Box 7, Folder 9, Document 19

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Box 7, Folder 9, Document 19

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I,
December 1968
I
Community
The following statement is an excerpt fr.om a
recent speech by John W. Gardner, cha(rman
of the Urban Coalition:
l
Today one of the gravest handicaps to the
local community, dne of the things that prevents
it from pursuing any of its.purposes effectively,
is the fragmentation of the community itselfand the fragmentation of community leadership.
I saw_this at first ·h and 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 omin6us 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
strangers.
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 everyone who studied these matters closely that
communities so riven could not weather a ~to:rm
without cracking wide open. ,
The stqrms 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 c:Liminished 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, redoubling 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
,5olve 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.
�i
The sooner we get on with it the better.
There are issues so explosive that if we ignore
The Urban Coalition was formed precisely
them we shall be overtaken by events-and then
with that task in mind. I would emphasize the
every problem on the list will be infinitely
importance oithe coalition principl\;!. Some
harder to solve.
people think of the Coalition as just another
The goal that takes precedence over all
organization tackling the tough urban problems
others is to begin to heal those rifts that are now
of the day. But it is unique. Our distinction is
,makin& many American cities quite incapable
that we bring together segments of American
of any kind of healthy problem solving. We can
life that do not normally collaborate in the
heal those 'rifts. We can heal them through the
solution of public problems.
' process of coalition, if the PJOSt influential
Becaus·e of the need for such collaboration at
citizens in the community will lend their ~trength
the local level, the national organization has
and their presence, if all significant elements in
helped to form local coalitions. There are now '
the community are fairly represented and if all
local coalitions in 39 cities. As in the case of
concerned are unsparingly honest in facing
the national, each local organization includes
the toughest issues.
,
representatives from a variety of leadership
In a number of American cities today those
segments in the community-the mayor, busicondifions are being met in local urban coalitions
ness, labor, minority groups and religion. And
-the most i.nfluential citizens hctve stepped
we encourage .the participation of other relevant forward, all significant elements in the commuelements-the u~iversities, the schools, the
nity are represented and the toughest issues are
press, the professions.
being faced.
The coalition principle requires that minority
Once the significant elements in the commugroups be represented in the effort to solve
nity begin to work together, once they begi~ to
community problems. And such representation
think as a community and act as a community,
is itself a step toward solving the toughest proball kinds of things are possible. Then they can
lem of all-effective dialogue between minority
give city government the kind of intelligent
communities and the dominant elements in
support it needs; they can make the needs of
the city.
their city felt at the state and Federal level; they
Such communication is difficult. It requires
can see how all the various Federal, state and
bard work and patience and imagination on the
local programs fit together; they can provide
part of every person involved. But there is no
strong citizen support for Federal programs
alternative, unless we are willing to see our cities that are working and strong citizen criticism
torn apart. The one encouraging thing I can say
of those that are not working.
to you is that communication is possible. We
And most important of all, perhaps, they can
have proven th at over and over again.
look ahead.
When a crisis strikes it is too late to begin the
Ion~, arduous process of building effective
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ch annels of communication. If there is to be
fruitful collaboration between black and white
communities it must begin and be tested in a
National Relations Office
non-crisis atmosphere. Then when trouble
strikes, if it does, men who have learned to work An Office of National Relations has been estabtogether and trust one another can go into
lished within the Communications Division of
action together.
the Urban Coalition to "broaden support for the
I have not dealt with many substantive probCoalition and its objectives," John W. Gardner,
lems of the cities-fiscal and governmental
chairman of the national Coalition, announced.
problems, housing, jobs, education , health servThe new office is under the direction of
ices, economic development and so on. The
Christopher Mould, former executive assistant
Urban Coalition is interested in all those probto Mr. Gardner. Before joining the Coalition last
lems, but we are not free to choose the
year, Mr. Mould was chief of the Federal
particular problems to which we shall give our
Programs Division of the Justice Department's
attention . The priorities are thrust upon us.
Community Relations Service.
2
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 Communications 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 so ving
urban problems.
Action in Newark
The Newark, N.J. , Urban Coalition has a shorter
history than many of the 3 8 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 economy. Projections indicate the
downward trend will continue as the gap widens
between the character of the population and the
types of jobs available. Growth is expected to
1 come in the non-production industries that
require the greatest skills, not in trade
employment which could absorb the unskilled
workers.
