This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.
Marvin Sleeper hosts.
William J. Trent Jr., the executive director of the United Negro College Fund, answers questions.
Panelists include Paulette Singer and Penny Fox.
Many of the 31 member colleges are already have integrated student bodies, all of the faculties are already integrated. It has only been legal for these schools to integrate since 1954, but now the schools are actively recruiting white students. 12% of students are from the North portion of the US.
Medical schools have recently opened up a lot in the South. Professional school's doors are opening more rapidly than undergraduate schools. Trent disagrees with the quota system.
The total enrollment among the 31 member colleges is 23,000 students.
Refers to "Miss Lucy's case." Also talks about students in Alabama attempting to integrate.
He believes that the end to segregation will not put an end to Negro Colleges, but that they will have more white students.
He speaks of notable graduates from these schools - Thurgood Marshall and Martin Luther King, Jr.
He notes a problem in New York is housing - due to rent there is some defacto segregation.
Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection
WNYC archives id: 72047
Municipal archives id: LT7589
This is a machine-generated transcript. Text is unformatted and may contain errors.
Well desegregation make Negro colleges obsolete just what is the function of the United Negro College Fund for the answers to these and other questions listen now to campus press conference in which college editors interview prominent personalities on the news here by a transcription to introduce the members of the panel and their guest William J. Trent Jr Your moderator Marvin sleeper award winning reporter for The New York Journal American here is Mr sleeper Welcome to another edition of campus press conference we have before Marco phones today Mr William J. Trent Jr an expert on race relations Mr Trent has served as racial actions of officer for the federal Works Agency from one hundred thirty nine until one thousand nine hundred four previously he was advisor of negro affairs to the late secretary of interior Harold Ickes since one thousand nine hundred four Mr Trump has been executive director of the United Negro College fund the fund of the heart of a movement serving to better the educational opportunities of Negro students spent on getting a college education when you stop to realize that America has sixteen million Negro citizens that's about ten percent of our population yet Negro students make up less than four percent of college and Rowland's it's easy to realize what an important function the United Negro College Fund serves So let's find out first hand from Mr Trend what his organization has done in the past and what his goals off for the future Mr Trent probably has some important ideas to on the whole problem of racial integration based on his past experience in the field so let's get on to the interview here to question him our campus press conference reporters pull out singer of the N.Y.U. square Journal and Penny Fox of the Hunter College enrolled and how about the first question when you boil it and this to trying Could you explain to us every flavor just what the United Negro College Fund Yes call it the United Negro College Fund is an organization. Designed to help finance thirty one private colleges in the south with twenty three thousand students one is use for scholarship purposes primarily and for any other purpose needed in running a good college exactly how do you gather these funds we have campaigns in cities throughout the country to be exact about ninety S. It is in the spring every year we try to raise about two million dollars which represents about ten percent of the case in our budgets Mr Tranter any of the thirty one member colleges integrated Petter that's a very good question and let me repeat it because it's an important question Are any of the thirty one colleges in the United Negro College Fund integrated Yes and a great number of them are it depends of course on your definition of integration there are some colleges it's probably one or two or three white students and an enrollment of maybe four hundred or five hundred there are some without in the white students because you have to remember that prior to May seventeenth one thousand nine hundred four it was illegal to enroll white students but since then our colleges have been in recruiting white students regularly and number is growing how about the faculties are they integrated the faculties of all of our colleges have been integrated back to the since the beginning most of these colleges in the beginning say seventy five eighty years ago had Negro and white fact remember working and living together is there a distinct effort on moving out now in these colleges that have no white students yet to get these students. Yes pallette I just got a reply question there from some of our member colleges a few days ago we asked that particular question what are you doing to recruit white students a number of them actually are going into what known as white high schools in the south at the present time seeking students to come to their colleges some of them are lower floor than others depending on the circumstances. I'd like to add that college in Mississippi is not doing very much about it. One more question a sense of the white students in these cultures are distinctly a minority group new things that you have to choose the students so that they'll be the types that will be able to adjust to the new situation pretty well that's a very good question I'm not sure we paid much attention to it it's probably the reverse of the situation where a negro getting into a job somewhere has to be just a little better than somebody else the first one I suspect that the first white students go to these colleges will be just above the average because we want to be sure that the movement gets off on the right foot is there any resentment on the part of the Negro students in these colleges towards the new white students coming in no actually they have welcomed them and in some instances the students themselves have put pressure on the administration to recruit white students Mr Tran have subsidies subsidisation endowments increased or decreased since the colleges became integrated. Actually I can't answer that I can say this though there have been no pressures on the colleges to change their philosophy from sources where they get money actually the church boards and other agencies that help finance these colleges increasing the amount of money they are giving and we also are increasing the amount of money we are trying to raise because we know they have newer problems now I'm just a trying to see organization have any connection with the national scholarship fund for Negro students no we don't we work in parallel field a national scholarship fund for Negro students is concerned with trying to raise money to help students get into Northern Eastern universities the United Negro College Fund is concerned with the larger problem we have our college is located in the south where seventy six percent of Negro students live and we are anxious to help them because eighty percent of all students go to college in their own home state and that's where these people live that's where the colleges are located either only students from up north they're going to college yes twelve percent roughly of our student body are from the north where they could go where they wanted to but because their families had gone there because they belong to a particular church or they had friends are they were recruited because they were good athletes who. We are training about twelve percent of our students who come from the north have are from the New York area and one college that I'm particularly familiar with because I graduated from it it's located in North Carolina the largest number of students in the College of North Carolina the sex large second largest number from South Carolina and the third largest from New York. That's