Box 7, Folder 9, Document 19

Dublin Core

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| Re Urban Coalition

December 1968


The following statement is an excerpt froma
recent speech by John W. Gardner, chairman
of the Urban Coalition:

Today one of the gravest handicaps to the
local community, one of the things that prevents
it from pursuing any of its purposes effectively,
is the fragmentation of the community itselfi—
and the fragmentation of community leadership.

I saw this at first hand when, as Secretary of
Health, Education and Welfare, I had to visit all
of our major cities—and many not so major.

I found that the typical American city was split
up into a variety of different worlds that were
often wholly out of touch with one another.

The suburbs were out of touch with the central
city. Business, labor and the universities were
three wholly separate worlds—as far apart as
worlds can be, City Hall was usually out of touch
with the ghetto and often out of touch with the
ablest and most influential people in the city.
The most ominous rifts, of course, were the rifts
involving various minority communities, most
commonly the black community, but in some
parts of the country the American Indian or
Mexican-American community.

As I traveled around, I observed that these
fragmented worlds were often terribly ignorant
of one another, and that the ignorance bred fear,
and the fear bred hostility. These cities were
not communities. They were encampments of

Is it surprising that cities so fragmented have
great difficulty in solving their problems, great

difficulty in even formulating their problems?
Long before the riots, it was apparent to every-
one who studied these matters closely that
communities so riven could not weather a storm
without cracking wide open. ,

The storms came—and they cracked wide

open. One after another. Like all structures

under stress they cracked along the lines of
their internal weaknesses. The rift between
black and white communities was usually the
main issue but when the city tried to pull itself
together to face that issue, it found its capacity
to do so greatly diminished by the other rifts
within the community—between business and
labor, between suburb and central city, between
police and citizen, between young and old.

Nothing is more clear than that no major city
can or will solve its problems without first
repairing some of those devastating gaps in
communication. :

In some respects it is harder to accomplish
that repair after the troubles that have occurred.
In some respects, of course, it is easier. Some
people respond to trouble affirmatively, re-
doubling their efforts to act constructively. But
others, both black and white, respond to the
interplay of violence and counter-violence with
deepened anger, fear, hostility and a desire
to strike back.

We shall see a good deal more of those
emotions before we’re through. But they won’t
solve a thing.

Sooner or later we are going to have to sit
down together and figure out how we can create
communities that we can all live in, all believe
in, all be proud of, all defend.

The sooner we get on with it the better.

The Urban Coalition was formed precisely
with that task in mind. I would emphasize the
importance of the coalition principle. Some
people think of the Coalition as just another
organization tackling the tough urban problems
of the day. But itis unique. Our distinction is
that we bring together segments of American
life that do not normally collaborate in the
solution of public problems.

Because of the need for such collaboration at
the local level, the national organization has
helped to form local coalitions. There are now
local coalitions in 39 cities. As in the case of
the national, each local organization includes
representatives from a variety of leadership
segments in the community—the mayor, busi-
ness, labor, minority groups and religion. And
we encourage the participation of other relevant
elements—the universities, the schools, the
press, the professions.

The coalition principle requires that minority
groups be represented in the effort to solve
community problems. And such representation
is itself a step toward solving the toughest prob-
lem of all—effective dialogue between minority
communities and the dominant elements in
the city.

Such communication is difficult. It requires
hard work and patience and imagination on the
part of every person involved. But there is no
alternative, unless we are willing to see our cities
torn apart. The one encouraging thing I can say
to you is that communication /s possible. We
have proven that over and over again.

When a crisis strikes it is too late to begin the
long, arduous process of building effective
channels of communication. If there is to be
fruitful collaboration between black and white
communities it must begin and be tested ina
non-crisis atmosphere. Then when trouble
strikes, if it does, men who have learned to work
together and trust one another can go into
action together.

I have not dealt with many substantive prob-
lems of the cities—fiscal and governmental
problems, housing, jobs, education, health serv-
ices, economic development and so on. The
Urban Coalition is interested in all those prob-
lems, but we are not free to choose the
particular problems to which we shall give our
attention. The priorities are thrust upon us.