The Greater Newark Urban Coalition, in a
broad "Plan of Action," has proposed the
establishment of a Community 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 communitywide organizational capability that will be able to
deal effectively with the wide range of problems
th at are rooted in the economic dependency and
weakness of the indigenous popul ation of the
ghetto." The Community Development Corp.
would be owned, operated and managed hy
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.
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Solid impetus was given the Coalition's
" Plan for Action" by tbe 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.
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Two staff members of the New Jersey
Department of Community Affairs have been
assigned to administe1' the loan program through
the Coalition office. The Coalition and the
private, nonprofit Interracial Council for
Business Opportunity will help loan applicants
di agnose 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 sponsorship oflow-income housing within the next two
months. To enter this field , it will establish a
housing development corporation with a separate board of directors composed of Negroes
and Puerto Ricans. The corporation will provide
fin ancial and technical assistance to community
groups which wish to sponsor low- and middleincome housing construction under various
fed eral and state assistance programs.
The "Plan for Action" outlined by the
Coalition to the community includes effortsnow underway-to organize and charter a blackcontrolled bank in the city. "The benefits of a
full-service commercial bank with a special
concern for the fin ancial needs of the minority
com munity are obvious," it said. It is working
also to deepen the commitment of the private
sector to a personal loan program for lowincome residents. The state has promised to
3
�commit $150_,000 to create a guarantee fund if
a matching amount is commi~ted by private
interests.
Gerald L. Phillippe
Gerald L. Phillippe, chairman of the board of
the General Electric Co. and a merpber of the
Urban Coalition's steering committee, died
Oct. 17 at the age of 59.
Mr. Phillippe had worked for General Electric
since his graduation from col1ege. He became
the company's seventh president in 1961 and
was elected chairmar;i of the board in 1963. He
was present at the Aug. 31, 1967; emergency:
convocation at which the Urban Coalition was
launched, and for many years lie had led efforts
~o join ~he private and public elements of society
rn fightrng poverty and unemployment in the
cities.
Fresno Expands
From an initial focus on improving 1ocal
housing, the Urban Coalition of Fresno, Calif.,
has turned its energies to attacking a broad
spectrum of community problems. Since Mayor
F loyd H. Hyde called meetings of leaders of all
segments of the community to set priorities last
January, task forces have been organized in jobs,
youth opportunities, housing, entrepreneurship
and education.
·
The first task fo rce to get fully underway was
~n housing, and the city responded by trading
its street beautification and tree planting program
~or an effort to set up a municipal mortgage
msurance fund with an initial appropriation of
S10,000. The experiment lets the city insure
home loans which do not qu alify for conventional financing. To administer the mortgage program, a Housing F inance Board was established
by city ordinance, and it ruled that loan applicants must participate in the HOME (Home
Opportunities and Management E ducation)
program. HOME was developed by Fresno State
<?~lle~e, at the city's request, to assist people
llvmg m substandard conditions to rehabilitate
or replace their present housing.
4
The Fresno Ho.using Development Corp. was
cr:eatep by members of the housing task force
as a nonprofit corporation to assist the city's
renewal efforts, and the task force is also assist. ing the civic redevelopment agency with its
General Neighborhood Renewal Area Plan
covering 1,900 acres in West Fresno with over
5,000 .q_wellings. The pilot project, San Joaquin
Par~, cove~s 400 acres. Another part of the
poverty-stnck~n West Fresno area, the Baison
~anor neighborhood, was helped by the Coalition_ task force in activating a FACE (Federally
Assisted Conservation Effort) project to halt
deterioration.
,
"
W~ile housing activities were getting started
last_wmter, _the mayor invited a Los Angeles
bu~messman_who had headed that city's rehabilitation committee after the Watts riots to speak
to Fresno business leaders. H . C. McClellan
described the Management Council for Merit
Em~loy_ment, Training and Research, which was
findmg Job and ,training opportunities for
minority grou~s. By M arch 6, t~ree me~tings
had been held m Fresno, and 28 industrialists
initiated a lik~ program for that city. The
Management Council hired an executive director
to serve through the summer months, called 200
!arge c~mpanies to a general meeting-and
1mme~iately g1ot to work distributing job applicant b1ograph1es and unemployment fact sheets
along with its statement of purpose.
A raft of personal interviews followed and a
follow-up survey was made later to find ~ut
how many disadvantaged Mexican-American
and Negro workers had been hired. By midSeptember, 401 full-tim e and 114 part-tin1e
workers had been signed on by 146 companies
who responded. And by that time, a three-year
budget for the Management Council was
prepared, a full-time director recn:rited, a fulltime person assigned to work with the Council
by the Model Cities Program, and a contract
signed with the Concentrated E mployment
Program to help secure jobs and training for 100
persons in the six months ahead.