primarily due to the fact that the church that supports this college is very strong in New York State in the past year and the members of the church and their children down there are the doors to many Negro many private colleges close to negroes in the south that very few private colleges are open to new growth despite a Supreme Court decision because you see Supreme Court decision has no compulsion for private schools it's only applied to state school so that other words whether federal aid coming that's right austerity by state at right but when it comes to the private schools they can still exclude And in fact in some private schools in the south they are raising money on the grounds that we will maintain a policy of exclusion and if nothing can be done about it which is what you mean by that last statement there is a campaign for college in a state which shall be nameless that is being launched they are trying to raise extra money for endowment one of their arguments is you should help support this college because we will maintain an all white college whereas the state schools will be forced to open their doors to Negroes because of the Supreme Court decision and there is no law to know about this is no law been a private institution at the present time now what about Alexander training for instance and. For medical students Negro medical students what's the situation there actually that's opened up very well recently the University of Arkansas for instance has Negro medical students many universities medical schools in the south for instance in North Carolina and Louisiana. The junior Arkansas Oklahoma that those have been opened in the professional schools that are sold to professional schools and medicine for Negroes primarily Howard University in Washington D.C. and Muharram medical college in Nashville. But at the professional level you have the doors opening up much more rapidly than at the undergraduate level do you feel that the court is fair only grows in medical schools no adults can't defend the court or whoever imposes it but I think that there are a number of medical schools that are getting away from it now or at least hopefully even those that have them are not proud of them Mr Trent approximately how great is the demand for entry into any of these thirty one Colleges approximately of what is the total enrollment total enrollment to answer your second question first is roughly twenty three thousand students we have had to turn away students in the last four five years and we will continue to turn them away because a private college is designed primarily to do a quality job was fewer students chances are the great bulk of students who go to college will be going to state colleges the state colleges have to expand but our colleges figure that they have a contribution to make in the field of doing a unique job with fewer students better student teacher ratio and things of that sort and this to try and do you encourage more colleges to take part in your program the sides of thirty one that are now members of the family actually yes and no yes because I think we ought to include in the fund all of the colleges that are credited that are eligible you see a college in order to be a member of the United Negro College Fund has to be an accredited college which meets all the standards of other cars just the same as any other colleges in the region Well there are some colleges that are not in the fun five to be exact we've been trying to encourage them to to improve their standards so they can come in I'm a little concerned about that. They probably won't be able to get it anytime soon because some of our colleges right now very much like the Baptist church in Texas that discovered oil on its grounds and immediately they had a church meeting and closed the doors of the church and then taken in a more new members Well I think that the colleges that are in the fund now say well if we take in four or five new colleges we'll have to split the money for additional ways but this doesn't to move on to another topic that's a trend do you think that the water main was the case was effective in helping the disaggregation of higher education I definitely do Paulette Incidentally I know Miss Lucy I had the pleasure of meeting her several years ago I think it did I think that. She symbolized something that America was not quite aware that existed you see we had always said Give the students a chance and this thing would work out it happened University of North Carolina University of Texas University of Arkansas Oklahoma but this was the first time that the students themselves majority of the students had seen objected to the admission of negro student this was something new and I think it symbolized the whole picture I think it helped How long do you think it will take before the University of Alabama accepts Negro students fall of one nine hundred fifty six we've had several other people say that over the microphones Why do you say well there are two things one. Fourteen Negro students have already applied to university Alabama qualified since Mrs Case two I think the universe of Alabama President Carmichael whom I also know and who is not in my judgment as bad as he's been painted I think the situation has got out of hand you just don't know quite what to do about it but the universe of Alabama is anxious to do something. And there was a cautious statement issued by the president saying in effect that the universe too would consider bonafide applications you see they didn't quite consider Miss Lucy bonafide they thought that she was being pushed to sea by an outside organisation and I think that come September they will admit legal now getting back to these fourteen students have made application you know that for a fact they have that has been reported to me said I put it that way the students from from the area they are from the area they often Alabama they are from high schools in Alabama and I think that that's good because then you can't pin the label of outsiders on it just this is this is this is Alabama and they have all applied to September admission that's my understanding yes and this is tragic mentioned before that it was suspected that was Lucy was being pushed by an outside organization I take it you are friends of the N.A.C. in this case yes pallette that was the tenor of the comment of the of the White Citizens Council and they talked about things moving so fast Well it's a little amusing to me because Miss Lucy has been trying to get into university of Alabama for six years if you remember and six years it seems to me as a reasonable time to get into an institution do you think that perhaps some of the contention that the N.A.C. piece trying to push things a little too hard and besides Miss Lucy is case in the south could be well no I don't. I think that that is the counter position that's taken by people who don't want to do anything I think that in a C.P. has been diligent in its methods of going through the courts and perfectly legal way I think that statement about the N.E.A. C.P. officials have been perfectly clear on the point. The main thing we are interested in is that the states and the counties in the cities move. On this whole question as required by the Supreme Court we don't know how fast but show some evidence of good faith by moving and doing something about it do you think all fourteen of these students are going to get in this fall I don't think so they probably screen some of them out but I think that a goodly number of them will do you know any of them or no I don't know I know I know the school I know the schools where two of them are coming from but I don't know that they're going to be what White House calls are the one I was in Anniston Alabama and when I was in Tuskegee Alabama when you say some may be screened out you mean for general academic reasons surely Yes I mean the same standards applied they may not quite measure up in terms of do they graduate in the first third of the class or the first fourth of the class are they might might just be nice students but the standards might be a