Box 13, Folder 15, Complete Folder

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Box 13, Folder 15, Complete Folder

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SUI rE 5 Z6
ATLANTA, GA. 30303
7, 1967
Mr . Dan Sweat ,
Governmental Liaison Director
City Hall
Atl anta, Georgia
tear Mr . Sweat2
The Atlanta Chapter of the American Jewish Committee woul d welcome
the opportunity to par tic ipa te in Atl anta's Urban Coalition. The American
Jewish Committee is participating in this effort on a national level, and
our people here can and should make a constructive contribution to the
solu t1on of local problems .
Our Chapter Cl'lairman, William B. SChwartz, Jr., is Presid nt of Zap
nufacturing Company and a Vice-President of National Service Industries .
He would be willing to serve, as would Edward Elson , Vice-Chair n and
President of the Atlanta News Agency and Elson •s Book Stores. Mr . lson
p rticip ted in the Washington meeting at which the National Coalition w s
for d.
Please dvis
nture o
us wh ther 1 t would be po sible for us to cooper te in
Cordi lly,
~R. ~i .
Southeast Are

yor Iv n Allen
�October lO, 1967
Mrs . Merlyn E . Richardson
League of Women Voters
3121 Maple Drive, N . E .
Atlanta, Cieorgia 30305
De r Mr • Richardson:
Tbank you very for your letter of October
27th and the support of the Le gue of omen
Voters of the formation of n Atlanta U r b a n ~
C litio •
ve just begun and we will be pleas d to
keep you advised.
Sincer ly your ,
Ivan Allen,
CC : Mr . Dan Sweat
�October Z.7, 1967
Mrs . Joshua D . Shubin, President
Atlanta Section
National Counc il of Jewis h Wo men
793 Piedmont Avenue, N. E .
Atl.ant , G orgia 30308
Dear Mrs . Shubin:
Thank you very much for your letter of October
26th and your intere t in the Atlanta Urban
ure you that e appreciate your offer
i tance and wW be glad to give c
to the N tional Council of Jewish omen a we
Sincerely your ,
Ivan Allen, Jr.
CC: Mr. Dan Sweat
�The Urban Coalition
Federal Bar Building West/ 1819 H Street, N. w. Washington , D. C. / 20006
Steeri ng Committee Co-chairmen: Andrew Heiskell / A. Philip Randolph
October 9, 196 7
Press Officer
City of Atlanta
Office of the Mayor
Atlanta, Georgia
Dear Sir:
We would appreciate your sending us a biography of Mayor
Ivan Allen, Jr. for our files .
Thank you for your assistance.
i rs,
01' - l ~REY
Information Coordinator
National Coordinators : John Feild/ Ron M. Linton
Telephone 293-1530
Indicated below are the cities from which The Urban Coalition has received
either from the mayor or other community leadership expressions of interest in
forming local counterpart coalitions. We are now in the process of exploring
the reality of that interest in these cities and the possibili t y of Coalition
assistance in response to requests for organizing and programming help.
Phoenix, Ari zona
Saginaw, Michigan
Little Rock, Arkansas
St. Paul, Minnesota
Compton, California
Kansas City , Missouri
Oakland, Cali f ornia
St . Louis, Missouri
Pasadena, California
University City , Missouri
Richmond, California
Omaha, Nebraska
Riverside, California
Las Vegas, Nevada
San Berna dina, Californ ia
Atlantic City, New J ersey
San Di e go, Ca lifornia
Paterson, New J er sey
San Francisco, California
Buffalo, New York
Denver , Colorado
Syracuse, New York
Ha rtford , Connec t icut
Cha rlot te , North Carolina
New Hav en, Connec ticut
Fargo, North Dako t a
Wilmington, Delaware
Akron, Ohio
Savannah , Georg ia
Cincinnati, Oh io
Honolulu , Hawaii
Col umbus, Ohio
Chi cago, I ll inois
Port l and , Oregon
Des Moines, Iowa
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Kansa s Ci t y , Kans a s
Prov idence , Rhode Is l and
Topeka, Kansas
Chat tanooga, Tenn.
Lexington, Kentucky
Nashvi lle, Tenn.
Louisville, Kentucky
Seattle, Washsng ton
Baltimore, Maryland
Tacoma, Washington
Boston, Massachusetts
Beloit, Wisconsin
Jackson, Michigan
Madison, Wisconsin
This list does no t include cities where we a r e informed local count erpar t organi za tions are either already formed or nearing formation. Those cities are as follows:
�- 2 -
Atlanta, Georgia
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Detroit, Michigan
New York, New York
A full report on these efforts will be made at the Steering Committee meeting
on October 9th.
�BUDGET AUGUST 1, 1967 - JANUARY 31, 1968
Professional Staff (7)
Clerical (5)
Employer Contributions
$ 56,000
Program Expenses:
Conferences and meetings
Publications and printing
Consultant fees
$ 3,000
Operating Expenses:
Office Rent
Furniture Rental
Equipment Rental
Telephone and Telegraph
Office Supplies
$ 4,600
August Convocation

- - --
- - - - -- -- - --

In recognition of the importance of agreement and clarity as to procedure
for an ad hoc group such as The Urban Coalition, on September 21st the
National Coordinators proposed the establishment of a representative committee
drawn from the Working Committee to consider two questions:
What procedures should be adopted to enable the
Steering Committee to develop and implement public
policy positions?
What organizational structure should the Coalition develop?
The Committee consists of the following members:
Rabbi Richard Hirsch, Chairman (Synogogue Council of America)
Wayne Smithy (Ford Motor Company)
Alfred Eisenpreis (Allied Stores)
Andrew Biemiller (AFL-CIO)
Peter Tufo (New York City)
Bayard Rustin (A. Philip Randolph)
Harold Fl eming (Potomac Institute)
Generally speaking, the public policy positions of The Urban Coalition should
be achieved by consensus.
Occasionally, however, it is l ikely that individual
members of the Steering Committee may, for good and sufficient reason, wi sh to
dissent or express reservations.
This is to be expected and should be provided
f or with a procedural agreement that will enable the Coal ition to act, at the
same time protecting the interests of those in di sagreement.
should be simple and clear .
Such procedures
They should be limited to public policy positions .
(The normal administrative affairs of The Urban Coalition should be governed
by regular parliamentary procedure ~ith simple majority approva l serving as
the basis for action) .
In s o far as possible, advance notice shall be given
of pub l ic policy questions to be on t he agenda of any meeting .
Issues of
public policy not on the advance agenda may be added to the agenda for discussion at the meeting with the approval of a majority of those present.
�The following procedures are proposed with respect to public policy positions
of The Urban Coalition:
A quorum shall be a majority of the Steering Committee.
Any Steeri ng Committee member may be represented by an alternate.
Public policy decisions will be made only by the Steering Committee.
Only those approving (voting YES) will be listed in public statements.
It is understood that each Steering Committee member is free to determine
the form and extent of his participation in any activities to implement
any public policy position taken by The Urban Coalition.
Members of the Steering Committee, or their alternates, may vote YES,
NO, or may ABSTAIN.
The Coalition shall take no action on any public policy matter where:
Any five members of the Steering Committee (or their alternates)
vote NO.
Any on e of the fiv e e lements of the Ste ering Committ ee (business,
l abor, civil ri ghts , religion , local government) vot e NO, provided that at least a majority of the members of that element
are present (or repre s ented).
Polling the Steering Committee will ordinaril y not be nece ssary.
the ne ed oc cur, i t should be limit ed as far as possible to implement ation
of those issue s upon which the St eering Committee has a lready acted.
spec ia l polls should be communicat ed in writing or by t e legram with a specifi ed re s ponse dat e indicat ed .
Such emergency polls shall be governed
by the proc edures outl i ned above f or det erming a ll publ i c policy po s it i ons .
I n order t o be eff ective , the Steering Committ ee of the Ur ban Co aliti on shou ld
no t be substantial ly en l arged beyond i ts present number.
For the present, the
task force concept can pr ovide amp l e opportunity f or en l arged participati on in
the program interests of the Coalition.· The l eadership and members of the
task forces can report t o and meet with the Steering Committee as needed .
Pers ons can be enlisted t o work on projects as they arise .
�As counterpart local coalitions are formed, however, or as existing coalition
groups express their desire to support and work for the goals of the Urban
Coalition, provision will have to be made to channel and coordinate these
It is recommended, therefore, that the Steering Committee authorize
the establishment of a Council on Local Coalitions.
Local groups affirming
their support of the Statement of Principles, Goals and Commitments and having
memberships that reflect the elements of the National Steering Committee shall
be invited to designate two representatives to serve on the Council.
At an early date, a meeting of the Council will be convened for the purpose
of exchanging views, making recommendations to the national Steering Committee,
and electing two representatives to serve on the national Steering Committee.
Staff services for the Council will be provided by the national coordinating
Presented by Working Sub-Committee on Reorganization
In recognition of the importance of agreement and·· clarity as to procedure
for an ad hoc group
such as The Urban Coalition, on September 21st the National
Coordinators proposed the establishment of a representative committee drawn
from the Working Committee to consider two questions:
What procedures should be adopted to enable the Steering
Committee to develop and implement public policy positions?
What organizational structure should the Coalition develop?
The Committee consists of the following members:
Rabbi Richard Hirsch, Chairman (Synogogue Council of America)
Wayne Smithy (Ford Motor Company)
Alfred Eisenpreis (Allied Stores)
Andrew Biemiller (AFL-CIO)
Peter Tufo (New York City)
Bayard Rustin (A. Philip Randolph)
Harold Fleming (Potomac Institute)
Generally speaking, the public policy positions of The Urban Coalition
should be achieved by consensus.
Occasionally, however, it is likely that
individual members of the Steering Committee may, for good and sufficient
reason, wish to dissent or express reservations.
This is to be expected and
should be provided for with a procedural agreement that will enable the Coalition
to act, at the same time protecting the interests of thos e in disagreement.
Such procedures should be simple and clear.
policy positions.
They should be limited to public
(The normal administrative affairs of The Urban Coalition
should be governed by regular parliamentary procedure with simple majority
approval serving as the basis
for action.)
The following procedures are
therefore proposed with respect to public policy positions of The Urban Coalition:
A quorum shall be a majority of the Steering Committee
Any Steering Committee member may be represented by an alternate.