There are issues so explosive that if we ignore
them we shall be overtaken by events—and then
every problem on the list will be infinitely

harder to solve.

The goal that takes precedence over all
others is to begin to heal those rifts that are now
making many American cities quite incapable
of any kind of healthy problem solving. We can
heal those rifts. We can heal them through the
process of coalition, if the most influential
citizens in the community will lend their strength
and their presence, if all significant elements in
the community are fairly represented and if all
concerned are unsparingly honest in facing
the toughest issues.

Ina number of American cities today those
conditions are being met in local urban coalitions
—the most influential citizens have stepped
forward, all significant elements in the commu-
nity are represented and the toughest issues are
being faced.

Once the significant elements in the commu-
nity begin to work together, once they begin to
think as acommunity and act asa community,
all kinds of things are possible. Then they can
give city government the kind of intelligent
support it needs; they can make the needs of
their city felt at the state and Federal level; they
can see how all the various Federal, state and
local programs fit together; they can provide
strong citizen support for Federal programs
that are working and strong citizen criticism
of those that are not working.

And most important of all, perhaps, they can
look ahead.

National Relations Office

An Office of National Relations has been estab-
lished within the Communications Division of
the Urban Coalition to “broaden support for the
Coalition and its objectives,” John W. Gardner,
chairman of the national Coalition, announced.

The new office is under the direction of
Christopher Mould, former executive assistant
to Mr. Gardner. Before joining the Coalition last
year, Mr. Mould was chief of the Federal
Programs Division of the Justice Department’s
Community Relations Service.

The associate director of the new unit will be
Fred Jordan, who is leaving the post of Deputy
Assistant Director for Operations and Technical
Assistance of the Model Cities Administration.
Mr. Jordan is a former deputy director of the
California Office of Economic Opportunity,

a division of the governor’s office.

Brian Duff, vice president of the Communica-
tions Division, said the mission of the National
Relations staff will be to establish liaison with
other national organizations and with Federal
agencies and to seek ways for the national
Coalition to cooperate with others in solving
urban problems.

Action in Newark

The Newark, N.J., Urban Coalition has a shorter
history than many of the 38 other Coalitions
launched since August, 1967. But its formal
incorporation in April of this year has been
followed by planning on a large scale and some
substantial steps toward improvement of the
city’s economy.

Newark has the second highest proportion of
Negroes in its population of all American cities;
it is more than half Negro, and another 10 per
cent is Spanish-speaking. A report by the city’s
Office of Economic Development showed that
generally this 60-plus per cent lives at a much
lower economic level than the rest of the
population: It is largely unskilled and untrained,
and it has few resources except labor to offer to
Newark’s econoniy. Projections indicate the
downward trend will the gap widens
between the character of the population and the
types of jobs available. Growth is expected to
come in the non-production industries that
require the greatest skills, not in trade
employment which could absorb the unskilled

The Greater Newark Urban Coalition, in a
broad “Plan of Action,” has proposed the
establishment of aCommunity Development
Corp. that could be the key to the city’s economic
development. As the Coalition sees it, the
objective is to “forge for Newark a community-
wide organizational capability that will be able to
deal effectively with the wide range of problems
that are rooted in the economic dependency and
weakness of the indigenous population of the

ghetto.” The Community Development Corp.
would be owned, operated and managed by
ghetto residents. It would run all antipoverty
services, but more importantly would also own
and manage businesses, own and manage
housing and represent the community in renewal
planning and other phases of public policy.

One of its goals will be to become involved
in businesses which are job producing with a
market for its products or services both inside
and outside of the ghetto. The Coalition is now
organizing this corporation so that it will qualify
for 502 loans from the Small Business
Administration as well as grants and loans from
the Economic Development Administration
and other sources.

Solid impetus was given the Coalition’s
“Plan for Action” by the establishment in early
October of a $1 million fund by four commercial
banks to provide loans to ghetto buisnessmen
who cannot qualify for financial help elsewhere.
Two staff members of the New Jersey
Department of Community Affairs have been
assigned to administer the loan program through
the Coalition office. The Coalition and the
private, nonprofit Interracial Council for
Business Opportunity will help loan applicants
diagnose the problems of their businesses and
try to improve their operations.

