Box 16, Folder 36, Document 11

Dublin Core


Box 16, Folder 36, Document 11

Text Item Type Metadata



- - - - - -- ~ - - - - - -- -~


February 15, 1967
NOTICE: There should be ~ premature release of this Message to the
Congress, nor should its contents b~ paraphrased, alludad to or hinted
at in earlier stories. There is a total embargo on this Message until
delivered to the Congress, February 15, 1967, which includes any and
all references to any material in this Message.
George Christian
Almost two centuries ago, the American people decla1·ed these
truths to be self-evident:
That all men are created equal, that they
are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable
ri ghts , t hat among these are life, liberty and the
pursuit of happiness."
Seventy-five years later, a savage war tested the foundations of
their democratic faith. The issue of the struggle was, as Lincoln said,
whether "we shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the l ast, best hope on
Democracy triumphed in the field in 1865. But for the Negro
American , emancipation fr om slavery was but the first engagement in
a long campaign. He had still to endure the assaults of discrimination
that denied him a decent home, refused his children a good education,
closed the doors of economic progress against him, turned him away
at the voting booth, the jury box, at places of public accommodation,
seated him apart on buses and trains, and sometimes even threatened
him wit h violence if he did not assent to these humiliations.
In 1948, President Truman ordered the defense establishment to
accord equal t reatment to servicemen of every race. That same year,
t h e Supreme Court declared that state courts could not enforce racial
covenants in the sale of houses, The Court later struck down racial
discrimination in public transportation.
In 1954, segregated education was found to be inherently unequal
a nd in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.
In 19 57, t h e first civil r i ghts a c t in eighty - two years passed the
Congress .
Three later Acts were adopted within the next decade - - in 1960 ,
1964, and 196 5. Co n gress p r ohibited inte rferenc e with the r ight to
vote -- t o us e any hotel, r e staurant, or theate r -- to s ecure a job on
the bas is of merit. It barred the use of Fed eral funds to any agency
that practiced racial discrimination.
Within these twenty years, the institutions of democratic government
have begun to m~ke the ancient, self-evident truths a
reality for all Americans.
Though much of our task still lies before us, it is important to
measure the progress we have made in the past few years.
The Struggle Against Discrimination
Since the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the number of
Negroes registered in the five states where voter discrirnination was
most severe has increased by 64 percent -- from 715,099 to 1,174,569.
The vast majority of the new voters - - about 334, 000 - - were registered
by local officials, in voluntary compliance with the Act.
The remainder - - some 125, 000 - - were registered by Federal
examiners in 47 counties of the five states. Federal observers were
present in many counties during the 1966 primary and general election s
to insure that the newly registered voters were pe r mitted to vote without
inte rfe r enc e .
In 1960, a Negro citizen complained that fo r 10 years he had t r ied
with out succe ss to regis ter to vote. Not a s ingle Negro had been
r e g ister ed i n his county fo r 60 y ears. In 1966, he ran for a seat on
the l oca l s ch ool board - - a nd won .
Today , twenty Negr oes se r ve in Southern l e gislatures. Several
importa nt loca l office s, such as s chool boar ds and county commissions ,
now have Negro membership .
The e l e ctorate in these states has begun t o change . The right
to vote -- the fundamental democratic righ t -- is now exercised by
men and women whose color served i n y ears past to b a r them fr o m the
polls. After centuries of silence, thei r voice i s being heard. It will
never again be stilled.
In the 1963-1964 school year, ten years after the landmark Brown
decision, one percent of the Negro students in the ! 1 Southern states
were in schools also attended by white students.
Then came the 1964 Civil Rights Act and its prohibition against the
use of Federal funds to support racial bias.
In September 1966, 12. 5 percent of the Negro students in those
same states were enrolled in desegregated schools. We expect this
figure to increase significantly next fall. We will proceed with the
task of securing the rights of all our children.
This year, Negroes are being admitted to hospitals which barred
them in the past. By January, 7,130 hospitals -- more than 95 percent
of the hospitals in the nation - - had agreed t o provide services without
discrimination. More than 1,500 of those hospitals have had to change
past policies to make that commitment.