High p~i_o rity has been assigned also to youth
opportunities and services. In April a chairman
and the nucleus of a task force were selected and
this body was subsequently charged with pr~viding a meaningfu1 summer program for
( Continued on page 9)
Action
The 90th Congress and
the Urban Crisis
A pamphlet briefly summarizing what steps
the 90th Congress took in 1967 and 1968 to
meet the crisis of the cities has been published
by the Action Council. It is available upon request to the Urtian Coalition Action Council,
18.19 H St., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20006.
Although the 90th Congress never agreed to
"reorder national priorities," as the Urban Coalition Action Council urged, the pamphlet concludes that the Congress "nevertheless showed
increasing interest in solutions to the urban
crisis and tQok many positive actions to promote
the welfarc of the cities."
Legi lative subjects covered in the booklet are
Hou ing, Employment, Antipoverty Programs,
Food Programs, Education, Health, Law Enforcemlfnt and Transportation.
Legislation in 1968
The 90thCoog;ress adjourned October 14 1968
with a record that w nt about halfwa}t in meet~
l ative goal of the Action Council.
Tbij gr test achievements of th ear e,; in
the housing fi Id-a landl,U housing act focused harply on the ne ds of low and mod teinco
families and a fair bonsillg bill, b.n~na racial and religiou discrimination in n.e
al an~ r ntal of homes. Tho N:tion Cou.o ·
orkcd bilrd f 'Con~ sioDal apprO\' of th
measurea.
The fair housing law had to weather a Senate
filibuster before it came to a vote, but its enactment had the support of both parties in Congress.
The Housing and Urban Development Act of
1968 grew out of legislation submitted by the
Democratic Administration, but it also encompassed many Republican proposals. Its enactment was a major bipartisan achievement.
1968 was a year in which Congress was mor
than ever conscious of the rising federal budget,
and the action taken on appropriation bills reflected this concern. Passage of the tax surcharg
and the failure to enact a Public Service Employment bill also were linked to the state of the
budget and fear of growing inflation.
The Action Council supported the tax surcharge as necessary to solving the problem facing the nation, but it urged that no n:ducti.ohs be
made in essential pro~aIDS such as jobs housing,
ducation and oonununity services. CMgre&s,
howev r, exempted only the education l})propriations from the 6 billion spending cut tluf.t
it decided must go hand in hand with the tax
increase.
The exemption. for education activities oam.e
only after 11,ppropriations for c major urb
education program-ti&J. I p( th J!l m tary
and Secondary Education. Act, providing aid to
schools in impoverished areu-.-were QQt sliah
below 1 t year's figures. Apptop.r;i
bou ing, antipoverty activities d o4
,gram for the needy, how ver-1 ros abe
year s totals.
�I
Here are some examples:
• The Juvenile Delinquency Prevention and
-Title I education funds. Last year, Sl.191 Control Act, which was changed from an experibillion. This year, Sl.123 billion.
mental demonstration program to a more per-Grants for model cities. Last year, $312 manent program largely under state control.
million. This year, S625 million.
• The Mass Transportation Act, which fur-Office of Economic Opportunity, the basic nishes federal funds for improved local transit
antipoverty agency. Last year, S l. 77 billion. This operations.
year, Sl.95 billion.
• The Federal-Aid Highway Act, which fi-Food stamp program for the needy. Last nances major urban highways. New provisions ,
year, $185 million. This year, $280 million.
were added to the Act requiring that when hearAt the very end of its 1968 session Congress
ings are held on proposed routes within a city
considered the appropriations that were needed the effect of the location of the highway on the
by the Housing and Urban Development Depart- community environment must be considered.
ment to get a quick start on the new programs in
the Housing Act and to administer the fair hous- Desegregation Amendment. A serious threat to
ing law. The results were disappointing to the the drive for effective desegregation of schools
Action Council. Of S 15 0 million in con tracts was barely beaten in Congress this year. The
that HUD planned to sign under the new home- Action Council cooperated with other organizaownership and rent subsidy programs, Congress tions in working to defeat the proposal.
approved only $50 million. And the appropriaThe provision was sponsored by Mississippi
tion under the fair housing law was even slim- Rep. Jamie L. Whitten (D). a high-ranking
mer-$2 million compared to the request for $8 member of the House Appropriations Commitmillion.