Coalition president Gustav Heningburg
followed the loan fund announcement with word
that the organization would move into sponsor-
ship of low-income housing within the next two
months. To enter this field, it will establish a
housing development corporation with a sepa-
rate board of directors composed of Negroes
and Puerto Ricans. The corporation will provide
financial and technical assistance to community
groups which wish to sponsor low- and middle-
income housing construction under various
federal and state assistance programs.

The “Plan for Action” outlined by the
Coalition to the community includes efforts—
now underway—to organize and charter a black-
controlled bank in the city. “The benefits of a
full-service commercial bank with a special
concern for the financial needs of the minority
community are obvious,” it said. It is working
also to deepen the commitment of the private
sector to a personal loan program for low-
income residents. The state has promised to

Here are some examples:

—Title I education funds. Last year, $1.191
billion. This year, $1.123 billion.

—Grants for model cities. Last year, $312
million. This year, $625 million.

—Office of Economic Opportunity, the basic
antipoverty agency. Last year, $1.77 billion. This
year, $1.95 billion.

—Food stamp program for the needy. Last
year, $185 million. This year, $280 million.

At the very end of its 1968 session Congress
considered the appropriations that were needed
by the Housing and Urban Development Depart-
ment to get a quick start on the new programs in
the Housing Act and to administer the fair hous-
ing law. The results were disappointing to the
Action Council. Of $150 million in contracts
that HUD planned to sign under the new home-
ownership and rent subsidy programs, Congress
approved only $50 million, And the appropria-
tion under the fair housing law was even slim-
met—$2 million compared to the request for $8

The Secretary of HUD, Robert C. Weaver,
said October 29 that the cuts in requested appro-
priations might set back for as much as a year
the goal in the Housing Act of achieving 6 mil-
lion housing units for low-income families in
the next ten years. He expressed hope that the
next Administration and Congress would ap-
prove supplemental appropriations for the home-
ownership and rental subsidy programs.

By the time Congress adjourned it had ex-
tended a number of laws that helped meet prob-
lems of the cities. Among these were:

e The Manpower Development and Training
Act, which provides money for training the un-
employed and upgrading the skills of the under-
employed. The Act was extended for four years,
but the Public Service Employment program
which the Action Council supports was not
added to it.

® The Higher Education Act, which includes
the Teacher Corps, financial aid for needy stu-
dents and funds for college construction, and the
Vocational Education Act. New programs to
help disadvantaged students were added to the
two Acts.

® The School Lunch Act, which was amended
to make federal funds available to day-care cen-
ters, neighborhood houses and summer recrea-
tion programs.

e The Juvenile Delinquency Prevention and
Control Act, which was changed from an experi-
mental demonstration program to a more per-
manent program largely under state control.

@ The Mass Transportation Act, which fur-
nishes federal funds for improved local transit

| Operations.

e The Federal-Aid Highway Act, which fi-

nances major urban highways. New provisions |
were added to the Act requiring that when hear- |
ings are held on proposed routes within a city |
the effect of the location of the highway on the |

| community environment must be considered.

Desegregation Amendment. A serious threat to
the drive for effective desegregation of schools
was barely beaten in Congress this year. The
Action Council cooperated with other organiza-
tions in working to defeat the proposal.

The provision was sponsored by Mississippi
Rep. Jamie L. Whitten (D), a high-ranking
member of the House Appropriations Commit-
tee, and was written into the Committee’s appro-
priation bill for the Health, Education and
Welfare Department. After the House of Repre-
sentatives approved the Whitten amendment in
June, the Action Council urged the Senate to
remove it from the bill. The provision was not
deleted by the Senate but it was made relatively
harmless by the addition of qualifying language.

The key part of Whitten’s amendment pro-
hibited HEW from “forcing” children to attend
any particular school against their parents’
wishes, The Senate language prohibited forcéd
attendance at a particular school “in order to
overcome racial imbalance.” This phrase, which
referred to de facto as opposed to discriminatory
segregation, was already part of civil rights Jaw.
It allowed the Government and the courts to put
an end to “freedom of choice” school plans that
were perpetuating racial discrimination.