Getting rid of discriminatory practices has benefitted hospital
systems, as well as the people they serve.
Last year, for example, half the beds in an all-white hospi tal
were unoccupied, Yet Negroes in t he community were sent to a completely
segregate d and overcrowded hospital. The half-empty hospital changed
its policies to admit Negroes, and it now operates at full capacity. The
formerly Negro hospital will be converted into a nursing home serving
both races. The effect of the change was to provide better medical care
for the entire community.
Public Accommodations
When the 1964 Civil R i ght s Act was passed, p r ohibiting racia l
disc r i minati on i n places o f public accommodation, f ears w e re e x pres sed
that thi s sharp cha n ge i n established customs would b ring a bout seriou s
e c onom ic l o s s a n d perhaps eve n viole nc e .
Yet fr om t h e s tart the r e h as been w idespr ead voluntary compliance
with the l aw. Thousands of res t a urants , m otels a n d h ot e ls h ave been
opened t o Americans of all races a nd col o rs . What was thought t o be
laden with danger pr oved generally a c ceptable t o b oth races.
Because all business es of a s imilar t y pe are covered, each
businessman is free, for the first time, t o operate o n a non-discriminatory
basis without fear of suffering a c o mpetitiv e disadvantage.
Now N e g r o families travelling through most parts of their count ry
do not need to suffer the inconvenience of searching for a place to rest
or eat where they will be accepted or the humiliating indignity of
being turned away.
Prog ram s fo r Socia l Jus t ice
The struggl e a gains t today' e discrimi nati on is onl y part of the
nation's commitment to equal justice for all Americans. The bigotry
of the past has its effects in broken families , men without skills,
children without l earning, poor housing , a nd neighborhoods dominated
by the fear of crime.
Because these effects are encrusted by generations of inferior
opportunities and shattered hopes, they will not yield to laws against
discrimination alone. Indeed there is no swift medicine, no matter
how potent or massively applied, that can heal them at once. But we
know some of the things we must do if the healing process is to begin
and we are doing them.
Head Start has given deprived children a chance to learn in later
years - - inste~d of being merely exposed to school. Through this
and other preschool progra1ns, two million children have been offered
better education and health care.
More than seven million children in seventy percent of all _school
districts in the United States have participated in programs under
Title I of the 1965 Education Act, These programs have a single aim:
to improve the education of disadvantaged children. The better: libraries,
larger professional staffs, advanced instructional equipment and other
services they provide are investments in the future of children who need
them most.
In my 1'v1essage on America's Children and Youth, I asked the Congress
With these
funds, we will launch a Head Start Follow-Through Program in the early
'g rades of elementary school to maintain the momentum the child has
gained and we will. extend the Head Start Program downward to cover
more three-year-olds.
to provide an additional $135 million to strengthen Head Start.
Extraordinary help at the start of life is necessary for all disadvantaged children. It is particularly necessary for the Negro child
reared in poverty and encumbered by generations of deprivation.
Jobs and T r aining
Thousands of job opportunities for the young have been created
by t he Neighborhood Youth Corps and the Job Corps. The first, act ive
i n both u r ban and rural areas, has enabled many young people to ea r n
enou gh t o remain in sch ool, and provi ded employment and remedi al
educa t i on fo r d r opouts.
The Job C o rp s -- also m e ant t o help tho s e between 16 and 21
ha s offer e d o t he r thousand s both a change of enviro nm e nt a nd th e
o ppo rtunity t o a cqui re educat ion and job traini n g .
The Manpo wer D e v e l opm e nt and Train i n g A ct gi ve s m e n without
jobs or skills the chanc e t o a c quire both , by c om bining gov e rnm e nt
planning a nd resourc e s with privat e indu s try. The Work Experience
Program offers welfar e recipients a means of obtaining the experience
they need for gainful employment.