Decisions will be made by those present.
Only those approving (voting YES) will be listed in public statements.
It is understood that each Steering Committee member is free to determine
the form and extent of his participation in any activities to implement
any public policy position taken by The Urban Coalition.
Members of the Steering Committee (or their alternates) may vote YES,
NO, or may ABSTAIN.
Any five NO votes shall constitute a veto on action
by The Urban Coalition.
tion of a veto.
An abstention shall not be counted in determina-
A majority of those present must affirm any action on
public policy positions.
A unanimous NO vote by any one element of the Steering Committee shall
also constitute a veto, provided that at least a majority of the members
of that element are present (or represented).
Polling the Steering Committee will ordinarily not be necessary.
Should the
need occur, it should be limited as far as possible to implementation of those
issues upon which the Steering Committee has already acted.
Such special
polls should be communicated in writing or by telegram with a specified
response date indicated.
Such emergency polls shall be governed by the
procedures outlined above for determining all public policy positions.
17 17 Massachusetts Ave. N.W .
Wa shi ngton, D. C. 20036
(202 ) 265-2224
William L. Slayton
Exec utive Vice President
September 12, 1967
To the Officers, Trustees, and friends of
Urban America:
Last winter, Stephen Currier proposed that leaders from the major
segments of society that make up our cities be brought together to
press for the cities' needs. On Thursday, August 24, more than
1,200 such leaders met in an unprecedented Emergency Convocation
to further this objective in the name of the Urban Coalition. The
day, by coincidence, was the 3 7th anniversary of Stephen Currier's
I am enclosing, with the pride and satisfaction he would have
shared, the report of that Convocation, including the statement of
goals it adopted. I believe that it constitutes a truly significant
first step toward forming the kind of national consensus required
for the solution of our critical urban problems. The accompanying
selection of clippings indicates that there is wide agreement on this
The Urban Coalition is now an independent force, and Urban America
has helped make it so. We will continue to work in whatever appropriate ways we can to make its goals a reality .
Sincerely ,
41 Exchange Place, S. E., Atlanta, Ga. 30303
Merit Program
SouJheaI/ern Regional Office
1818 S. Main St.
High Point, N . C.
September 19, 1967
The Honorable Ivan Allen, Jr.
Office of the Mayor
City Hall
Atlanta, Georgia 30303
Dear Mayor Allen:
We are encouraged to note that you are participating
in the deliberations and programming sponsored by the Urban
We are particularly concerned with two phases of the
Coalition's statement of principles: (paraphrased) 1) "to
work for a guarantee of 'equal access to all housing, new
and existing';" and 2) "as a first goal in dealing with
unemployment 'putting at least one million presently unemployed into production at the earliest possible moment'."
Please be assured that the experiences gained from
our Atlanta Community Relations Program, concerned with
fair housing and employment on merit, will be made available to the personnel of such committees as you may consider
appointing to deal with these issues.
Sincerely yours ,
- - - - - - - - - - -- -- - - - Al NATIONAL HEADQU ARTERS - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - G 1LBERT F. WH ITE, Chairman • H EN RY J. C ADBU RY, H onorary Chairmr.11 • C LARENCE E. PI CKETT, Exec111ivo S ecretary Em eriti/I •
COLIN W. BELL, Exerntiz•e S ecretary
�September 12, 1967
Mrs . J oshua D . Shubin, President
Atlanta Section
National Council of Jewish Women
793 Piedmont Avenue, N. E.
Atlanta, Georgia 30308
Dear Mrs . Shubin:
Thank you very much for your letter regarding the
recent Washington Conference on Urban Coalition.
I am delighted that the Atlanta Section of the National
Council of Jewish Women was represented at the
Conference and I am mo t grateful for your offer of
as i tance. I will be glad to keep you advi ed as our
plan develop.
Sincerely yours,
Ivan Allen, Jr.
September 7, 1967
Mayor Ivan Allen, Jr.
City Hall
Atlanta, Georgia
Dear Mayor Allen:
The National Officers of the National Council
of Jewish Women, as well as one of the local officers of
the Atlanta Section, attended the Washington conference on
Urban Coalition, of which we know you were an important
Council has in the past shown great leadership in implementing programs which contributed to the
welfare of all our citizens. At a time when the nation is
confronted with a potentially dangerous situation in its
urban areas, we must do all we can to help solve the problems in our community. If you are not already aware of
Council's present programs - we are locally volunteering
in two Atlanta schools in poverty areas , namely Grant Park
School and Ware School. Our program has been extremely
successful, and we have found our greatest achievement
from a "one to one" experience. Our Golden Age Employment
Service, for all people over fifty, has contributed much
toward helping the hard core unemployed secure jobs which
.have made them self sustaining citizens. Being one of the
partners in Women in Community Service, we are daily
processing girls for the Women's Job Corps.
The Urban Coalition statement of princi~les,
goals and commitments and the Council of Jewish Womens
purposes are similar. We would welcome the opportunity
to be of help to you in implementing these programs in the
Atlanta community. Please let us hear from you about your
plans for Atlanta and how our organization might help you
__ ' } u _ , ~
Shubin, President
Atlanta Section
National Council of Jewish Women
�Septe mber 11, 1967
Mr . Arthur B . Rutledge
Home Mission Board
Southern Baptist Convention
161 Spring Street, N . W.
Atlanta, Georgia 30303
Dear Mr . Rutledge:
I am most grateful for your kind letter of
September 8th and your analysis of the Urban
Coalition Emergency Convocation.
I am most grateful for your support and offer
of assi tance.
Sincerely yours,
Ivan Allen, Jr.
161 SPR IN G
ST .. N .W .. ATLANTA . GEORGIA 30303
September 8, 1967
The Honorable Ivan Allen, Jr., Mayor
The City of Atlanta
Atlanta, Georgia
Dear Mayor Allen:
I was pleased to be invited to the Emergency Convocation: The Urban Coalition which met in Washington on
August 24. This was a stimulating meeting, and I congratulate you and the other organizers on your plans
and the accomplishments of the day.
The agency which I serve is involved in metropolitan
life in many ways. Through our Department of Metropolitan Missions, our Department of Christian Social
Ministries, and our departments which work with minority peoples, both Negroes and others, we are constantly
facing the needs of persons in the cities. This conference was of meaning to us, and I am sharing its
findings with our related staff members.
If I or any of my colleagues can ever be of help to
you and the City of Atlanta please feel free to call
upon us.
As a citizen of this dynamic city let me express my
appreciation to you for the courageous and wise leadership which you are providing. We are proud of Atlanta
and we feel that your responsible leadership is a credit
to this growing capital of the Southeast.
Sincerely yours,
Arthur B. Rutledge
The Urban
The Urban
Washington , D. C.
August 24, 1967
The Shoreham Hotel
�Steering Committee
Andrew Heiskell
A. Philip Randolph
A. Philip Randolph
President, Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters
New York
I. W. Abel
President, United Steelw orkers
Walter Reuther
President, United Au to Workers
President, Citizen s Crusade Against Poverty
De troit
The Honorable Ivan Allen, Jr.
Mayor of Atlanta
Arnold Aronson
Executive Secretary, Leadership Conference on Civil Rights
Washington, D.C.
Roy Ash
President, Litton Industries
Beverly Hills
The Honorable Joseph M. Barr
Mayor of Pittsburgh
President, U. S. Conference of Mayors
David Rockefeller
President, Chase Manhattan Bank
New York
James Rouse
President, The Rous e Company
Pr esident, Urban America Inc.
Rabbi Jacob P. Rudin
President, Syn agogue Council of America
New York
The Honorable Jerome P. Cavanagh
Mayor of Detroit
Theodore Schlesinger
President, Allied S to res Corp ora tion
New York
Frederick J. Close
Chairman of the Board, Aluminum Company of America
Asa T. Spaulding
President, North Carolina Mutua l Insurance Company
The Honorable John F. Collins
Mayor of Bos ton
David Sullivan
President, Building Service Employees International Union
Washington, D.C.
The Honorable Richard J. Daley
Mayor of Chicago
The Most Rev. John F. Dearden
Archbishop of Detroi t
Gilbert W. Fitzhugh
President, Metropolitan Life Insurance Company
New York
Dr. Arthur Flemming
President, University of Oregon
President, National Council of Churches
New York
Henry Ford II
Chairman, Ford Motor Company
The Honorable Milton Graham
Mayor of Phoenix
Andrew Heiskell
Chairman of the Board, Time, Inc.
Chairman, Urban America Inc.
New York
Joseph D. Keenan
Secretary, International Brotherhood of Electrical Worker s
Washington, D.C.
The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
President, Southern Christian Leadership Con ference
The Honorable John V. Lindsay
Mayo r of New York
George Meany
President, AFL-CIO
Washington, D.C.
J. Irwin Miller
Chairman, Cummins Engine Company
Columbus (Indiana)
The Honorable Arthur Naftalin
Mayor of Minneapolis
Gerald L. Phillippe
Chairman of the Board, General Electric Company
New York
The Honorable James H. J. Tate
Ma'yor of Philadelphia
President, Na tional League of Cities
John Wheeler
President, South ern Regional Council
Pres id_en t, Mechan ics and Farmers Bank
Durh am
Roy Wilkins
Execu tive Director, National Associa tion for the Advancem ent of
Colored People
New York
Whitney Young, Jr.
Executive Director, Na tional Urban Leagu e
New York
On August 24, 1967, 1 ,200 leaders of
American life met in Washington at an
Emergency Convocation called by t_he Urban
Coalition. The Coalition, representmg
business and the professions, organized
labor, religion, civil rights groups, and local
government, w as established July 31 in
response to the urgent need fo r action
in behalf of the nation's cities.
This report includes the Statement of
Principles, Goals, and Commitment_s ratified
by the participants of the convocat10n.
Its text follows the opening remarks
of Andrew Heiskell, co-chairman of the
convocation. The Statement was read by
Co-Chairman A. Philip Randolph.
Following the Statement are the keynote
address by Mayor John V. Lindsay and
responses by Bishop John E. Hines,
Roy Wilkins, Henry Ford II, George Meany,
Whitney Young Jr., Joseph D. Keen-an,
David Rockefeller, and Walter Reuther.
