22 store they had no money with which to pay for their purchases.

In document Political movements : three case studies of protest (Page 146-150)

In Columbus, Ohio, demonstrators conducted chain-ins and sit-ins

in the gallery of the state legislature demanding fair housing legislation. In San Francisco, Berkeley, and Los Angeles, California, CORE conducted 17 Ibid., Feb. 12, 1964, p. 25.

18 Ibid., Feb. 27, 1964, p. 23.


Ibid. 3 July 11, 1963, p. 18; Mar. 19, 1964, p.23; Apr. 12, 1964, p.45;

Aug. 13, 1963, p. 22; Jan. 1, 1964, p. 10. 20

Ibid. 3 May 16, 1963, p. 24; June 1, 1963, p. 1; June 25, 1963, p. 15;

June 26, 1963, p. 23.

^ Ibid. 3 Aug. 7, 1963, p. 21; Aug. 17, 1963, p. 8.


C0RE-lator3 March-April, 1964, n.p.

s i t - i n s i n r e a l t y a g e n c ie s w hich w ould n o t s e l l t o N e g ro e s. In P h i l a d e l p h i a , P e n n s y lv a n ia , CORE members dumped ju n k c o l l e c t e d i n slu m s on th e d o o r s te p o f a slum l a n d l o r d , dem anding t h a t he c o r r e c t

25 c o n d i tio n s i n th e p r o p e r t i e s he c o n t r o l l e d .

C i v i l r i g h t s l e a d e r s fo un d t h a t new w eapons w ere n eed e d to keep th e i s s u e s b e f o r e th e p u b l i c and th e a u t h o r i t i e s . F aced by th e

l e t h a r g y and i n d i f f e r e n c e o f c i t y a u t h o r i t i e s to N egro h o u s in g p ro b le m s , P h i l a d e l p h i a CORE saw no a l t e r n a t i v e b u t to a t t a c k and in c o n v e n ie n c e th e slu m l a n d l o r d s th e m s e lv e s . To h i g h l i g h t th e s q u a l o r and e x o r b i t a n t

r e n t s o f slum h o u s in g even i n c ity -o w n e d p r o j e c t s , C hicago CORE d e p o s it e d r a t s and c o c k ro a c h e s on th e m a y o r's d o o r s t e p ; t o h i g h l i g h t th e s e v e n te e n p e r c e n t Negro unem ploym ent r a t e i n t h e c i t y , CORE a s k e d t h a t th e

26 unem ployed be g iv e n jo b s a s r a t e x t e r m in a to r s and b u i l d i n g i n s p e c t o r s . B ecause th e Bank o f A m erica w ould n o t e n t e r i n t o a h i r i n g ag re e m e n t w ith CORE and th e C a l i f o r n i a F a i r Employment P r a c t i c e s Com m ittee (FEPC), CORE c o n d u c te d s t a l l - i n s a t bank b r a n c h e s ; a c t i v i s t s c o n d u c te d l e g i t i m a t e bank b u s in e s s i n th e s lo w e s t m anner p o s s i b l e , su c h t h a t one d e m o n s tr a to r to o k

27 t h i r t y m in u te s to p u r c h a s e $ 9 .5 0 w o rth o f c h a n g e .

New York C ity. New Y ork C ity p r e s e n te d t h e p ro b le m o f th e n o r t h e r n N egro

on an e x a g g e r a te d s c a l e . A bout 1 ,5 0 0 ,0 0 0 N eg ro es l i v e d i n t h e m e tr o p o li ta n

CORE-lator, 0 ^ 6 ^ 9 6 2 , n . p . ; NYT, S e p t. 1 5 , 1963, p . 6 7.

CORE-lator, S e p te m b e r, 19 6 3 , n . p . See a l s o " P h i l a d e l p h i a CORE

Goes Slum m ing", R ea l E s ta te and B u i ld in g , r e p r i n t (New Y ork: C o n g ress o f R a c i a l E q u a l i t y , 1 9 6 3 ).

PN, Aug. 2 8 , 1 964, p . 1 0 .