tee, and was written into the Committee's approThe Secretary of HUD, Robert C. Weaver, priation bill for the Health, Education and
1 said October 29 that the cuts in requested approWelfare Department. After the House of Reprepriations might set back for as much as a year sentatives approved the Whitten amendment in
the goal in the Housing Act of achieving 6 mil- June, the Action Council urged the Senate to
l lion housing units for low-income families in remove it from the bill. The provision was not
the next ten years. He expressed hope that the deleted by the Senate but it was made relatively
next Administration and Congress would ap- harmless by the addition of qualifying language.
prove supplemental appropriations for the homeThe key part of Whitten's amendment proownership and rental subsidy programs.
hibited HEW from "forcing" children to altend
By the time Congress adjourned it had ex- any particular school against their parents'
I tended a number of laws that helped meet prob- wishes. The Senate language prohibited forced
lems of the cities. Among these were:
attendance at a particular schpol "in order to
• The Manpower Development and Training overcome racial imbalance." This phrase, which
Act. which provides money for training the un- referred to de facto as opposed to discriminatory
employed and upgrading the skills of the under- segregation, was already part of civil rights law.
employed. The Act was extended for four years, It allowed the Government and the courts to put
but the Public Service Employment program an end to "freedom of choice" school plans that
which the Action Council supports was not were perpetuating racial discrimination.
added to it.
When members of the House and Senate Ap• The Higher Education Act, which includes propriations Committees met in conference on
the Teacher Corps, financial aid for needy stu- the HEW bill, Southerners had a majority of the
1 dents and funds for college construction, and the
votes and they struck out the Senate's qua lit\ ing
Vocational Education Act. New programs to language concerning rncial imbalance. In effect,
1 lidp disadvantaged students were added to the
Whitten\; purpose was achieved.
two Acts.
Action Council Chairman John W. Gardner
• The School Lunch Act, which wa<; amended wrote House Speaker John W. McCormack (D
to make fede ral funds available to day-care cen- Mass.) and the Republican leader, Rep. Ciera Id
ters, neighborhood houses and summer recrea- R. Ford (Mich.), October 2, a~king them to help
tion programs.
defeat the Whitten amendment on the House
6
floor. He said the amendment "raises the real
threat of resegregation in many Southern school
districts" and "implicitly sanctions racially dual
school systems."
On a close 167-175 vote October 3, the House
rejected the Appropriations Committees' recommendation and adopted the Senate phrase nullifying Whitten's amendment.
The result is that HEW can continue to withhold funds from school districts that arc not
making real progress toward desegregation.
}
l
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 extending the Juvenile Delinquency program.
Block grants have become a classic federal
versus states' rigbts issue in the last two years.
The principal debate has been on whether funds
from the federal government for specific programs should go directly to the communities that
apply for them, or whether they should go to the
state governments for distribution under a state
plan.
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 governments, 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 111.), whose block
grant amendment prevailed on the crime bill.
Dirksen warned that if Congress "bypassed
1 state governments by providing funds directly to
municipal governments, the system would lead to
"imposition of federal guidelin1.:s, restrictions
and eventual domination" of the states.
Southern Senators joined Dirksen in supporting block grants. Sen. Strom Thurmond (R
S.C.), for example, declared that "the federal
government !>hould not deal with local communities, cities, towns and other subdivisions" but
only with the states. Sen. Sam J. Ervin (D
N.C.) added that cities 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. Attorney General, Ramsey Clark, said it would be a
mistake to "thrust the state into the pipeline"
between Washington and the local area. Arrangements under which state officials could review and evaluate-but not veto-local plans
for the use of federal funds were favored by the
Administration.
Action Council Chairman Gardner, commenting 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 arc now operated at the local level. Precipitate 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 require1 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 comprehensive plan for distributing the money to its
communities and get the approval of the Secretary 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 enforcement grants ($50 million). Each state was
required to channel at least 75 % of its law enforcement grants to communities in the state.
The planning money was for setting up and operating 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 k1cal coalition- t hl'
Racine Environment Committee- met with the
7
1
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/
Mayor and 12 of the city's 18 aldermen to discuss the coalition's program. The Environment
Committee urged swift action by the city in applying to HUD ~or 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
CQmmittee. Members of the committee endorsed
a Community Improvement Act sponsored by
the city administration, prepared and distributed
a pamphlet explaining urban renewal, and testified 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
plans.
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 adjoining 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 housing legislation and an unprecedented tax levy for
education. The Committee of Concern, the Saginaw coalition, al o worked successfully for a
county-wide mutual fire assistance pact.