Today's strong economy, which last y e ar put almost three n1illion
more Americans on the payrolls, is also of tremendous benefit to needy
persons in search of dependable employment. But for the long term,
and as demand for better qualified workers grows, training and rem edial
education will be of even greater importance to the disadvantaged, This
is particularly true for those who leave the farm and move to urban
areas in search of en1ployment, without the skills an urban society
During the last three year s , our training programs have provided
the means of self- sufficiency to almost a million men and women, The
value of these program s to the Negro American is especially great.
The unemployment rate for Neg r oes is more than double that for
whites. About 650, 000 Americans, rr'.lOre th an 20 percent of all
unemployed, are non-white. About 213,000 of these a r e between 14
and 19 years of age. Job training is essential to enable them to get off
the welfare rolls ,a nd to go on the tax rolls.
Our economy is also strengthened by these programs. If Negroes
today had the same skills as other Americans, and if they were free
from discrimination in employment, our G r oss National Product could
become $30 billion higher.
I will shortly submit recommendations to str engthen and expand
these training programs. I am asking the Congress for an additional
$ 135 million in appropriations fo r the Office of Economic Opportunity
for a speci al program to ope n the doors of oppor tunity and meani ngfu l
employment to our most disadvantaged citizens.
I will call fo r the active assistance of private industry and
organized labor to p r ovide skills and jobs to those now confined to
t he welfare r olls and the slums.
The Need for Pe r severa.nce
T h ere are thos e who believe t his se ries of accom plishments
is l ong enou gh. There are those who grow wea r y of s upport ing great
s o cial p r ograms , impatient with the failures that attend them a nd
cynical a bou t those they a r e intended to help. The r e a r e tho s e wh o
think "equal ju stice " is a rhe t o ric a l phr a se , intende d only a s a n
a d m onition t o j udges, n ot as a gu i d i n g p rincipl e fo r national p olicy.
To t h em I c an only say: c onsider the c o n s equences if the Nati o n
and I as the Pr e s ident -- were t o t ake what appe a r s to be the easy way
ou t , a bandon the l ong, ha1·d struggle fo r s o cial a nd economic j ustice
and say that enough has been d one.
T h er e would b e little hope of strengthe ning t h e economy
of t h e c ount r y through the i m prove d earning-power and
productive c apacity of N e g r o America n s.
There would b e little h o pe of avo iding m a ss ive welfare
expenditures for people denied the t rain ing and j obs
they need to become self - supporting.
T h e r e would be little hope of ending the cha in of p ersonal
tragedies that began with ancient bigotr y and continues
to t his h our o
There would - - above all - - b e little hoEe of achiev ing
the self-re s pect that c omes to c!:_nat ion from doing what
i s right .
Our t as k i s far fr om ov er . T he stati stic s demonstrate the
magnitude of the effort requiredo
The life expectancy of the Negro is five years shorter
than that of his white contemporary and the infant
mortality rate for Negroes is 40 percent higher.
The ad,ult white has had at least three more years of
education - - and has been educated in better schools - than the average adult Negro.
The unemployment rate for nonwhites aged 21
even in this time of near full employment - - is double
that of whites.
Negroes are characteristically more densely housed
in units only 56 percent of which meet health and safety
The income of the average Negro family is about 40 percent
lower than that of the average white family.
The programs we have adopted inthe past few years are only a
beginning. We have made a good start.
But we must remember that it is only a start. We must realize
that civil rights are also civil opportunities. Unless these rights are
recognized as opportunities by Negro and white alike, they can achieve
nothing. We m ust realize that training and education progrru.ns provide
skills and opportunities. But only whe r e there is both the will to seek
the job and the willingness to hire the job applicant, can these programs
achieve their ultimate objectives.
The nex t steps are harder, but they are even more important. We
shall need y ears of t rial and error -- years in which children can b e
strengthened to grow into responsible young adults, years of b etter
training, better jobs, better health, and better housing - - before the
results of what we h a ve done so far can be seen.
Perseverance, the willingness to abandon what does not work,
and the courage to keep searching f o r better solutions - - these are
the virtues the times require.
Civil Rights Legislation
Last year I proposed the enactment of important civil rights
legislation. I proposed that le gi slation because it was right and just.