When members of the House and Senate Ap-
propriations Committees met in conference on
the HEW bill, Southerners had a majority of the
votes and they struck out the Senate’s qualifying
language concerning racial imbalance. In effect,
Whitten’s purpose was achieved.

Action Council Chairman John W. Gardner
wrote House Speaker John W, McCormack (D
Mass.) and the Republican leader, Rep. Gerald
R. Ford (Mich. ), October 2, asking them to help
defeat the Whitten amendment on the House

floor. He said the amendment “raises the real
threat of resegregation in many Southern school
districts” and “implicitly sanctions racially dual
school systems.”

On aclose 167-175 vote October 3, the House
rejected the Appropriations Committees’ recom-
mendation and adopted the Senate phrase nulli-
fying Whitten’s amendment.

The result is that HEW can continue to with-
hold funds from school districts that are not
making real progress toward desegregation.

Block Grants. Block grants to the states were a

| feature of two major bills passed by Congress in

1968. These were the Omnibus Crime Control
and Safe Streets Act, which provides $400 million
in federal funds to help improve state and local
law enforcement activities, and the law extend-
ing the Juvenile Delinquency program.

Block grants have become a classic federal
versus states’ rights issue in the last two years.
The principal debate has been on whether funds
from the federal government for specific pro-
grams should go directly to the communities that
apply for them, or whether they should go to the
state governments for distribution under a state

A major argument against block grants to the
states was raised by Sen. Edmund S. Muskie (D
Maine) during the debate on the anti-crime bill.
The block grant approach, Muskie said, will
foster “continuing political controversies and
partisan rivalries between state and local govern-
ments, between Governors and Mayors, between
urban and rural areas.” Muskie pointed out that
law enforcement is far more a local than a state
problem, just as is education—another field in
which block grants have been proposed.

The chief opposing argument was made by
Sen, Everett M. Dirksen (R IIl.), whose block
grant amendment prevailed on the crime bill.
Dirksen warned that if Congress “bypassed”
state governments by providing funds directly to
municipal governments, the system would lead to
“imposition of federal guidelines, restrictions
and eventual domination” of the states.

Southern Senators joined Dirksen in support-
ing block grants. Sen. Strom Thurmond (R
S.C.), for example, declared that “the federal
government should not deal with local commu-
nities, cities, towns and other subdivisions” but
only with the states. Sen. Sam J. Ervin (D

N.C.) added that citiés are only “creatures of
the state.”

Administration officials contended that since
law enforcement and juvenile delinquency are
basically local issues, federal programs should
be “community based,” involving local people
in the planning and operations. The U.S. Attor-
ney General, Ramsey Clark, said it would be a
mistake to “thrust the state into the pipeline”
between Washington and the local area. Ar-
rangements under which state officials could re-

view and evaluate—but not veto—local plans |

for the use of federal funds were favored by the

Action Council Chairman Gardner, com-
menting on the juvenile delinquency bill in a
July 8 telegram to Sen. Joseph S. Clark (D Pa.),
noted that “most youth services and juvenile
courts are now operated at the local level. Pre-
cipitate requirements that all federal funds be
channeled through state agencies,” Gardner said,
‘would seriously impair the effectiveness of the
juvenile delinquency legislation and in my view
would be a grave mistake.”

Congress, however, wrote into the bill require-
ments that federal contributions to rehabilitation
and prevention programs, the basic elements of
the legislation, be allocated directly to the states.
But, each state first has to draw up a compre-
hensive plan for distributing the money to its
communitics and get the approval of the Secre-
tary of HEW. The state also has to pay part of its
communities’ costs in operating the program.

The anti-crime bill allocated in block grants
all of the money for planning ($25 million the
first year) and 85% of the money for law en-
forcement grants ($50 million), Each state was
required to channel at least 75% of its law en-
forcement grants to communities in the state.
The planning moncy was for setting up and op-
erating state agencies to draw up statewide law
enforcement plans.

