Box 15, Folder 1, Document 93

Dublin Core

Text Item Type Metadata


October 26, 1967

Atlanta Joins Urban Coalition

Urban Coalition is a term gaining increas-
ing currency these days and one on which an
increasing number of people concerned and
involved with the growing frustrations of city
life are staking their desperate hopes that our
society can survive without undergoing a
wrenching upheaval that would surely threat-
en its very foundations.

What is the Urban Coalition? Nationally it
is an organization formed last summer by
1,200 leaders representing city government,
business, labor, religious and civil rights
interests. Its broad goals are to focus
attention on the problems of our cities and,
more important, to develop action programs
to solve these problems.

Our cities are where three-fourths of 190
million Americans live, yet their problems
are rapidly approaching a crisis—indeed, the
day of crisis is here in many citics—and these
problems are being met by unconscionable
indifference. The indifference is not total, but
its magnitude is what makes it unconscion-

When state governments turned their backs
to the cities’ plight, the federal government
stepped in to lend a hand. Many of the fed-
eral programs show great promise, but Con-
gress has yet to recognize or sense the urgen-
cy. When a city burns, Congress immediate-
ly wrings its collective hands, bewails the
manifold sins and wickedness of the burners,
but effectively ignores the despair that
really struck the matches.

Of course we should punish and stop the

burners, but potential match lighters are be-
ing born and growing up every day in the
slums where frustrations and frictions are
causing the matches to flare. It is to those
frustrations and frictions that more energy
and effort must be addressed.

And it is here where the national Urban
Coalition intends to concentrate its energy and
efforts. As a “‘super lobby” for the cities, it
will focus attention and seek solutions in
these problem areas: poverty, lack of job
skills, unsound housing, inadequate parks,
schools, absence of adequate municipal ser-
vices, lack of motivation and the increasing
desperation among our ghetto poor.

To bring about the ‘total commitment of
all community resources and a reassessment
of prioritics’” so necessary if we are to solve
these and other problems facing our cities,
the national Urban Coalition is urging local
“counterpart” coalitions to join the fight.

This week Atlanta joined New York, De-
troit and other great cities in answering this
call and this opportunity to “get across to the
people and the Congress the urgency of the
problems of the cities .. . and encourage pri-
vate initiative.” Atlanta already has an ef-
fective informal coalition, Judging from rec-
ords of men named to the steering committee
for the formal coalition, we have a very good
chance to bolster national and local efforts.

Success in these efforts is absolutely nec-
essary, and the time is late, Failure to solve
the growing problems of our cities is un-

October 25, 1967

Allen Seeks
Urvan Coalicdion

Summit Group, C of C, Labor
Urged to Work for Jobs, Housing

Mayor Ivan Allen Wednesday called on six leaders of various
phases of Atlanta life to form an urban coalition whose goals
will be to provide decent jops, housing and education in urban


JOURNAL (cont.)

The mayor and Dan Sweat,
director of governmental liaison,
presented a statement to the
leaders which they will carry
back to their respective groups
for approval.

Accepting the statement were
Al Bows and Opie Shelton of the
Atlanta Chamber of Commerce,
the Rev. Sam Williams of
the Summit Leadership Confer-
ence. Robert J. Butler of the
Atlanta Labor Council, Dr. Har-
mon Moore of the Christian
Council of Metropolitan Atlanta,
Dr. John W. Letson. superin-
tendent of the Atlanta Public
Schools and Erwin Stevens of
the Citizens Central Advisory
Council (EOA). ~

Mayor Allen recently attended
an emergency convocation of the
urban coalition in Washington at
which 1.200 leaders representing
city governments, business, la-
bor, religious and civil rights
interests offered their views on
how to deal with the urban

THE LEADERS agreed to
carry back to their own cities
the determination to form local
coalitions made up of the same
leadership cross-section to im-
plement the program on a local
level. .

The statement Mayor Allen
presented to the heads of At-
lanta’s interest groups said that
although the federal government
has expressed concern for the
plight of the cities, Congress
failed to’ register the sense of
urgency of the urban crisis.

’ “The result is now a tragic
chapter in American history.
Riots, racial disturbances, civil
disobedience in city after city
throughout all parts of the coun-
try have cast a lasting im-
print of inaction and indiffer-
ence,"’ the statement continues.

LACK OF job skills, unem-
ployment, unsound housing, in-
adequate parks and schools. the
absence of realistic municipal
services, lack of motivation and
loss of faith and of hope —
these are the problems of the

The urban coalition hopes to
bring a “total commitment of
all community resources and a
reassessment of priorities by
national and state government.”
The working together of these
forces, the coalition hopes, ‘can
produce results on a scale large
enough to sufficiently change
the direction of our cities,” the
statement reads,

public items show