The civil rights legislation of 1966 was passed by the House of
Representatives, and brought to the floor of the Senate. Most of its
features commanded a strong majority in both Houses. None of its
features was defeated on the rnerits .
Yet it did not become law.
in the Senate.
It could not be brought to a final vote
Some observers felt that the riots which occurred in several cities
last summer prevented the passage of the bill.
Public concern over the riots was great, as it should have been.
Lawlessness cannot be tolerated in a nation whose very existence
depends upon respect for law. It cannot be permitted because it
injures every American and tears at the very fabric of our democracy.
We want public order in America, and we shall have it. But a
decent public order cannot be achieved solely at the end of a stick, nor
by confining one race to self-perpetuating poverty.
Let us create the conditions for a public order based upon equal
The Act I am proposing this y e ar is substantially the same as
last year's bill. Some revisions have been incorporated to take account
of useful suggestions and perfecting a m endments made by the 89th
Congress. I believe these :cevisions offer a basis for common action.
!_recommend the adoption 9..f ~ national policy against discrimination
in housing~ account of race, color, religion or national origin. _!
propose the adoption of progressive steps ~ carry out this policy •
.!_ recommend the clarification and strengthening
existing Federal
criminal laws against interference with Federal rights •
.!_ recommend re quirements for the selection
juries in Fede r al
courts ~ guard against discrimination and insure that juries~
properly representative ~ the community.
I recommend legislation !._o elimin·a te all forms of discrimination
in the selection ~ state court juries.
!_ recommend that t he Civil Righ ts Act o_i 1964 b!: amended__!.9
authorize the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission~ issue
judicially enforceable cease-and-desist orders.
additional five y ~ ,
United States Commission o~ Civil Rights.
!_ recommend the extension, for
.f:1 the
!_recommend~ 2.Q_percent increase in appropriations for the
Community Relations Service.
These measures are not new. I have recomrnended and supported
them in the past. I urge the Congress to act favorably upon them because
justice and human dignity demand these protections for each American
Equal Justice in Housing
For most Americans, the availability of housing depends upon one
factor -- their ability to pay.
For too many, however, there a r e other crucial fact ors - - the
color of thei r skin, their r eligion or their national o r i gin.
When a Negro seeks a decent home for h i mself and his family,
he frequently finds that the doo r is closed. It remain s closed - - though
the Negro may be a serviceman who has fought for freedom.
The result of countless individual acts of disc r imination is the
spawning of urban ghetto e s, where housing is inferior, overcrowded
and too often overpriced.
Statistics tell a part of the story. Throughout the nation, almost
twice as many nonwhites as whites occupy deteriorating or dilapidated
housing. In Watts, 32. 5 percent of all housing is overcrowded,
com.pared with 11. 5 percent for the Nation as a whole.
In Harlem, more than 237, 000 people ll ve in an area consisting
of three and one-half square miles. This is a density of 105 people
per ac r e. Ninety percent of the buildings in Harlem are more than
30 year s old, and almost half we r e built before t he end of the ninete enth
The environment of mos t urban ghettoes is the same: inferior
pub lic facilities and services -- streets , lighting, parks; sanitation
and police p r ote ction ; i n fe rior schools; a nd isolation fr om job opp o rtunities .
In e v ery s phere o f u r b a n life the ghetto - d welle r is sho rtchanged .
A child g r o wing up in such an environment m ust ove r come
tremendous m an - made obstacle s to b e come a usef ul cit i zen . T he
miser y we tolerate toda y multiplies t h e misery of t omo rrow .
Many of our existing and pro po sed programs -- though n o t directed
simply at relieving the pro blems of any particu lar mino r i ty group -will r e lie ve c o nditions found i n t h e ir mo st acute form in the urb an
ghetto. T h ese programs are neces s ary and they must be fully supported.
But money and assistance are not enough. Since the ratification
of the 14th Amendme nt to t h e C onstitu tion, this Nat ion h a s b e.e n
committed to accord every citizen the equal protection o f its laws.