Also included is the text of a telegram
by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King.
�Statement of Principles, Goals, and Commitments
Emergency Convocation: The Urban Coalition
Andrew Heiskell
In this room, at this convocation of the Urban Coalition, the leadership of religion , business, unions, local
government and the civil rights organizations is meeting to make a major commitment. We are here to commit ourselves publicly to an all-out effort on the part
of each one of us individually and, more importantly,
of all of us collectively, to turn law and principle into
reality, to bring equality of opportunity to every one
of our citizens.
We are here because we know that anything less
will mean disaster for our cities.
But we must also be honest with ourselves, as
well as our fellow citizens, by committing ourselves,
not for the season, or the year, but for years to come.
For even with the greatest concerted effort it will take
years to reach our goal.
We are here, representing many aspects of our
society, because w e know that the problem is too vast
and complex to be resolved by any one sector. Our
joint presence is testimony to that realization.
While we are here to seek economic solutions we
know also that many of the answers lie in the hearts
and souls of our citizens.
We are here to determine how we can assist our
various governments, many of whose inadequacies are
in part the result of our indifference.
We ask ourselves how free enterprise can better
participate in the social process. Not only because it
should but because, surely, it stands to be the fi'rst
victim of the failure of that process .
We ask ourselves not only wh ether the unions are
playing the prop er role in maximizing employment opportu_nities but also w hether they could play a new
and mvaluable role in the chain of communicationsnecessary to this survival of the city.
We ask ourselves whether our legislators know and
care about the plight of our cities. For though this convocation is addressing itself to the future of our underprivileged it is in a deeper sense dealing with the future
of urban America. We believe that the crisis of our
cities requires a commitment of national resources
equal to the dimensions of the problems we face . This
commitment is in truth an inv estment in the future of
our society. The failure to mo ve on urban problems is
not only socially disastrous but economically unsound.
Each year of delay in funding programs will inexorably
require enormously greater expenditures in the future.
Mainly we ask for a higher level of imagination, for
the ability to think in terms of the future rather than
the past.
Of course money is nee ded-much money over the
But we also seek other goals:
Governments that are responsive to their peoples
rather than mired in their vast bureaucracies.
Businessmen who recognize that in the long term
their profit statements can only be healthy by reflecting
a healthy society.
And, most importantly, civic leaders who feel and
care. Our commitment must clearly demonstrate our
belief in social progress and true equality of opportunity for every citizen. Just as there is a growing gap
between the most underdeveloped nations and our
western world, so there is a growing gap between an
underprivileged_minority of our citizens and the vast
bulk of our affluent society.
The goal of this Urban Coalition is to make clear to
the nation the imperative need of the task ahead and
the priorities the country must set for itself in order
to achieve its goals.
Introduced by A. Philip Randolph
We are experiencing our third summer of widespread
civil disorder. In 1965, it was Harlem, and the disaster
of Watts. In 1966, it was the Hough area of Cleveland,
Omaha, Atlanta, Dayton, San Francisco and 24 other
cities. This summer, Newark and Detroit were only the
most tragic of 80 explosions of violence in the streets.
Confronted by these catastrophic events, we, as
representatives of business, labor, religion, civil rights,
and local government have joined in this convocation
to create a sense of national urgency on the need for
positive action for all the people of our cities.
We are united in the following convictions:
We believe the tangible effects of the urban riots
in terms of death, injury, and property damage, horrifying though they are, are less to be feared than the
intangible damage to men's minds.
We believe it is the government's duty to maintain
law and order.
We believe that our thoughts and actions should
be directed to the deep-rooted and historic problems
of the cities.
We believe that we, as a nation, must clearly and
positively demonstrate our belief t~at justic~, social
progress, and equality of opportunity are rights of
every citizen .
We believe the American people and the Congress
must reorder national priorities, with a commitment
of resources equal to the magnitude of the problems
we face . Th e crisis requires a new dimension o~ effort
in both the public and private sectors, . workmg together to provide jobs, housing, educat10n, and the
other needs of our cities.
We believe the Congress must move without delay
on urban programs. The country can wait no longer
for measures that hav e too lon g been denied_ t~e peopl_e
of the cities and the nation as a whole-addit_i~nal civ~l
rights legislation, adequately fun~ed mo_d~l cities, antipov erty, housing, education, and 1ob-trammg programs,
and a host of others.
We believe the private sector of America; ~uS t
directly and vigorously involve itself in t~e cn~is_ of
the cities by a commitment to investment, 1ob-tram~ng,
and hiring and all that is necessary to the full enJo_y' free enterprise system-an d a1so t 0 its
ment of the
· ·
We b elieve the sickn ess of the cities, mcludmg
civic disorder within them, is the responsibility ?f. t_he
whole of America. Therefore, it is the responsibihty
of every American to join in the crea~ion of a ne~
P olitical social economic and moral climate that wi
' of the vic10us
· ·
make possible
eye l e 0 f the
ghetto. Efforts must be made to insure the bro ad~ st
possible opportunity for all Jcitizens ~1:d groups, i~cluding those in the ghetto , to part1c1p_ate fully m
shaping and directing the society of w hich they are
a part.
· This convoc ation calls upon the nah~n to en
once and for all the shame of poverty amid general
affluence. Govern ment and busin ess must accept : esponsibility to provide all Americans with opportunity
to earn an adequate income. Private industry m1:1st
greatly accelerate its efforts to recrm·t , train , and hire
the h ard-co re un employed . When the private sec tor is
unable to provide employment to those w ho ~re both
able and willing to work , then in a free society the

government must of necessity assume the responsibility
and act as the employer of last resort or must assure
adequate income levels for those . who are unable to
Emergency Work Program
This convocation calls upon the federal government to develop an emergenc;y work program to provide
jobs and new trainina opportunities for the unemployed
and underemployed ~onsistent with the following principles:
-The federal government must enlist the cooperation of government at all levels and of private
industry to assure that meaningful, productive work
is available to everyone willing and able to work.
-To create socially useful jobs, the emergency
work program should concentrate on the huge backlog
of employment needs in parks, streets, slu_ms, countrrside, schools, colleges, libraries, and hospitals .. T_o_ this
end an emergency work program sho_uld . be mi hated
and should have as its first goal puttmg at least one
million of the presently unemployed into productive
work at the earliest possible moment.
-The program must provide meaningful jobs-not
dead-end, make work projects-so that th~. ~mployment experience gained adds to the capabilities and
broadens the opportunities of the employees to become
productive members of the permanent work force of
our nation.
-Basic education, training, and counseling must
be an integral part of the program to assure extended
opportunities for upward job mobility_ a_nd to impr?ve
employee productivity. Funds for tra~nmg, educ~tion,
and couns eling should be made available to private
industry as well as to public and private nonprofit
-Funds for employment should be made available
to local and state governments , nonprofit institutions ,
and federal agencies able to demonstrate their ability
to use labor productively without reducing existing
levels of employment or undercutting existing labor
stand ards or wages which prevail for comparable w ork
or services in the area but are not less than the federal
miniIJlum wage.
-Such a program should seek to qualify new employees to become part of the regular work force ,md
that normal performance standards are m et.
-The operation of the program should be keyed
to specific, localized un employment problems and focused initi ally on thos e areas w h ere the need is most
Private Employment, Assistance and Investment
All repres entatives of the private sector in this
Urban Coalition decisively commit themselves to assist
the deprived among us to achieve full participation
in the economy as self-supporting citizens. We pledge
full-sc ale private ende avor through creative job-trai1_1ing and employment, managerial assistance , and basic
investment in all phase s of urban development.
�The Honorable John V. Lindsay
The alternatives to a massive and concerted drive
by the private sector are clear. They include the burden
of wasted human and physical potential, the deterioration of the healthy envir.o nment basic · to the successful operation of any business, ancl the dangers of
permanent alienation from our society of millions of
We propose to initiate an all-out attack on the
unemployment problem through the following steps :
-In cooperation with government, to move systematically and directly into the ghettos and barrios
to seek out the unemploye d and underemployed and
en.list them in basic and positive private training and
employment programs. We will re-evaluate our current
testing procedures and employment standards so as to
mo dify or eliminate those practices and requirements
that unnecessarily bar many persons from gainful employment by business or access to union membership.
- To create a closer relationship between private
employers and public training and emergency employment programs to widen career opportunities for our
disadvantage d citizens. To this end, we will proceed
immediately to promote "Earn and Learn Centers" in
depressed urban areas that might well be the joint
venture of business, labor and local government.
- To develop new training and related programs
to facilitate the early entry of under-qualified persons
into i ndustrial and commercial employment.
- To develop large-scale programs to motivate the
young t o continue their education. W orking closely
with educators, we will redouble our efforts to provide
part-time employment, training, and other incentives
fo r young men and women. We also ple.dge our active
support to making quality education readily accessible
to deprived as well as advantaged young people.
-To expand on-the-job training programs to enhance the career advancement prospects of all employees, with particular emphasis on those who now
must w ork at the low est level of job classifications
because of educational and skill deficiencies.
We pledge to mobilize th e managerial resources
and experience of the private sector in every way
possible. We will expand part-time and full-time assistan ce to small business development. We will strive
t o help re sidents of thes e areas both to raise their
level of managerial know-how and to obtain private
and public investment fu nds for development. We will
work more closely with public agencies to assist in
the management of public proj ects. W e will encourage
more leaders in the private secto r to get directly and
personally involved in urban problems so that they
may gain a deep er understanding of these problems
and be of greater ass istance.
We pledge our best efforts to develop means by
which major private investment may be attracted to
the renovation of deteriorating neighborhoods in our
cities. We will explore and encourage governmental
incentives to expedite private investment. W e will develop new methods of combining investment and managerial assistance so that the residents may achieve a
leadership position in the development of their areas .
Housing, Reconstruction, and Education
This convocation calls upon the nation to take
bold and immediate action to fulfill the national need
to provide "a de cent home and a suitable living environment for every American family" with guarantees of
equal access to all housing, new and existing. The
Urban Coalition shall, as its next order of business,
address itself to the development of a broad program
of urban reconstruction and advocacy of appropriate
public and private action to move toward these objectives, including the goal of rehabilitation and construction of at least a million housing units for lowerincome families annually.