Local Legislation

Local coalitions have been active this year in
urging legislative action by the state legislatures
and by city government. They have also made
recommendations on bond issues to be voted
on by the public.

In Racine, Wisconsin, the local coalition—the
Racine Environment Committee—met with the

Mayor and 12 of the city’s 18 aldermen to dis-
cuss the coalition’s program. The Environment
Committee urged swift action by the city in ap-
plying to HUD for planning funds under the
model cities program. Another legislative goal
was adoption by the City Council of a housing
conservation code so that the city would be
eligible for federal funds for low-income housing.
This effort was led for the coalition by Paul
Cody, the urban affairs manager of the Johnson
Wax Company.

The Louisiana legislature recently enacted a
law for local option urban renewal, capping a
two-year campaign by the Urban Coalition’s
New Orleans affiliate, the Metropolitan Area
Committee. Members of the committee endorsed
a Community Improvement Act sponsored by
the city administration, prepared and distributed
a pamphlet explaining urban renewal, and testi-
fied at hearings by legislative committees in the
capitol in Baton Rouge. The legislature did not
act on the proposal last year, but when the New
Orleans group and other supporters of urban
renewal resumed the campaign in 1968, the bill
passed and was signed by the Governor. The city
is now actively working on its urban renewal

On the local level the Metropolitan Area
Committee has been seeking reform of the tax
structure and has endorsed bond proposals
within the city of New Orleans and in an adjoin-
ing parish (county).

The Saginaw, Michigan, local coalition has
been credited by the Mayor’s office with gaining
support within the city for passage of fair hous-
ing legislation and an unprecedented tax levy for
education. The Committee of Concern, the Sagi-
naw coalition, also worked successfully for a
county-wide mutual fire assistance pact.

The New York City Urban Coalition’s Hous-
ing Task Force has set up a legislative subcom-
mittee of ten attorneys to examine what provi-
sions in the housing law are being used or
misused. The subcommittee will seek new ap-
proaches to housing legislation and regulations,
as well as advising on community housing prob-

Testifying before the St. Paul, Minnesota, City
Council in October, representatives of the local
coalition supported a budget increase sought by
the director of the St. Paul municipal human and
civil rights department.

Fresno Expands from page 4

disadvantaged youth, as well as summer jobs.
But this didn’t seem enough to the task force
members; they wanted a year-round role. In
July, representatives from youth organizations
throughout the Fresno area were convened, and
a Youth Council was born. It includes a voting
representative from every youth group, and
accepts as members all youth from 15 to 22
years old.

The first official activity was a September
panel discussion where a fiery exchange went on
among 500 adults and youths on “The Widening
Gap Between Youth and Adults.” This gap
between the generations was not the only one
to be faced; one of the specific goals of the Youth
Council is to promote interaction and commu-
nication among young people from all parts of
Fresno. The Council recognizes no barriers,
whether city-county, school, church or racial.

It has made plans to study such problems as
recreation, high school curriculum and drug
abuse—studies to be carried out by youth alone.

And the gap between youth and the “establish-
ment” is being tackled by having youths sit in
on city commissions and take a role in the
decision making—learning about community
planning processes at first hand.

Case Study: Minneapolis

Minneapolis, one of the first cities to form an
Urban Coalition, has had its first year’s experi-
ence described in a detailed case study. The
report, available from the national Urban
Coalition office, was prepared by Michael J.
McManus, correspondent for Time Magazine
who had been on loan to the Urban Coalition.
Sparked by Mayor Arthur Naftalin, 14 busi-
ness leaders who had worked together after a
1966 riot in Minneapolis agreed that a long-
range attack on the city’s problems was needed.
Each donated $1,000 for a citywide study on
the possibility of creating a Coalition for com-

munity focus on the problems. To conduct the
study they hired Larry Harris, organizer of the
Hennepin County poverty program, who was
white and had the respect of most white leaders.
Sensing distrust by the militant black leadership,
Harris asked for a co-director: T. Williams,
black staff director of alocal community center.
Their study found wide agreement on need for

a coalition, but real apprehension that business
would dominate it.