We must strengthen that commitment as it relate s to discrimination
in housing - - a problem that is national in scope.
The legislation I recomme nd woul d u l t i mat e ly apply to a ll
housing in the Un ited Stat es . It would go i nto effec t by pro gre ssive
sta g e s.
The pro po sed l egislation wo uld d i r ect t he Sec r e t a r y of Hou s ing
and Urban Development to carry out education a nd conciliation
mea s ures to seek an end to di s crimination i n hous ing . He w ould call
conferences of leaders in the housing industry, consult with state and
local officia ls, and work with pri v a te organization s .
The prohibition again s t discrimination in the sale or rental of
housing would beE::ome effective progressively over a two -year
Immediately, to housing alxeady covered by the
Presidential order on equal opportunities in housing.
During 1968, to dwellings sold or rented by someone
other than their occupant, and to dwellings for five
or more families. Essentially, thi s stage would cover
large apar t ment houses and real estate developments.
In 19(,9, the Act would apply to all housing.
This Act would be aimed at commercial transactions, not at the
privacy of the home . It would outlaw discriminatory practices in
financing housing and in providing real estate broker s I services. It
would prohibit "block-busting, 11 by which unscrupulous dealers seek
to frighten homeowners into selling quickly, out of fear that the value
of their homes will decline.
In every instance , the legislation woul d require the Secretary of
Housing and Urban D e velopme nt to try to achieve a voluntary solution.
Only if such a settlement could not be reached would the Secretary be
authorized to hold an administrative hearing. If, after an administrative
hearing, a violation of the law were found, the Secretary would be
authorized to issue a judicially enforceable cease-and-desist order .
The Sec r etar y would work with State and municipal fair housing
agencies that already exi st. In appropriate cases he would be
authorized to rely on their enforcement of the State and city laws.
T h e Atto r n e y Gen e ral would be empowered to s u p port these
enforcement efforts , whe n h e h a d r e ason to b e lie ve that a gene ral
pa t tern o r p rac tice o f disc r i m i nation exi st s.
Last year the l egisla tion I proposed to ban di s c r imin ation in
hou s ing stirr ed gre at controversy. Alth ough a major ity o f both
H o uses in t he Cong r ess f a v o red t hat l egis l ation, i t was not e nac ted.
Some of the p r oblems raised by i t s adv ersaries we r e real; mo st
invo lved m y ths and mi sinfo r m a tion. The summe r riot s in o ur citi es
did as much damage to the c hances of p assing that le gisl a t i o n a s the
unfoun ded fears of many Americans and the o ppo s i tio n of spe cial
int e r e st groups.
T h ere s hou l d b e no need fo r laws to r e quire men to deaJ f a i r ly
and decent l y wi th t h eir f e llowma n . There should be n o n eed to enact
a law prohi biting discriminati o n in housing -- j u st as the r e s hould
have been n o n e ed to send registrars to e n fo rce voting right s , t o
issue guidelines t o require d esegr e gation of our school s, to bring
suits in Federal courts to insure equ al access to public accommodations, and to outlaw discrimination in employment.
But the Civil Rights Acts of 1957, 1960, and 1964 and the V oting
Rights Act of 1965 were necessary and they have moved this country
toward our goal of providing a decent life for each of our citizens.
I am proposing fair housing legislation again this year because
it is decent and right. Injustice must be opposed, however difficult
or unpopular the issue.
I believe that fair housing legislation must and will be enacted
by the Congress of the United States. I was proud to be a member of
the Congresses that enacted the Civil Rights Acts of 1957 and 1960
and as President to sign into law the 1964 and 1965 Acts. I believe
the generations to come would look upon the enactment of this
legislation by the 90th Congress as one of its proudest achievements.
I cannot urge too strongly that the Congress act promptly on this
Today the su.bject of fair housing is engulfed in a cloud of
1nisinformation and unarticulated fear . Some believe the value of their
homes must decline if their neighborhoods are integrated. They fear
the conversion of their communities into unsightly slums, if a family
of a different color moves into a house across the street. Neither of
these events need occur. In an atmosphere of reason and justice,
they would not occur. In the scores of cities and states that have such
laws these events have not occurred.