This convocation calls upon the nation to create
educational programs that will equip all young Americans for full and productive participation in our society
to the full potential of their abilities. This will require
co·ncentrated compensatory programs to equalize opportunities for achievement. Early childhood education
must · be made universal. Work and study programs
must be greatly expanded to enlist those young people
who now drop out of school. Financial barriers that
now deny to youngsters from low-income families the
opportunity for higher education must be eliminated.
Current programs must be increased sufficiently to
wipe out adult illiteracy within five years.
This convocation calls upon local government,
business, labor, religions, and civil rights groups to
create counterpart local coalitions where they do not
exist to support and supplement this declaration of
This convocation calls upon all Americans to apply
the same determin ation to these programs that they
have to past emergencies. We are confident that, given
this commitment, our society has the ingenuity to allocate its resources -and devis e the techniques necessary
to rebuild cities and still meet our other national obligations without imp airing our financial integrity. Out
of past emergencies, we have drawn strength and
progress. Out of the present urban crisis we can build
cities that are places, not of disorder and despair, but
of hope and opportunity. The task we set for ourselves
will not be easy, but the nee ds are massive and urgent,
and the hour is late. We pledge ourselves to this goal
for as long as it takes to accomplish it. We ask the
h elp of the Cnn gress and the Nation.
problems, from which n·o city, no state and no citizen
We meet today not to express concern, though we care
can escape.
de eply.
This coalition consists of outstandmg c1trz.ens from
We meefnot to debate, though we seek solut10ns.
all walks of life. We can take pride in our efforts to
We meet today to formulate action.
. improve the r;;ities. But few of us, I fear, have worked
The seeds for today's mee ting were planted some
long enough and hard enough.
. ..
nine months ago when the late Stephen Currier,. as
Few of us have accepted personal r~sponsibih~y
president of Urban America, sought new ways to imfor urban progress and have pursued it vigorously m
prove the life of our cities. Steve Currier's deep per. . .
business, social and political endeavors.
sonal conc ern resulted in a me eting with 15 mayors
We must translate the present urban crisis mto
from across the nation to discuss the development of
immediate and personal terms.
. .
a strategy to increase the nation_al commitment to
We must perceive its consequences w1thm a nasolving city problems. That meetmg was held last
tional perspective.
· Simply stated, the syste~ w?~ch has worke ~o
Its major recommendation was for the format10?
well for most of our citizens 1s failmg the poor. We. m
of an Urban Coalition composed of leaders from b~~ithis room have an enormous stake in free en~er~rise
nes s, labor, religion, and civil rights who would JOm
and representative government~t~e very prmc_1ples
with the mayors to rais e a national voice on behalf
threatened by this crisis. For millions _of Americans
of the cities.
have no real stake in the present social order and
Today's meeting is the culmination of that process.
economic system.
That coalition must now be forged.
The people in the ghetto hav~ found barriers to
Our task is not to recount the tragedy of urban
decent housing, to union membership , and to corporate
violence or to deplore its causes. Our message to the
ers of a broken
1oymen t . T hey often are memb
. f .
nation is not a new one. We shall let others lead the
family and almost always the pro u~t o an m e_rior
nation in rhetoric. Our mission is straightforward:
or them the promise of American
sc h oo 1 sys t em. F
We are the beginnings of a national coalition of
· as close as a television set an as remo e
those with a stake in the city and its people. We must
n ac i
100 years of poverty an preiu ices ca_
have the will to act.
as Every city in this nation) s crowded wit~ th~ deIf words have failed to create a nation al aware. ·
and the disaffected. They are not fightmg a
· a
ness about the agony of an urb an slum, they have too
a program or a symbol. T h ey are ch a11 engmg
often succeeded in arousing false hopes and unfulfilled
~:~~m and a s~ciety which has failed to respond to
expectations. Many new programs have been oversold.
their needs.
Some h ave be en offered as th e means of ending povIn the past, this societJ'. has proved adapta e to
erty wiping out slums, or curmg i 1 eracy.
the most severe pressures, mternal and external, ~etineiy are dazzled by the tra~pings of new programs
. an d war · Today we again are asked to fash10n
A ·
and then disappointed by their perfor~ance.
a respons e to a comparable national emergency. ga~n,
When these claims are followed by mcre ased urban
rst to the private sector to demonstrate its
we 1oo k fi

violence much of America concludes tha t the programs
bTty and willingness to le ad m a time o na 10na
"just do~'t work" and " just don't matter. " But the poor,
~r/sis; to serve the na tion by meeting the employment
whose daily lives are left unchanged, are fruS t rated
and capital needs of the ghetto.
Only the concerted action of the advantaged Ame~anew by more empty promis es .
Perh aps this coalition must demand first a new
icans, beginning with those in this room, can make this
atmosphere of candor. We must hold each progra1:1 ~p
against the yardstick of the awesome need for1 JO s,
It will require sacrifices in dollars and m comfort.
It will require each of us to contribute to the U~~an
t ·11
for homes and for c1assrooms .
. e cures
. mont h s w h en we know treatmen w1
Coalition in our individual and institutional capacities.
This coalition offers no panaceas . Our Statement
take years or even some decades .
In short, we must close the gap b etween pronnse
of Principles proposes no simple solutions . But it commits each of us to action.
and performance.
· our naFor the problems h ave their roots eep m .
This coalition must mobilize itself to tap unus ed
. s t'll
1 ru nning agamst
tional his tory and th e tr'd e 1s
resources throughout the community :
. the cities
1 has witnesse
-Mayors must establish direct communication
For flfty
years t h'1s na t·on
k' ll d
with ghetto residents-to bring them into the
a mass m1grat10n of poor, un e uc a t e d and hunsN 1 th
Negroes from the rural South to t h e c1·t·ies of t e hor .
mainstream of American life. W e should take as
In the past 15 years alone, five million Negro es ave
our special mandate th e seeking out of those
followed this well-worn trail.
. h
sources of tension-those youths under 25 who
Cub apossess the power to spark either creative change
In a similar p eri od, over four mi·11·_wn Spams
speaking migrants from Puerto Rico, Mexico any d k f
or fiery holocaust.
. nat10n-m
. New
. ' o
h ave_ become a part of · t h 1s
cours e, but als o in Florida, Texas and Cahfor~ 1~- h a)f
And every year the gh ettoes grow by anot e
million people.
· es
The problems ca used by this growth are not ~t~rt
for partisan political advantage, nor the responsi . 1 1 Y
. .stratron
. . Th ese are truly nat10na 1
of any single admm1
�-Labor must break down antiquated and artificial
barriers to apprenticeship and rp.embership. The
skills w hich have been long developed and closely guarded must be passed to those who lack
the means to earn a livelihood.
-Business must undertake an aggressive campaign
to recruit and train tli:e unemployed and underemployed. We need affirmative programs, with
new employment standards, more flexible testing procedures and new job classifications.
-Religious leaders must support the efforts of the
central city poor, and not be content with a
conscientious-yet often theoretical-concern
for their w oes . Our churches must bring together
the despairing slum-dweller with the affluent
suburbanite-bridging the critical geographic
and economic gap which remains unaffected by
any governmental program.
All of this implies a personal will to act on t~
part of each of us. We must seek the same will in the
nation at large. Whatever one might think of the competing demands on the nation 's resources and attention,
it is clear by any standard that urban n ee ds are being
short-changed. The riots receive more than their fair
share of press coverage, but programs aimed at their
causes are slighted. They are the first priority of congressional investigations, but not of congressional legislation.
We will not change the stark realities of ghetto
life by merely increasing the appropriations of pres·ent
urban programs. No doubt this is nec essary. But we
must have new and bolder steps.
The people of the ghetto, based on my experience,
want visible signs of change-tangible proof that this
nation views the urban crisis with a sense of urgency
and is doing something about it.
This coalition proposes an Emergency Work
Program with the creation of one million jobs for the
presently unemployed.
This alone will not solve our urb an crisis.
It alone will not end the rioting.
But it will be a symbol of good faith by the Congress and the Administration-and, therefore, by the
nation-that we intend to act. Such a program must be
the first step in a series of innovative, massive, urban
This coalition has committed itself, as its next
order of business, to the development of a broad program of urban reconstruction. This will mean a vas tly
stepped-up program of housing and public facilities
Much of this must be done by the private sector,
with appropriate governmental incentives .
We have issued a call for private investment in
the ghetto. Much can be accomplished on a voluntary
basis. But we must also develop a broad new program
which will make it economically attractive for businesses to locate in the ghetto, just as we have made it
lucrative for them to enter certain foreign markets.
Only governmental incentives can stimulate the necessary level of private ghetto investment.
We need only lpok at the streets of urban America
to get a sense of the need for programmatic innovation.
We are speaking of a na tional emergency as serious
as any we have faced in world affairs.
It has reached the point where we must respond
accordingly. Let us rise above the arena of partisanship
and . sectionalism. Let us all-Republicans and Democrats, from North and South alike-agree on the need
for immediate action. And let us together take the
necessary steps.
Some say that we are powerful enough to meet our
pressing urban needs without reducing our other commitments-national, international and interterrestrial.
If that is true, let's do it.
Let's meet the challenge to our urban civilization
honestly and forthrightly, with programs strong enough
to match the magnitude of our problems.
Our international commitments should not be allowed to weaken our resolve at home. If our defense
commitment, our commitment to space, or any other
commitment made before our urban areas were beset
by agony are blocking a vigorous effort to end those
agonies, those commitments should be reassessed.
Our priorities, as I and other Mayors have argued,
should be reordered .
It is possible that this country will take a different
course-that a reaction will set in across this nation
not only against the lawless hundreds, but against the
law-abiding thousands as well. Progressive measures
might be cut back and denied to avoid the risk of rewards for the rioters. This country might take that
vengeful course.
But when vengeance is done, the slums will still
be with us . They will be no less fetid, depressing and
explosive than they were before. The only change will
be that with each passing month, all of it will be worse
-more festering, more inflamed, and infinitely more
J:vfY belief-~nd I think i~ is shared by the mayors
of this country-is that a nation al policy of retribution
will not curb rioting.
. But it could. c:ipple · those o_f. us who are charged
with the respons1b1hty for the cities where rioting has
broken out-or can erupt at any time.