The New York City Urban Coalition's Housing Task Force has set up a legislative subcommittee of ten attorneys to examine what provisions in the housing law are being used or
misused. The subcommittee will seek new approaches to housing legislation and regulations,
as well as advising on community housing prob-
lems.
T tifying before the St. P.aul, Minn sota, City
Council in October, representatives of the local
litiou supporttd a budget increase sought by
the ciiteot.or of the St. Pa1,1l municipal human and
0ml ri,iit, departmeat.
Fresno Expands f rom page 4
disadvantaged youth, as weU 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 You th 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 AduHs." This gap
between the generations was not the only one
to be faced ; one of the specifit goals of the Youth
Council is to promote interaction and communication among you,ng 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 "establishment" 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 experience described in a detailed case study. The
report, available from the national Urban
Coalition office, was prepared by Michael J.
McMaous, correspondent for Time Magazine
who had been on loan to the Urban Coalition.
Sparked by Mayor Arthur Naftalin, 14 business leaders who had worked together after a
1966 riot in Minneapolis agreed that a longrange attack on the city's problems was needed.
Each donated Sl ,000 for a citywide study on
the possibility of creating a Coalition for com-
(
9
�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.
Se,9sing distrust by the militant black leadership,
H arris asked for a co-directon T. Williams,
black staff director of a local community center.
Their study found wide agreement on need for
a coalition , but re al 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
governm ent and agencies, one-third business,
labor and religion. A statement of goals was
drafted a nd circulated to 100 leaders by midNovember, and a temporary structure was
designed with six-month terms for chair man,
staff director and task1orce heads. Larry H arris
became exec4tive director fo r 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. T he latter
followed up the Kerner Commission Report with .
an "Anti-R acism Week" : Church-goers were
given a "sensitivity survey," seminars were held
on the shortcomings of the wh ite press, housing
industry members were confronted with charges
of discriminatory housing practices. In the week
following the murder of Dr. M artin Luther
King Jr., black members, venting their emotions
with violent words, charged th at the Coalition
was useless and formed a Black United Front to
p resent fo rmal demands. T heir 14-point "Recommendations fro m the Black Community"
impressed the white members with the thoughtfulness 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 p ainful
as it was for the fledgling Urban Coalition to
bow (some said 'capitulate' ) to the demands of
the black community, producing action on the
10
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, culminating in an explosive me~ting on the six-m,onth
annivers ary. It was time for a new loo1c at
purposes and methods . L arry H arris' temporary
assignment as executive director eIJ.ded at this
meeting, and he submitted a series of special
recommend ations. One was carried out immediately, as Harry D avis, the man the blacks had
chosen to negotiate their 14 points, became the
new executive director. The appo intment had
" profound symbolic value," McManus says in
his report. "To have a Negro in that post underscored the city's long-term commitment to press
the battle against racism and poverty."
Finding th at the sh arpest cry was fo r blaok
entrepreneurship, 17 fa mily and corporate
found ation s form ed a consortium and pledged
$225 ,000 for an equal opportunity fund. A
predomin antly ql ack subcommittee of the business developm ent task force was fo rmed to
decide which applicants fo r enterpri se are to be
helped ; other committees give technical aid.
By early October, Sl 7,000 made in "soft" loans
had drawn another S64,000 from traditional
lending sources to help Negroes open their own
businesses.
T he housing task fo rce also had produced
results. By October the city had added 14 building inspec tors to fo rce landlords to maintain
property stand ards; leg islati9n to protect tenants
was in the works; the consortium had approved
51 applications and was reviewing 175 more
fo r down-pay ment fu nds for needy fa milies. T he
employment task force help ed fill 600 full-time
jobs and fo und 1,470 summer jobs.
Lessons learned in this year : T he 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 communication among all parties. I t must be fu nded
to afford enough fu ll-time staff to do the job;
bor rowing 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
unexp ected. "
Communications
Brian Du.ff, vice president of the national
Urban Coalition in charge of communications,
has announced the appointment of William A.
M ercer as deputy director of communications.
Mercer has served since April 1964 as executive
director of the Business and Industrial Coordinating Council in Newark, N.J. , an organization
of business, civil rights, industry, labor, education, the major religious faiths and social
agencies that has developed more than 15,000
job and training opportunities for the disadvantaged 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 NYU Graduate School of Arts
and Sciences.
11
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The Urban Coalition
ort~
Nonprofit Org.
U.S. Postage
PAID
Washington, D.C.
Permit No. 43234
1819 H Street, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20006
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