The task of informing the minds and enlightening the consciences
of those who are subject to these fears should begin at once. Churches
can help pe r form this task with a unique compete nc e -- and they should.
So should civic organizations, public officials, human relations
commissions, labor unions and private industries. It must be done.
The sooner it is done, the nearer we will come to that just America it
is our purpose to achieve.
Interference with Right s
Another basic test of equal just ice is whether all men are free
to exercise rights established by the Congress and the Constitution.
A right has little meaning unless it can be freely exercised. This
applies in particular to Neg r o Americans who seek to vote, attend
s chool, and utilize public accommodations on an equal basis.
Negro children have been abused for att ending previously
segregated schools. Shots have been fired into the homes of their
parents. Employers who practiced nondiscrimination have been
harrassed. Most shocking of all are the crimes which result in loss
of life. Some of the victims have been Negroes; others were whites
devoted to the cause of justice.
State a nd local officials are primarily responsible for pr eventing
and punishing acts of violence. In many cases, however , these
officials have not been able to detect or prosecute the perpe tr ato r s
of the crimes. In some, unfortunately, they have not be en willing
to meet their obligations. For these reasons and b ecause violence
has too oft en been' used to deny Federal rights, there is need for
F ede ral legi s lation.
Pr ese nt Federal s t atut es are inadequate in seve r al respects.
Maximum penalties ar e too low for crimes which cause death or
serious injury. Only in s ome instances do the statute s reach misconduct
by private persons not a cting in conc e rt with public officials . Existing
l aws do not spell out clearly the Federal rights which they protect.
To remedy these deficiencies, !._ recommend legislation to:
Specify the activities which~ protected, including voting,
purchas i.1g ~ home, holding a_job, attending ~ school,
obtainin~ service in -2' restau~~ ~ other .2i_ public
Prohibit acts or threats~ violence,~ private individuals
acting alone or public officials , directed against Negroes or
members of other minority groups because they are~ have
been participating in those activities.
Authorize victims of violence
damages or injunctive relief.
~ bring
civil actions for
The penalties prescribed are graduated, depending on the gravity
of the offense. When physical injury results , the maximum penalty is
$10,000 a.nd ten years. When death occurs, the sentence may be
imprisonment for any term of years or for life.
Federal and State Juries
A fair jury is fundamental to our historic traditions of justice.
Fairness is most likely to result when the jury is selected from
a broad cross section of the community. The exclusion of particular
groups or classes from jury duty not only de nies defendants their right to
an impartial jury. It al so denies mernbers of the excluded group the
o pportunity to fulfill an important obligation of citizenship and to participate in the processes of their government.
On many occasions, I have emphasized the importance of respect
for the law. Yet, cr eating respe ct for le gal institutions becomes
virtually impossible when parts of our judicial system o perate unlawfully
o r give the appearance of unfairness.
Current methods of Federal court jury selection have sometimes
resulted in the exclusion of N egr o es and other rninority groups . Often
the cause lay in the method o f selection .
!._ recommend legislation to:
Eliminate di scrimi nati o n in the sel ection_ of juries in Federal
Insure that juries in Federal cour ts ~ uni,formly drawn
from a broad cross section of the community.
To r educe to a minimwn the possibility of arbitrary exclusion
of certain groups, the act will spell out in detail the selection procedures
t9 be followed in all Federal district courts. Names of prospective jurors
would be obtained by random selection from voter lists - - a broadly
representative source in almost a ll parts of the country, now that the
Voting Rights Act of 1965 is being implemented. Under the bill only
objective standards, including basic literacy requirements found in
e xi s ting law, could be used to determine the qualifications of a prospective juror .
Legislation to deal with sele ction of State court juries is also
needed. There has been persistent, intentional discrimination in juror
selection in some localities. A recent case involved jury discrimination
in a county who se population in 1960 was more than 70 percent Negro. Of
the persons listed on the jury roll s between 1953 and 1965, less than two
percent were Negro. No Negro had ever served as a member of a jury
in that county.
