Box 19, Folder 18, Document 25

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Box 19, Folder 18, Document 25

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5%, Petersburg Times, Monday, August 5, 1963 BACKGROUND—INTERPRETATION



Atlanta's Mayor: ‘All
Alone With His Courage’


Special To The Times
From Tho N.Y. Herald Tribune

ATLANTA — For days the
word went out from the big
businessmen and civic leaders,
the political pros and public
opinion molders, the people in
Atlanta who usually count the
most. :

“You're making a big mis-

‘The message was plain,
blunt, and nearly unanimous.
Ivan Allen Jr., the 52-year-old
merchant - turned - mayor, lis-
tened very carefully.

Then all alone with his: cour-
age, he flew off to Washington
and went before the Senate
Commerce Committee to read
a_ carefully - drafted 14-page

“Gentleman,” the mayor
said firmly, “if I had your prob-
lem, armed with the local ex-
perience I have had, I would
pass a public accommodations —

= beret

first — and just possibly the
last — southern politician to
voice public approval of the
most controversial portion of
the civil rights bill.

The mayor came back to At-
lanta and found two main
schools of thought about his
Startling behavior before the
Senate committee.

The least substantial version
put it down as a shallow bid
for Negro votes, but seasoned
observers said that even with
a full turnout he would still
need plenty of support from

For a quarter-century, win-
ning Atlanta politics has been
based on a highly successful
“alliance” between Negroes and
so-called better class whites.

And the thought was that the
latier might prefer free enter-
prise more than Allen when
the 1966 term comes up. The
Mayer has indieated that he
intends to run again.

about the mayor's testimony
considered the possibility that
he had talked with President
Kennedy and was angling for
a federal job. ;

Alien denied it stoutly, in-
sisting that he talked with no

one in Washington except the
commitiee official ba invited
- him: te appear.

He later received a short let-
ter from the President which
praised “a number of effective
points’ in the statement. May-

. « » listened, but

or Allen seemed genuinely sur-
prised by it.

About his testimony, he says
_Simply: that the nation’s may-

ors have been stuck oul on a
limb and left there to handle
the whole racial crisis by them-

The Supreme Court has been
striking down segregation>
laws for years, he points out,
and yet no really solid legisla-
tin has taken its place. !

MAYOR ALLEN has faced,
nearly a dozen “mayor” de-
segregation crises, The col-
lapse of racial barriers has
come with increasing frequen-
cy here, always with some dif

“The whole damn thing is.
pushed down the throats of lo-
eal officials because everyone
is scared to touch it,” the may
or declared.

“Local governments have no
definition of responsibility,’ he
complains. “. . . this is a na-.
tional preblem and it deserves.
national direction.”


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