The businessmen responded by minimizing
their role, deciding that only seven of them
would sit on a 63-man board. One-third would
represent minority and poverty groups, one-third
government and agencies, one-third business,
labor and religion. A statement of goals was
drafted and circulated to 100 leaders by mid-
November, and a temporary structure was
designed with six-month terms for chairman,
staff director and task force heads. Larry Harris
became executive director for the first six
months. In early December, a single meeting of
men from 60 corporations raised the $45,000
budget, and a six-man staff was planned. “In
retrospect, this underestimation of staff needs
was the largest single error in launching the
Coalition,” the report says. “Once the study was
completed, things seemed to drag. It was not
until Feb. 8 that the first Coalition meeting
was held.”

Task forces were named on employment,
housing and community information. The latter

followed up the Kerner Commission Report with -

an “Anti-Racism Week”: Church-goers were
given a “sensitivity survey, ’ seminars were held
on the shortcomings of the white press, housing
industry members were confronted with charges
of discriminatory housing practices: In the week
following the murder of Dr. Martin Luther

King Jr., black members, venting their emotions
with violent words, charged that the Coalition
was useless and formed a Black United Front to
present formal demands. Their 14-point “Rec-
ommendations from the Black Community”
impressed the white members with the thought-
fulness of the demands and the unity of the
community. “The Coalition committed itself to
a series of specific actions in direct response

to the 14 points,” it is reported, but “as painful
as it was for the fledgling Urban Coalition to
bow (some said ‘eapitulate’) to the demands of
the black community, producing action on the


promises was far more difficult. The white man
had made new promises, but he did not provide
the staff to do the hard work to produce results.”

The outcome: frustration on all parts, culmi-
nating in an explosive meeting on the six-month
anniversary. It was time for a new look at
purposes and methods. Larry Harris’ temporary
assignment as executive director ended at this
meeting, and he submitted a series of special
recommendations. One was carried out imme-
diately, as Harry Davis, the man the blacks had
chosen to negotiate their 14 points, became the
new executive director. The appointment had
“profound symbolic value,” McManus says in -
his report. “To have a Negro in that post under-
scored the city’s long-term commitment to press
the battle against racism and poverty.”

Finding that the sharpest cry was for black
entrepreneurship, 17 family and corporate
foundations formed a consortium and pledged
$225,000 for an equal opportunity fund. A
predominantly black subcommittee of the busi-
ness development task force was formed to
decide which applicants for enterprise are to be
helped; other committees give technical aid.

By early October, $17,000 made in “soft” loans
had drawn another $64,000 from traditional
lending sources to help Negroes open their own

The housing task force also had produced
results. By October the city had added 14 build-
ing inspectors to force landlords to maintain
property standards; legislation to protect tenants
was in the works; the consortium had approved
41 applications and was reviewing 175 more
for down-payment funds for needy families. The
employment task force helped fill 600 full-time
jobs and found 1,470 summer jobs.

Lessons learned in this year: The Coalition
cannot be “solely a behind-the-scenes catalytic
agent ...,” the case study concludes. It must
actively strengthen the black leadership on a
broad base, and there must be persistent com-
munication among all parties. It must be funded
to afford enough full-time staff to do the job;
borrowing personnel initially is only a stop-gap
solution. Finally, says the report, the principals
“must recognize that they are blazing new trails
through perilous terrain. Like explorers, they
must have goals, enthusiasm, strength and a vast
capacity to be flexible when confronted by the


Brian Duff, vice president of the national
Urban Coalition in charge of communications,
has announced the appointment of William A.
Mercer as deputy director of communications.
Mercer has served since April 1964 as executive
director of the Business and Industrial Coordi-
nating Council in Newark, N.J., an organization
of business, civil rights, industry, labor, educa-
tion, the major religious faiths and social

_ agencies that has developed more than 15,000

job and training opportunities for the disadvan-
taged in that city. Mercer is a graduate of the
New York University School of Commerce,
Accounts and Finance and has done graduate
work at the NY U Graduate School of Arts

and Sciences.



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