Numerous criminal convictions obtained in State courts have
been set aside on the ground that Negroes were excluded from the juries.
Such court decisions may assure justice in a particular case. They
cannot reform the jury selection systems.
The Fourteenth Amendment establishes equality before the law
and charges the Congress with enforcing that requirement. Such flagrant,
persistent abuses as are revealed in many recent jury selection cases
cannot be tolerated by a society which prides itself on the rule of law.
!. recommend
legislation to:
Prohibit discrimination on account of ~ color, religion,
national origin, ~ · ,..£! economic status ~ the selection of
State 2.! local juries.
Authorize the Attorney General~~State ~ local jury
officials who exclude Negroes ~ members of other minority
groups fron_; juries .
P res cribe new r ·e medies
it easier to prove jury
Authorize the courts ~issue~ variety of orders specially
tailored to eliminate the most common methods _E.Y which
~ discrimination is pr~ed.
Equal Jus tic e in Employme nt
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibited discrimination in hiring,
promotion and working conditions, as well as disc rimination in the
membership practices of labor organizations. The Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission was created to carry out the Congressional
The Commission was directed to eliminate discriminatory
employment practices by informal methods of conciliation and persuasion.
By the end of this fiscal year, the Commission will have completed over
two thousand investigations and more than five hundred conciliation
efforts. This is hard work, but when it succeeds, case by case it opens
up new opportunities to:
The minority group employees of an aircraft c ompany, who
no longer are confi ned to dead-end j obs but now have training
opportunities in 40 job classifications .
The employees of a large ship construction firm which
has improved the job rights of over 5,000 Negroes.
Unlike most other Federal regulatory agencies, the Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission was not given enforcement powers.
If efforts to conciliate or persuade are unsuccessful, the Commission
itself is powerless. For the individual discriminated against, there
remains only a time-consuming and expensive lawsuit.
In considering the proper role of the Equal Employment Opportunity
Comrnission, it is important to bear in mind that non-white unemployment
remains disproportionately high:
In 1966, ,t he unemployment rate was 3. 3 percent for white
persons. It was 7. 3 percent for non-whites.
Non-white unemployment in 1965 was twice the rate for whites.
In 1966, the ratio rose to 2. 2 to 1.
Among youth not attending school, the unemployment rate in
1966 was 8. 5 percent for whites and 20. 3 percent for nonwhites.
No single factor explains the differences in the unemployment rates
of non-whites and whites. But part of the disparity is clearly attributable
to discrimination. For that reason, effective remedies against discrimination are essential •
.!_ recommend legislation to give the Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission authority to issue orders, after a fair hearing, to require
the termination o!_ disctimirurtory employmentpractices.
The cease-and-desist orders of the Commission would be enforceable
in the Federal Courts of Appeal and subject t o judicial review there. Thes e
powers are similar to those of other Federal regulatory agencies.
Enforcement power would harmonize the procedures of the Com1nission with the prevailing practice among States and cities that have
had fair employment practices agencies for many years. It would reduce
the burden on individual complainants and on the Federal court s. It w ould
enhance the orderly implementation of this important national policy.
The Commission~ Civil Rights
The United States Commission o n Civil Rights has, since its creation
in 1957, proved to be an exceptionally valuable agency. This bipartisan
fact-finding agency has contributed substantially to our determined effort
to assure the civil rights of all Americans. Its investigations and studies
have contributed to important changes in the laws and policies of the
Federal govermnent. Publications of the Cornin is sion - - in the fiel d s
of voting, housing, employment, school segregation, and equality of
opportunity in government programs - - have been helpful to other
government agencies and to private groups interested in equality of
The Commission has also served as a clearinghouse for information
on civil rights matters. It has provided information on Federal laws,
programs a nd services to assist communities and private organizations
in de aling with civil right s issues and with economic and social problems
affecting race relation s .
Under existing law, t.t1.e term of the Commis s ion expires on
January 31, 1968. But much more remains to be done.