- 142 -

area, most of whom were jammed Into concentrated slum districts. A Department of Labor Survey, in discussing the twenty-three per cent coloured (fifteen per cent Negro and eight per cent Puerto Rican) section of the city's eight million people, reported that these groups had lower median family incomes and higher unemployment rates than any

28 other groups within the community.

The general problems in almost all Negro neighbourhoods in New York City were predictable - poverty, unemployment, crime, illiteracy, bad schools, bad housing. These conditions were aggravated in the last decade by new strains on institutional structures: as white attendance at parochial and private schools Increased, it also began to appear that by 1970 Negro and Puerto Rican children would exceed the rest of the school population; Negro unemployment rose as automation eliminated more unskilled and semi-skilled workers, of which Negroes were a dis­ proportionate number; housing for Negroes was kept permanently scarce and rents permanently high as cheap housing was demolished at a far

29 faster rate than that at which it was constructed.

If the problems of Negroes in New York were predictable, the methods of attack by frustrated people caught in the vicious circle of northern ghetto life were less predictable. In 1963, civil rights activists in New York City sat down at construction sites, chained themselves to iron grilles, dumped garbage on the mayor's doorstep, and refused to pay



June 2, 1963, p. 71. For a penetrating analysis of Negro life

in New York City, see Kenneth B. Clark, Dark Ghetto: Dilemmas o f

Social Potter (New York: Harper & Row, 1965).

Nathan Glazer and Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Beyond the Melting Pot:

The Negroes, Puerto Ricans, Jews, Italians, and Irish o f New York


(Cambridge: M.I.T. Press and Harvard University Press, 1963), pp. 24-85.

rent tedium landlords« In 1964, the protests included these and others as well - school boycotts, stall-ins of cars on major highways, and uncontrolled disorder and riots« While tactics continually changed, the protests shared certain characteristics. First, they were directed at both private interests and political authorities; secondly, they illus- strated the northern movement's assessment of the futility of mere reliance upon legal battles and recourse to courts of lav; thirdly,they pointed up differences between the dilemma of the northern Negro and that of the Negro in the South«

I shall discuss four different areas with which the civil rights activists in New York City were concerned and the tactics used to demand alterations in the status quo: job discrimination; slum housing conditions; school segregations and general ghetto conditions.

The problem of finding jobs for skilled Negro and Puerto Rican construction workers had numerous complications. To get jobs, such workers had to be trade union members. To become trade union members, they had to

complete apprenticeship training programmes or snow that they were quali­ fied journeymen,* they had to be nominated for union i^erabership by a sponsor, who also had to be a trade union member. Somewhere along the line, coloured workers had failed to become union members. Racial discrimination was

one factor, for the vocational high schools were producing more Negro graduates trained for the jobs than the unions were prepared to take on« But even if th> re were no union discrimination, there would be a shortage of skilled Negro workers in this field. In J u n e t1963, a newly— organized coalition group, the Joint Committee for Equal Employment Opportunity composed of representatives of the New York Chapters of the NAACP, CORE,




tne Urban League, the Negro American Labour Council, the Workers* Defense League, and the Association of Catholic Trade Unionists, charged labour bias against Negroes and Puerto Ricans in the hiring policies of unions and firms on job construction sites. The group, presided over by Negro ministers, demanded: that city and state authori­ ties halt work on all city and state construction jobs until construction


unions adopted a "meaningful program of integration"; that the

authorities enforce the laws against discrimination in the construction industry; that the authorities cancel contracts where discrimination existed, and that unions and firms make sure that Negroes and Puerto Ricans were hired to make up twenty-five per cent of the construction crews at city projects.

To counter the bias, the Joint Committee announced a series of 31

picketings at building sites in specified areas of New York. Work on some sites was halted temporarily by the city while its select panel conducted an inquiry into the hiring practices; but the work and the picketing were resumed simultaneously as the inquiry dragged on.

As the summer progressed, demonstrations led by the Joint

Committee, chapters of CORE or the NAACP, or local

ad hoc

groups, increased becoming more desperate and more dramatic with time. There were peaceful


In document Political movements : three case studies of protest (Page 146-150)