In the years ahead, this meetin g may b e evaluated
on our response to the gravest domestic challenge
since the Great Depression of the Thirties.
Will it be said that we lacked the skills to solv e
our problems?
I think not.
Will it be said that we lack ed the resources?
Of course not. It can only be said that we lacked
the will.
But do we?
To respond effectively, I must-to employ a verb
I have urged upon others-review my own rhetoric:
For wh at I have said so far lacks immediacy.
It has not been specific.
It has not answered the questions that all of you
would like to ask. One might be :
"What do you want us to do?"
Or: "What can we do to help?"
Or, more pragmatically, "What is this coalition all
I think that this gathering, this coalition, one possessing the capacity to influence, persuade and govern
millions, should begin by thinking in terms of one.
One man. One woman. One child. One job. One
One human element of the environment we call a
ghetto or slum.
I hope that you take everything that I have said,
everything that you have read, everything you have
seen, and everything you will hear at this conference
and apply it to one human being.
I'd like you to find that individual and make it
your task to bring him out of the slums-to make him
part of the other America, the one all of us live in.
Specifically, I suggest that as the nation's leaders
in business, in labor, religion and education, you can
enable every division, every chapter, every parish and
every affiliate, to undertake that task.
It's not going to be easy. You'll have to find him,
And what you find may not be to your liking. He
may be illiterate. He may be indifferent or antagonistic. But you can try, and my city-and I believe this
can be said of any city-will do everything in its power
to help you.
For what we are talking about is more than providing jobs; we are talking about the introduction to
our affluent society of those who have been excluded
from it because we simply haven 't taken the trouble
to do the hard, unrewarding work that is needed to
overcome that exclusion.
I'm not talking about enlisting a cab driver who
lives in a house with a clipped lawn and a new car in
a training program for tractor drivers . I'm talking about
the bedrock poor, whether they live in Harlem or in
Appalachia, and what I'm recommending is an intensive, 24-hour program, carried on for five days a week
and, if necessary, a full seven.
For the harsh fact is that if we truly want to conquer poverty in this country, we're going to have to
teach people to read and write .. .
To learn what bus will get them to work .
To assure them that their children will be cared
for during working hours ...
And to encourage and inspire them so that they
can overcome the very real and poignant burdens that
the poor undertake when they strive to break out of
In any event, they need our help, and we cannot
wait for them to ask.
Each corporation, each labor union, must begin
now-to employ the unemployable, to train them, to
work with them night and day, to move them forward.
This is our responsibility.
If ach of you would initiate the program I have
suggested-urging and persuading ea ~h one of your
jurisdictions to do what I have out~med-we could
accomplish what no one has accomphsh~d; we co_uld
conquer the social and economic apartheid that exists
in our nation.
Halting violence in the streets cures only a symptom. Our larger interest should be in restoring health
and pride to those who abhor the riots, but who need
our help if they are to take their place in an affluent
America. To do that, they need encouragement, they
need jobs, they n eed recognition, they need all the
elements of pride.
Pride may open the doors that have been closed
to us by the ghettoes.
It works both ways, you know; when we despair
about our ghettoes because we have despised and discriminated against them, we should consider that in
the slums it is we who are excluded and hated-and
for reasons perhaps better than ours.
But if the power gathered together in the nation's
capital today can and will devote its talents, intellect
and conscience to a dispersal of the concept of oneness,
then this coalition will have justifie d its title as well as
the hopes that its sponsors have placed in it.
For this is an historic moment. Never before in
our nation's past has such a broad and powerful group
of private citizens joined cause on an issue of public
concern. We must make certain that the resources represented here today are mobilized for the betterment
of our cities.
It would be all too easy for this coalition to become just another well-intentioned, crisis-inspired, oneday attempt to spark urban change. We should be
realistic about what can be accomplished here. We
cannot solve anything today. But we can make a beginning.
We must deliberately set in motion the undramatic
but essential machinery which can carry our commitment forward beyond this meeting. We shall need
formal organization, dedicated lea dership , and fin ancial
We immediately should formulate specific gmdelines which can be follow ed by every business in the
land to implement the pledges of the private sector as
proposed in the Statement of Principles. We must provide technical assistance and an information clearinghouse that can. make this possible.
We must organize vehicles for change in local
communities which will adopt and act upon the goals
of this coalition. One promising approach is the formation of local coalitions in cities and regions throughout
the country, each with a membership that parallels
· our own. These coalitions can marshal a community's
resources to do battle with urban blight.
We must consider ways and means of establishing
regular communication with the Administration , the
Congress, governors and state legislatures. We should
be equally ready to support government officials when
they lead on urban problems and to prod them when
they fail to act. All of this must be a major topic of
our deliberations this afternoon.
This coalition must strive for a new unity. We
must transcend our geographic, economic, and social
differences and unite around our common cause. For
if today we can set in motion a new force for urban
change , then this convocati on w ill mark the renewal
of hope for the American city.
More than ever before the choice is ours.
More than ever before the choice must b e made
here and now .
�The Right Reverend John E. Hines
It is with genuine reluctance that I attempt to speak
as a representative of the "religious community" to
the critical and, I believe, decisive issues made painfully unforgettable in the shock and horror and loss of
a rioting people in the cities of this land. I am reluctant because no one person can speak for the so-called
religious sector or community-a description which,-incidentally, I cannot defend.
I am reluctant because the image of the churches, at
least in the years past, too often has been one of a
moral and spiritual bastion from which, from time to
time, have been issued divine directives and ethical
judgments to which men and women have been called
to conform or run the risk of b eing irretrievably lost.
While this is a caricature of the churches ana will be
recognized as such by people of a bro ad understanding, like all caricatures there is enough truth showing
to prove a point. And that point is not reassuring.
I am reluctant because mere human beings seem
entitled to convincing answers to the dilemmas and
frustrations and agonies of people imprisoned by desperate circumstances from a channel of God's mighty
intervention in His world of men, in justice, lov e and
reconcilation-which channel historically the churches
have claimed to be-and I am reluctant becaus e we of
the churches have demonstrated that we do not have
the answers, at least not in the form of discernible
specifics, to alleviate the basic hop eles sn ess, the despair of becoming, the powerless ness, and the loss of
human dignity which are clearly the root of the Negro 's rebellious protestations and subsequent violence.
No, I am afraid that we have unwittingly, perhaps,
demonstrated that we are part of the problem inasmuch
as the sickness of our society is our sickness, too . And
our brokenn ess, highlighted by our fears for our own
survival, for our institutional status, our insularity from
the suffering and hostility of so many members of the
human family, betrays the fact that, far from being
equipp ed to exercise the role of the physician to the
illness of mankind , we should be sensitive to the biblical in junction, "Physician, heal thyself!"
Le t us be honest and acknowledge that we are
here primarily bec aus e we have been shocked and bewildere d by the horror that is Watts and Newark and
Detroit and Milwaukee and New Haven and other urban cente rs of a nation w hos e forefa thers fought for
the right of sel f-determination , for the rights and dignity of every human being, for freedom under law, for
deliveran ce fro m discrimination and for a dream which
for nearly two hun dred ye ars now has be en a torch to
which the oppres sed and shackled, in their darkness,
could look up in hope. W e are· here becaus e violence
has rudely shattered our complacency about something
very basic, something regrettably, we h ave taken for
Let us be clear that lawlessness and violence are
frightfully destructive an d are not to be condoned as
such. But let us be equa lly aware that men can be come prisoners of the law unju stly, for the process of
law w hich is abused into an in strument of oppression
by insensitive men of power, thus rigidly prohibiting
the rightful process of change which co uld bring h ealBishop Hines represen ted the National Co un cil o f Churches.
ing to the body sores and spiritual cancers that affect
humankind, soon faces the rude a~akening, namely,
that desperate and despairing human beings will revolt
against the tyrannous character of such law, inasmuch
as they have no other recourse open to them by which
their wrongs can be redress ed. The beneficiaries of
order and domestic tranquility must und ers tand this,
indeed must learn to deal sympathetically and constructively with it without hypocrisy, without illusion,
and without pretense, and to respond to the violence
of frustrated hopelessness . For the application of increased restrictive power only is to compound the root
causes of alienation, abandon the responsible role of
reconciliation and destroy the God-given bonds of relatedness by which men belong to each other ins eparably, irrevocably.
Secretary Gen eral U Thant has said, "The truth ,
the central stupendous truth about developed countries
today is that they can have-in anything but the shortest run-the kind and scale of resources they decide
to have . . . . It is no longer resources that limit decisions. It is the decision that makes the resources . This
is the fund amental revolution ary change-perhaps the
most revolutionary mankind has ever known." I believe those words are accurate. I believe their truth
places a moral question of unprece dented dimensions
before the conscience of America. It is no longer a
question of wheth er w e shall do a fe w good things for
the victims of a kind of givenn ess composed of powerlessness and poverty and hunger and rats and illiteracy
and unemployment and se cond-class citizenship and
hop elessness so deep - it can find express ion only
through riots and destruction. The question now is:
Shall we mobilize our capacity for w iping these shameful conditions off the face of this nation and off the
face of this planet or shall we unwis ely and reg rettably
choose other priorities? For th e first time in history
we are called to leade rship and responsiblity in the possession of the cap acity to eliminate th e b as ic conditions
In December, 1966, the General Assembly of the
National Council of Churches of Christ in the U.S.A.
adopted the follo wing r esolution:
.'-':'here~s, we recognize that millions of persons
are hvmg without access to an equitable share of our
nation's abundance in terms of adequate housing, education and job training employment, as well as health
and medical services; and
"Whereas billions of dollars of our nation's economic resources and a concentration of manpower reso urces are required to establish full equality of opportunity; and
. ·:'-'."hereas our present set of national economic
pr10~1hes of defense,_ space exploration and the product10n of super-some air transport must not be allowed to impede the achievement of soc ial justice for
people; therefore be it
"Resolved, that we, the General Assembly of the
National Council of the Churches of Christ in the
U.S.A. , _call upon the President and the Congress of
the Umted States to us e our nation's economic resou~ces so as to !5ive the highest priority to programs
designed to provide for full equality of opportunity."
