to what this is carried out well Dr Harun No if you don't have any legal powers in this sort of begging the question I mean of what you can really do in a practical matter I mean why have this your commission on inner group relations if you can't do anything legally isn't just adding another beer all to the cities and then astray. Where would your sake we do anything legally we feel in the city of New York we do what any other city department can do and enforcing what we what we attempt and carrying out this matter. We have found for instance the whole state commission against discrimination which has been exist in some dozen years. And there are reports tell me that they haven't found a handful of cases that are actually of going to a public hearing. Involving our power we feel in one of the biggest powers that our records that public opinion and furthermore Secondly we're finding if the city is involved there's a high sensitivity in city departments among the heads of agencies among people down the line that they are not made subject to the charge of racial discrimination some of the five sentences but the words were bought by the angels themselves just at the outset of this program you mentioned the fact that you had subpoena powers in what sense do you have subpoena powers if you have it and any legal authority to. Go into an integration and. Go into segregation and stop it well. Our lawyer happens to be the cooperation council we are also responsible on all the what laws or requirements are on the books of the city of New York in regard to matters of racial discrimination are also within our province and when we say subpoena power that is part of our power to hold public hearings in which we can bring before public view any action of this kind and focus upon it the force of public opinion while you've been in operation now about a year or so and you have to correct Have you ever held any public hearing not as yet but yet you say you find that there is plenty of cause to to plan your cause for saying that our city is not well integrated and it's correct on how those of these two facets of this question jive then you haven't held any public hearings have you subpoenaed anyone Well let me give you a simple instance of how we do operate on the quick ways to do it and the partner welfare has been sending some of its welfare clients out of hospitals into private nursing homes it came to our attention of these private nursing homes rather some ninety two of them some forty odd what discriminating on the basis of in one in some instances Negroes were not admitted to the nursing home some instance of Puerto Rican some into June one instance of Christian Science of various forms of restrictive practice what we did we discussed this matter with a partner of hospitals and partner welfare and they admitted that this of course was a highly questionable practice where a public funds for abuse and suggested with us that we called the officials of the private medicine Homes Association together to see if we could get a species of voluntary cooperation I say voluntary although in this session would be officials. The Patna welfare did not hesitate to indicate that since they were sending the patients and paying for their care. If we didn't get cooperation they would be compelled to withdraw city funds for support of such patients in addition our cooperation council or brought into play with us the department hospitals and the licensing power after all these institutions a licensed by the city of New York and if they are so licensed and public policy require nondiscrimination we see no reason that we could not ask for them to drop the license and they were so told well in this