Box 13, Folder 15, Document 16
Emergency Convocation: The Urban Coalition
�Emergency Convocation: The Urban Coalition Washington , D. C. August 24, 1967 The Shoreham Hotel
�Steering Committee Co-Chairmen: Andrew Heiskell A. Philip Randolph
A. Philip Randolph President, Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters New York
I. W. Abel President, United Steelw orkers Pittsburgh ··
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. Baltimore 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 Pittsburgh
Asa T. Spaulding President, North Carolina Mutua l Insurance Company Durham
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 Detroit 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 Atlanta 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 years. 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 survival. . · · 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 the breaking 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 . d 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 work. 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 agencies. -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 apparent. 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 citizens. 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 principles. 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. d January. . · 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 emp d f . 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 ' d t We are the beginnings of a national coalition of · as close as a television set an as remo e ffl is d . d' h'eve a uence 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 spamng · 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. bl Some h ave be en offered as th e means of ending povIn the past, this societJ'. has proved adapta e to ·11·t We rou. 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 press10n 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 . . f t· l 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 happen. . against the yardstick of the awesome need for1 JO s, It will require sacrifices in dollars and m comfort. We must no anger 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. promis m 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. d · our naFor the problems h ave their roots eep m . This coalition must mobilize itself to tap unus ed . s t'll usd 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 m For flfty years t h'1s na t·on k' ll d . · . d e 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 or . . ' 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 measures. 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 construction. 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 perilous. 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 about?" 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 home.
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 poverty. 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 .. . support. 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 granted. 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 themselves. 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 situations. 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 paths. 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 people. . . . . 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 profit. . 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 ourselves. 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 education. 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, ~arge_ 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 neighborhood. 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 citizen. 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 society. 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 own. 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 begin.
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 compassion. 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 challenge. . 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.