We ne ed the kind of government programs which
reflect a massive change in national priorities and we
n ee d the kind of fund ing that will prev ent these programs from becoming emp ty promises only. The execu-
tive and the legislative branches of our gove rnment
have a clear responsibility. But unless the private sector
similarly changes its own priorities, the task will not
be accomplished. Recognition of gh etto community organhations as legitimate agents of the poor, costly
motivational and training pro grams for the unemployed
and the underemployed, location of m anufacturing
plants where jobs are needed, upward mobility for our
Negro brethren-all these are overdue. The religious
institutions are b eginning to awake a little bit to their
obligation to invest the large sums in their care according to the prime criterion of responsibility to the total
community and all of its citizens.
It would b e refreshing if this convocation, facing
its responsibility seriously as I know it will, would be
emphatic and unequivocal about the right of the poor to
power, and to an effective voice in the decisions that
affect their destiny. The more we permit the dilution
of the principle of "maximum feasible participation, "
even in a gathering such as this, or, more importantly,
in legislation designed to aid the pov erty-ridden sector
of this country, the less credible we appear to men and
women struggling in their misery-and the less likely
we are to build our part of a bridge b etween the
alienations. The basic dignity of man depends on and
demands of us a new style of operation in which we
confes s our lack of answers and acknowledge our lack
of right to prescribe what is good for _o ur brothers! F?r
the b es t of well-intentioned programs 1s doomed to failure if it does not from the outset involve those whom
it would b enefit!
Someone has suggested that the tremendous job that
stands before us depends almost entirely upon two factors: men and money. His point, in part, is that enormous numbers of people must be recruited to do a
tremendous variety of jobs simultaneously; there can
be no doubt about that. What is less distinguishable
is that any amount of money can make th e decisive
difference. What Detroit, for example, seems to be
telling us is that pov erty is more a state of mind than
a state of material want. This is what the great prophets of the biblical tradition also have said.
What makes poor people poor, most of t~ em a_lso
black, as Mr. Roy Wilkins has reminde~ us, i~ a kmd
of anguished culture that is almost_ impossib_le for
people outside to comp reh end . To which the editor of
Commonweal adds, "The anguished culture_ r efers to
the fact that vast numb ers of bla ck Americans and
particularly their dyn amic nucleus, the you~h, feel no
sense of identity with this nation. Their sights wer_e
encouraged to broaden when the Supreme Court decision of school integration 13 years ago came about but
the realization of identity has not accelerated apace.
Perhaps they are earning more money. Perhap s more
of them have jobs. Perhaps a training for skilled posts
but they do not really b elong in the white man's soci ety
and that is what hurts infinitely more than w hatever
solace is offered by their material improvement. "
What is being said is that no antipoverty program
will work unless and until poverty its elf is redefined
and ministered to in human rather than material terms
alone. Only God-filled men an d women, God-filled
institutions, can really help to affec t this basic problem.
The religious community is slowly stirring to its
enormous potential for taking part in God's creative
action in society and in history. We are beginning to
understand that it is only through our sharing and the
pain and suffering of the dispossessed and the despairing that our own renewal can possibly come to b e.
This meeting itself is a sign of hope, but let us take care
that it not turn out to be just another chapter in the
story of hopes created and then snuffed out. For_ we
are in a moment of passing grace that God has given
us and that may never recur, and in which we are
given the priceless opportunity to gather to act.
�Henry Ford JI
Roy Wilkiris
Only two days ago John McCone testified before a
Senate Committee that racial strife in America could
destroy our nation. I think this says in the fewest possible words how urgent it is that w e throw overboard
all of our routine approaches to this problem. What is
posed here is not merely the salvation of a segment
of our population, as important and as valued that
segment may be, but the life of the nation itself. It is
proper, it seems to me, that the emphasis here, in the
excellent keynote address and the mood of this Coalition, is on employment and on the correcting of the
notorious inequalities that exist there; inequalities
made more glaring and more intolerable by the affluence all about.
You cannot read of two-car families and three-car
families and four-car famili es, and yachts shuttling
back and forth to the corners of the earth to spend
a few days on the beaches, when you have no one
car, no half a car, no refrigerator, no food, and few
clothes ; and when receptionists tell you that the job
was filled today. So th e emphasis is properly on jobs.
But there is an emphasis also on the slums, and on
housing, on the conditions under which men live- and
upon education.
And this is my particular thesis. Only after we
have reeducated, revamped our educational system to
take care of the needs of this submerged section of
our population- a section that we have neglected and
pushed to one side and forced into a development of a
culture alien to our own standard of values- only until
we revamp th at education al system from the bottom
up-not from the top down-will we be able to talk
to these people and to share with them the hopes and
the ideals of the America we dreamed about. The
saving of the nation depends upon an appreciation of
its value by all the people in the nation. If you read
the history of our country and it has no meaning for
you or your family, and you rea d the ideals of our
country which are great, luminous and enduring, and
they mean something to other people but not to you,
and if you read about democracy and rising upon ability while you are suppressed and held down, then you
read the words and leaf through the books ; you are
n ot being educated, you are not becoming an American.
Of course, with this has to go the expansion of
the opportunity once one is educated. The two go h and
in hand. If you learn what democracy is and you get
an opportunity to participate, the process is complete.
These are old goals to those of us who have worked
in this field for so many years, not prior to this election or that election, not on behalf of this can didate
or that candidate, not in response to this or that crisis
but simply because w e believed in the people that we
were dedicated to represent. We believed in their cause
and year in year out w e pleaded that cause. Often it
fell on deaf ears and often the responses were in crisis
Forty years ago James W. Johnson, who was a
diplomat and editorial writer fo r the New York A ge,
a poet and later the Secretary of the National Association fo r th e Advancement of Colored People, said simply, "The crusade fo r dignity for Negro Americans is
a crusade to save black men's bodies and white men's
souls." And that expression of forty years ago could
be the expression over this hallway because that is still
the task. Let us pray that w e have n ot b egun too late.
First, I w ant to endorse the Statement of Prin ciples,
Goals and Commitments of the Urb an Coalition. Our
country today faces its greatest internal crisis since
the Civil War-a crisis which demands n o less than
a massive n ational response.
The violence sweeping American cities is both a
symptom of deeper ills an d a critical problem in itself.
Security of person and property un der law is the keystone of justice for all men. The law must th erefore b e
enforced and violence must be suppressed firmly an d
quickly wh enever it erupts.
Though essential, enforcement of the law is not a
sufficien t basis for a just society. Equal justice is possible only when the law is obeyed freely and voluntarily. When violence must be countered by violence,
justice is the fi rst victim. In the heat of street warfare
and its aftermath, the innocent often suffer and the
guilty ofte n go free.
When violence gains a foothold, it breeds inj ustice an d h atred an d furthe r violence. The gravest danger we fa ce is that this self-generating process may go
unchecked until it tears our nation apart. To break th e
circle, w e must attack the conditions of urban life
which nourish hatred and lawlessness. This m ean s,
first of all, th at we must find the way for all Americans to share fully in all th e freedoms and opportunities our h eritage promises.
The burden of fulfilling that promise is falling
more and more on the already overburdened shoulders
of municipal government. But the problem is not a city
problem. It is a n ation al problem with n ationwide roots
and the gravest of nationwide consequences. It can b e
attacked su ccessfully only by a n ational effort e~bracing all segments of our national life, including busmes~.
The primary contribution of business, of course, 1s
to provide genuin ely equal opportunities for employment, training and promotion. Much h as been done
along th ese lines, but much remains to_be do1;1e-both
by business and by those unions that still restrict membership on the b asis of race.
In the p ast few years, many companies have b_e~n
seeking other ways to help resolve the urban cr~s1s.
Some have participated in urban rene~al and JO_btraining programs. Oth ers have made_ their mai:iagerial
talents and problem-solving skills ava1l_able to city go:7ernments. That business must help 1s no long~r m
question. How business can contribute most effectively
will h ave to b e w orked out experimentally. I am sure
We all h ave much to learn. In Detroit, we have esta~lished a committee, comparable to th e Urban . Coalition, to develop ideas for mobilizin~ commumty . r_e sources to rebuild our city, both physically and spmt.
u all~
We must recognize, h owever, that nothmg we can
do wUI provide quick answers to the root problems.
We must move quickly and vigorously, but be prepared for a long, slow and painfully difficult task-a
task that will be all the longer an d more painful if our
impatience leads us down impractical and unrealistic
Even m ore basic than the responsibility of business to provide equal job opportunities is its responsibility to stay in business so th at it can provide jobs.
No business can survive if it neglects the axioms of
sound management. Business cannot hire more people
th an it needs, or hire people who are not qualified t_o
do useful work, or hire people for more than their
work is worth. This means that th e key to equal economic opportunity is vastly expanded and im?roved
education and training for those who now receive the
least and poorest preparation for a productive life. .
In this connection, I think it is essential for business, government and unions to c?1;1sider how c~rrent
policies and practices can be mod1~ed to make 1t _less
costly for business to hire and tram poorly qualified
. . .
Other policies and practices which make 1t difficult for private industry to respond to the needs of the
poor should also be reviewed. For example, outmoded
building codes and union restrictions on new techniques and equipment raise buildin? costs a1:d often
make it impossible to build low-priced housmg at a
Some may feel it unseemly to mention cost and
profit when urgent human needs are involved. T_h e
profit motive is a powerful fo~ce . It must be mamtained, and it can be used effectively to help solve the
urban crisis.
This is not, however, a justification for business
as usual. These are unusual times and they demand
unusual efforts and unusual sacrifice from every individual and organization that has the power to help.
�George Meany
Whitney Young Jr.
We welcome this opportunity to affirm the full partnership of the AFL-CIO in the Urban Coalition and to
reaffirm our support for the objectives set forth in the
statement of principles, goals and commitments presented by Mr. Randolph.
. In the truest sense, we have been here for a long
time. We were not brought here by the riots; it might
even be said that we are here in spite of the riots. The
course of a free society should not and must not be
swayed by criminal acts-mob violence, arson, looting
and murder. Neither should it be swayed by revulsion
against these acts. We apply this same standard to
Every one of the needs set forth in the statement
was long ago identified and exposed by the AFL-CIO.
Every one of the measures now offered has been urged
by us in the past. The difference is simply this: What
we called for as necessary and proper, to assure continuing progress toward a better society, has been
transformed by inadequate action into a crash program.
This is not said in recrimination, but to emphasize
the wide gulf between recognition and fulfillment- between a statement of principles and their implementation.
The most eloquent words and the most sin~ere
avowals of good intentions are meaningless in themselves. It is heartening to see in this convocation so
many leaders with influence and power in every segment of American life. It is encouraging to see that
they have been awakened to the deficiencies and the
injustices that persist in today's affluent society, and are
pub-licly committing themselves to their correction.
This concern, this commitment, must now be translated into action. That will be harder.
Obviously the first arena will be the Congress,
where we have fought so many lonely battles. But
beyond the Congress are the state and local governments, many of which have far worse records. To cite
only one example: Housing is one of the most urgent
needs; not just open housing, but adequate housing
for low-income families . Congressional authorizations
have been shockingly inadequate. Yet even more shocking is the fact that much authorized housing has not
been built, because of the apathy of local governments
and the resistance within some communities.
This is one barrier that surely could not stand
against the combined forces represented in this room.
Of course, as the statement rightly recognizes, the
key need-more immediate than housing and all the
rest-is jobs at good wages for all. We have stressed
this basic truth time after time; we have related it to
every phase of social progress, from civil rights to
And to meet this one overriding need, America
must have as a matter of first priority-as this statement clearly recognizes-one million jobs in socially
produ_ctive work for the presently unemployed. And
Amenca mus~ have these jobs right now.
A. swee~mg, all-embracing attack on urban problems, mcludmg short-range remedies and long-range
cures, was overdue long before the first rioter threw
the first stone. But such an attack, as we in the AFLCIO are painfully aware, requires the mobilization of
many separate forces into many individual campaigns,
small. . Th~ great, broad goals capture the
1magmat10n and msp1re the spirit; the smaller engagem~nts, like a clash between Army patrols, are meaner,
without glamour-but completely indispensable.
In a word, we must all go forth from here not
merely with a program, but with a determinati~n to
fight for it-to fight harder for it, on every front, than
ever before. And I say this, not only to those n ewly
involved, but to the °labor movement as well.
I assure you, we ask for no special dispensation
as veterans. We must do more and do it better. If tha t
de_termin_a!ion is ingrained in all who are here today,
this coaht10n can build the foundation for America as
it ought to be.
That this coalition of American leadership h as come
together is profoundly significant. It can be our greatest
hour of hope or it can be our greatest hour of shame.
What we say here is extremely important but what we
do when we leave here is even more important. This
meeting we hope will move us from pledge to performance, from hope into reality.
The people gathered in this room have the power,
the resources, to turn this country around at this critical moment in time. The one intangible thing- only you
as individuals can answer it-is whether you have the
will, and whether you care.
There has been much discussion in the past few
Weeks and months that establish ed Negro leadership
has failed and has lost influence. Historians will point
out differently. They will point out that it is a miracle
that es tablished leadership has for so long a time enjoyed the support of Negro citizens-living as they are
in squalor, poverty and unemployment while still retaining their h ope and faith in the society. Responsible
leaders among the Negro community have not failed.
We have been failed by responsible white leaders who
have not responded to us.
The task that you take on will not be easy, the
numbers of the oppressors continue to mount strangely
enough among those who themselves are but one generation removed from welfare, who are the most callous,
the most indifferent, the most unsympathetic to the
Plight of those who h ave been left behind. What is
needed h ere is leadership. Our big enemy is still silence
and indifference and apathy.
As one of my colleagues in the Urban League, Bill
Berry, said, "Maybe we n eed a new cliche." Law and
order may not be what we are talking about at all and
may be a completely unrealistic concept. Hitler managed to bring about the greatest order known to men
With his Storm Troopers and his Gestapo. After having
accomplished that feat in bringing about order, he proceeded to use it to exterminate six million Jews. We are
not afte r order; we are after justice. It is law and
justice. Without justice we neither will h ave nor do
We deserve order. If we can but bring ourselves to be
as aroused about the incitino material and climate
found in our community as w~ are with the incitors,
then we need not worry about the incitors.
Rap Brown did not cause unemploy1:1ent m the
country. Rap Brown did not put Negroes m g~etto~s.
Rap Brown did not perpetuate upon Ne~roes mfe~10r
education. This was done by other people m the society
and it is to the other people that we must look rath er
than seek the excuses of the excesses of a handful of
people found among Negroes. If white America with
all of its power- Army, Navy, Air Force and all of the
important offices in the country- have n?t bee~ able
to suppress the crackpots among the white societythe Klan , and all of the other people-how do you
expect us with limited power and no resources to
eliminate any crackpots from our midst?
I insist that the Negro has as much right to have
his extremists as anybody else. If some of you are getting upset looking at Negroes who are acting ugly, I
submit to you I h ave been long upset looking at white
people acting ugly. It is criminal to loot, to snipe. It is
criminal to riot. But it is equally criminal not to hire a
man because of his color, n ot to let him live in your
Finally, I stand before you as the represenlative
of a people who have been in this country for over
400 years. A people whose sweat and toil helped build
this country, whose music gave it a soul, whose architects and lawyers and doctors have made great contributions, wh ose bones lie across the face of this earth
fighting in defense of this country and who today are
dying in Vietnam at a. rate fa r out of their proportion
to the population. It is not right that in our society
the greatest freed om that exists today is the freedom
to die in Vietnam! If one can die in Vietnam, one must
be able to live-and as people-in this country.
The Negro has said in a thousand ways that he
b elieves in America in spite of his difficulties, his obstacles. In all of the ways I h ave described, time has
now come for responsible, intelligent, sensitive, humane, decent human beings to say to the American
Negro "I believe in you" and demonstrate it tangibly.
We got ten thousand jobs yesterday in Detroit. Those
jobs were there before the riots . Are we going to have
to wait for riots in other cities to find jobs?
An ancient Greek scholar was once asked, "How do
we achieve justice in Athens?" to which he replied,
"We shall achieve justice in Athens when those who
are not injured are as indignant as those who are," and
so shall it be in America. Then, and only then , will
we achieve justice in America: when the people in this
room become as indignant as those who are actually
suffering the daily indignities and humiliations the
Negro people suffer. That you are here is an indication
that that first step has been made. I have faith in the
success of this venture.
�Joseph D. Keenan
I think that one of the most significant things about
the Urban Coalition and this convocation that we have
called is the different elements of our society that
are represented here. I am delighted at the make-up of
the coalition. It represents groups which have not always seen eye to eye on many issues. And I am pleased
to have business, labor and the other groups working
together to help our cities and their people.
This convocation is a call for action. Calls to action are not new. But the alliance of all the different
elements represented here is new, and very significant.
I think it shows that we have reached" the point of
common sense in dealing with our most pressing problems. We are united in our sense of urgency. We are
united in our call to Congress and to the nation to act
now on our urban problems and to provide equal justice, equal opportunity and equal progress for every
For some of the segments represented hePe, a public commitment of the kind we are making today is a
new experience. Labor welcomes their involvement.
But we couple this welcome with a warning that they
may expect to face the same kind of attacks from
some quarters that labor has faced for so many -years .
This kind of commitment is not a new experience for labor. We committed ourselves a long time
ago to the job of helping to find answers to the kind
of problems we're talking about today. Labor's attitudes and activities are a matter of record. We pointed
out needs; we proposed ways to meet them; we recognized the need for Federal Government action to solve
many of our nation 's problems. And we made ourselves
downright unpopular with a numb er of groups in our
But this has not deterred us . We are here today
to reaffirm our commitment, and with an even greater
sense of urgency. We hope that whatever opposition
they may face will not deter those who are involv ed
for the first time in this kind of co mmitment.
There is always opposition to calling on the government to help in solving our problems, even when
they become national in scope. But these urb an problems are too big and much too complex for lo cal governments and other local groups to handle on their
Furthermore, the unplanned explosion of our metropolitan areas-and many of the urban problems it
has generated-has cross ed the boundary lines of
cities, counties, and even states.
It is going to take a massive national effort to
meet these problems and rebuild our urban areaswhere some three-fourths of our population now lives
-and provide enough jobs and training, enough decent
housing, enough community facilities and enough public services to meet their needs.
The time to start this massive national effo rt has
long since passed. The ugly events of this and recent
David Rockefeller
If all of us here today are intensely aware of our cities
and their problems, we are sure to be even more so
in the future.
At present, some 140 million Americans out of a
total of 200 million are classed as urban dwellers. By
the year 2000-just 33 years from now-at least 280
million Americans out of about 340 million are expected to be living in urban areas. This means that our
already vast facilities must be more than doubled, and
it gives us very little time in which to do this.
These facts, considered in the context of the recent violence, only compound the problem. They gravely challenge those of us gathered together in this Urban
Coalition to determine whether the future of our cities
will hold continued misery for many or lasting promise
for all. This meeting gives great hope of creating the
new sense of urgency, cooperation, momentum and
dedication which is so badly needed. Yet we must not
forget how little we will have finally accomplished
unless we swiftly transform our principles into reality.
For business and private enterprise especially, the
realization of our hopes and goals will require evergreater concern and effort. The efficient production and
distribution of goods and services has always been at
the heart of erasing poverty in any area, and American
business can be proud of its part in the many accomplishments which have made this nation and its people
the richest in the world. In the seven years between
1959 and 1966, to give a recent illustration, our dynamic
economic growth helped reduce by nearly one-third
the number of our citizens officially classified as living
below the poverty level. Maintained prosperity and
growth will continue to be the key to the eradication
of the social evils that are spawned by poverty.
To sustain such growth and progress, however, it
is necessary that we clearly convey our concern a~d
determination to enable all Am ericans to share satisfactorily in the fabric and fruits of our society. People
who lack a stake in our society are easily incited to
the violence which, in turn, is a grea t deterrent to
prosperity and therefore self-defeating. To this end,
we must bring a new sense of urgency to the many
problems that plague the depressed areas of our citie_s.
Our central cities are crucial to the ec onomic
health of our nation, and we must press aggressive~y
to achieve the goals which have been proposed to this
summers have shown tragically and forcefully that we
cannot delay a moment longer.
Jobs are needed now. Decent housing is needed
now. And equal access to both is needed now.
Yes, it will cost money. But this is an investment
that is in our own self-interest. This is an investment
in people. When we invest in America's people, we
strengthen our nation. When we remove the barriers
and help every citizen reach his highest possible level
of achievement, we contribute to the well-being and
progress of all of America.
Most of us lack any real concept of poverty. We
are too far removed from it. We may see some of the
outward signs of inequality and neglect and poverty,
but most Americans don't have any real understanding
of what it is like to live under those conditions.
We come home from our jobs and see in the paper
that millions of our countrymen are living in poverty.
We feel a tinge of sympathy, of course, but we don't
fully realize what this means. Our youngsters won't
go to bed hungry, or without medicine if they need it,
or without decent clothes to wear to a decent school.
But too many children of the poverty stricken will go
to bed without these things, and-most tragicallywithout any hope that tomorrow will be better.
It is hard for us even to imagine the feelings of
despair and of desperation that their conditions breed.
If more of us understood this better, we would
have been doing more about it before now.
We can't just read about these things , and feel
sorry. We have to do something about them. We have
to become involved in changing the conditions of depair and desperation under which too many Americans exist.
If this convocation can inspire a massive involvement in ending our urban crisis, it will mark a major
step toward the kind of America we want.
I say it is the duty of all Americans to become involved. I say it is the duty of each and every one of
us in this nation to join not only in the moral commitment to equality and progress that we have made, but
also in the concrete programs of action that must now
Convocation for employment, educ ation, housing, managerial assistance and basic investment.
Basic to the accomplishment of these go als must
be the close personal involvement of businessmen and
other leaders from the private sector. In the past, too
many of us have felt that doing a good job in making
our companies successful was an adequate contribution. But today, we see that we cannot leave to others
direct involvement in the solution of our urban problems. The same successful managerial techniques which
have been applied to our businesses must be brought
to bear when dealing with our social problems . These
responsibilities cannot be left solely to the public sector. For if we fail to respond promptly we can be sure
these problems will only be magnified with the passing
of time.
It is perhaps a sad commentary on human nature
that we all too often have to wait for a crisis to give
us a clear shock of recognition, but we have before us
now a unique opportunity to make the best of a very
disturbing situation. The task of breaking the bonds· of
poverty is one that must fall very heavily upon the
shoulders of all of us here today. By accepting this
challenge and providing positive alternatives to acts
of desperation, we can help turn the displaced energy
of urban disturbances into a creative forc e so that our
cities may be able to regain their proper place as
symbols of dignity and progress for all.
�Walter Reuther
It has been said that the genius of a free society is its
capability of achieving unity and diversity. I am very
pleased to be here because, as you know, currently
Mr. Ford and I are sitting on opposite sides of the
table in Detroit. But on the great issues that face us
and the crisis that challenges us all, ,I am pri v·ileged
to sit on the same side of the table with Mr. Ford and
to work together to find the answers.
I believe that we could agree that this convocation
represents the broadest coalition of diversity that has
ever been assembled in this city. But the test of our
unity will not be measured by how generous and noble
are the words that we utter or how pious the platitudes
may be that we put together in a document-the real
test is what are we going to do to take the words and
to translate them into practical and tangible action as
they relate to the problems that we face.
The Communists and other critics of our free society have been preaching that our free society is essentially composed of comp eting, conflicting and irreconcilable economic pressure gr0ups and that we are incapable, as a free people, of rising above the loyalties
to our respective pressure groups except when we respond to the total challenge of war-when we are
driven by c6mmon fears and common hatreds. And the
~risis before us today is ess enti ally a testing of our-beliefs and our basic faith in democratic values. Are w e
equal to this respons e becaus e w e share common hop es
and common aspirations? Are w e equal to a total effort
in response to the challenging and rewarding purpos es
of peace?
. The cris es in our cities were not created by the
disadvantaged minority who live in the ghettoes.
The cri ses in our cities have been created by the
indiffere~ce an d the complacency of the great mass
of A:merica~s w ho have enjoye d the advantages and
the mcreasmg afflu ence of our society. We need to
~nderstand that the revolution of rising expectations
is not a phen omenon limited to Asia and Africa and
Latin America. The dynamics of that revolution are
at work in Ameri ca; as long as people are denied their
measure of justice, they are going to struggle to ge t
their _pla~e in 01;1-r . society. The trage dy of poverty in
America is that it is more des tructive of human values
~han is ~overty anywhere else in the world. The poor
m America are not only robbed eco nomi cally, they are
robbed spiritually because they are shut out of society.
They are denied any sense of belonging and par ticip ating, and they are denied that meas ure of human worth
and human dignity that only belonging to society can
give a human being.
And so we need to look at the problems in the city.
They are not new problems. They are pro blems of long
standing. They are only becoming more desperate and
their solution is becoming more urgent. The late Carl
Sandburg, reporting a riot in the slums, wrote these
words: "No slum is separate from the community. The
slum gets its revenge. These pe_ople are no longer
satisfied with weasel words and insincere promises."
When did he write those words? In 1919 after the
Chi cago race riots .
_ And what have we done in these years? We have
been long on pious platitudes and short on practical
performance. What is needed are not new promises;
what is needed is the fulfillment of ancient promises.
Let us not, in this hour of crisis, try to salve the national conscience by noble talk about how far we have
really come. Progress is a relative matter. We need to
judge where we are, not from where we have come
and how much farther we must go to give substanc~
and meaning to the concepts of human equality and
equal opportunity. We need to understand that freedom
is an indivisible value and that there can be no halfway
hous e on the road to freedom and first class citizenship
for every American. Let us not act in anger but in
understanding, because the task before us will take a
full measure of commitment, of courage and of human
The document says that we must reorder our na~
tional priorities. We must put first things first and we
must then commit ourselves and our resources in a
measure equal to the dimensions of the challenges we
face . I believe we are at that plac e in our history where
America must look within itself; w e must say to ourselves that h alf-way and half-h earted measures, programs and polici es of too little and too late are not
equal to the challenge that we fac e. Wh en we are fac ed
with the challenges of war, no one pretends that we
ought to meet tha t challenge by a half-way effort. And
I say in this situation no less than a total, massive
effort will be equal to the dimensions of the challenge
that we fac e.
What w e are doing here today ought to be the first
st ep in th e building of a grand alliance of men and
w om en of good will, of all races, of all creeds, of all
politi cal persuasions . We need to join together in
sea rching for ration al and responsible answers in the
light of reason. For if we fail, th en the vacuums of our
failures will be filled by the apostles of fear and hatred
-white and bl ack- and they will search for answers
in the dark of night and the spirit of brotherhood will
yield to the spirit of bitternes s and bloodshed and we
will tea r as under the fa bric of our free society.
We h ave th e resources in Am erica to do this job.
W e h ave the technological know-how. What is lacking
is th e sense of n ational commitment and national will
and a sense of national purpos e and each of us must
sha re the responsibility of helping to arouse the conscienc e of America to a sense of grea t urgency .
The h our is la ter perhaps than many of us re alize.
W e must m obilize the pri vate sectors , w e must mobilize
go ve rnment on eve ry level, and then w e also must
knock on the do or of Congress and somehow ·we must
persuade Congre ss to get off dead center and to move
w ~t~ a sense of realism and urgency in response to this
crisis .
W e nee d to move on the job fr onts, on the housing
fr?nts, on ~he_ educational fronts, and many other fronts .
His to:y w ill JU~~e America in this period-not by its
techmcal capab ility that enables an American astron aut
to walk safely in space-but rather by the national
commitment and the sense of social and moral responsibility by which a nation commits its resources to
the task of building a better society, in which justice
and equality and brotherhood can make it possible
for people to live as neighbors in peace, so that every
American can walk safely on our streets. This, I believe,
will be the test.
Let this convocation be the beginning and let us
move forward to build this working alliance at every
level of our society, in every community, in every
neighborhood. Only as we mobilize the people of this
country can we bring to bear upon the structure of
our society those leverages of influence which are
essential to get this nation moving. And I believe that
in this effort we can help America achieve a more
realistic reordering of its national priorities, a greater
sense of national unity, a clear sense of national direction, and perhaps most important of all, a deeper sense
of national purpose.
What is the American dream about? It's not about
the volume of our gadgets. It's about building a society
in which everyone can have access to the opportunities of growth and development and a sense of human
fulfillment. That is the area in which we are failing.
This ought to be the beginning of mobilization of
this country's people so that in this hour of testing
-when the call to America is to be equalled by the
call to greatness-America can be equal to that
Let us go to work for we must not fail America
in this hour!
�The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
It is with the deepest sense of regret that I find I cannot be with you today as you deliberate on what is
clearly the most realistic, relevant, and moral response
yet to emerge to the grave domestic crisis of which we
have been made so painfully aware this summer. Sheer physical exhaustion following intensive activities in several cities over the past few months and
our SCLC convention last week have caused my physician to insist that an immediate brief period of rest is
imperative if I am to continue in good health.
My heart and my hopes, however, are with you
today in the Emergency Convocation of this longdreamed-of and desperately needed Urban CGalition.
One of the most impressive indications to me of
the importance of the task to which you set yourselves
beginning today have been the many letters and communications I have received from mayors across our
nation in affirmative response to my appeal last month
for a massive federal employment program. Our society
can and must provide an opportunity for all 9f its
citizens to contribute their energy and talent to the
development of a meaningful life fo r all our people.
Recognizing that the tes t of the Principles, Goals,
and Commitments sounded in our call for this Convocation is not so much what you say today, but what
you do in the w eeks and months to come, I pray sincerely that the Congress will heed your pleas and that
your counterparts in cities across the nation will follo w
through on the commitments you make on this day.
Text of telegram read to convocation
The full proceedings of the Emergency
Convocation, including w orkshop reports
and floor discussion, will be published and
distributed at an early date.
6, 1967
Dear Ivan:
The Urban Coalition is truly an historic expression
of this Nation's connnitment to meet the challenge
that faces the people of our cities.
I have read your pr~ram and your resolutions. They
are most constructive. I know they will be helpful
to the Nation in achieving the goals we seek.
When the steering committee meets again in Washington,
I hope to have the opportunity to meet with you
and discuss our common objectives. I pledge to you
II\Y assistance in the task before us.
~Hubert H. Humphrey
Honorable Ivan Allen, Jr.
M3yor of the City of Atlanta
City Hall
Atlanta Georgia


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