I recommend that the life of the Commission be extended for an
additional five years:- - - - - more
Community ~elations Service
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 recognized the importance of providing bridges of understanding for communities across the land
struggling with problems of equal justice and discriminat ion. Last
year, I recommended, and you inthe Congress appr:>ved, the transfer
of the Community Relations Service to the Department of Justice to make
it a more effective instrument of national policy.
This year, I recommend that the funds for the work of the CmnmunityRelationsService be increased by 9opercent--:-::-?r<m1 $1.-4-million to $2. 7 million. ----

In city after city and county aft er county, the men of the Community
Relat ions Service have wo r ked, quietJ.y and effectively, behind the scenes,
to conciliate disputes before they flared up in the courtrooms or on the
street s.
I deeply believe that , under our democrat ic syst em , t he wo r k of
concili ation can be brought t o bear increasingl y t o remove many of t he
injustices, intentional and unintentional, which derive from prejudice.
I t is in this spirit and with this convic t ion that I request a s u bstanti al
increase in the funds a ppr opriated to the Comm u n i ty Relations Se r vice.
E qual J ustic e
W e ado pted a Con stitution " t o fo rm a m o re p e rfe c t u n i o n, e s tab li sh
justice, insure the domestic tranqu ilit y, " and " pr ovide f o r the c ommon
defense. 11
In o ur wars A merican s , N egr o and white , have fought side by side
to defend freedom. Negro s o ldi ers - - like white soldiers - - have won
every medal for b rave r y our c ountry bestows. The bullets of our
enemies do not discriminate between Negro Marines and white Marines.
They kill and maim whomever they strike.
The American Neg r o has waited long for first-class citizen ship
for his right for e qual justice. But he has long accepted the full
responsibilities of citizenship.
If there wer e any doubt, one need only look to the se rvicemen who
man our defenses. In Vietnam, 10. 2 percent of our soldiers are American
Negroes bearing equal responsibilities in the fight for freedom -- but at
home, 11 percent of our people are American Negroes struggling for
equal opportunities.
The bullets at the battlefront do not discriminate - - but the landlords
at home do. The pack of the Negro soldier is as heavy as the white
soldier• s - - but the burden his family at home bears is far heavier.
In war, the Negro Ame~ican has given this nation his best -- but this
nation has not given him equal justice.
It is time that the Negro be given equal justice. In America, the
rights of citizenship are conferred by birth - - not by death in battle.
It is our duty -- as well as our privilege -- to stand before the
world as a nation dedicated to equal justice. There may be doubts about
some policies or' programs, but there can be no doubt about the rights
of each man to stand on equal ground before his goverrunent and with
his fellow man,
On June 4, 1965, at Howard University, I spoke about the challenge
confronting this Nation - - "to fulfill these rights." What I said then has
- even greater importance and meaning for every American today:
"Freedom is the right t<.) share fully and equally in American
society -- to vote, to hold a job, to enter a public place, to
go to school. It is the right to be treated in every part of our
national life as a person equal in dignity and promise to all
"But freedqm is not enough. You do not wipe away the scars
of centur ies by saying: Now you are free to go where you
want, do as you desire, and choose the leaders you please.
"You do not take a person who, for years, has been hobbled
by chains and liberate him, bring him up to the starting line
of a race and then say, 'You are free to compete with all the
others, 'and still justly believe that you have been completely
"Thus it is not enough just to open the gates of opportunity.
All of our citizens must have the ability to walk through those
"This is the next and more profound stage of the battle for
civil rights. We seek not just freedom but opportunity -not just legal equity but human ability - - not just equality
as a right and a theory, but equality as a fact and as a result.
"For the t ask is to give 20 million Negroes the same cha nce
as eve r y other American to learn and grow, to work and
share in society, to develop their abilities - - physical, mental
and spiritual, and to pursue their individual happiness."

"There is no single easy answer to all of these problems.
"Jobs are part of the answer. They bring the income which
permits a man to provide for his family.
"Decent homes in decent surroundings, and a chance to
learn -- an equal chance to learn -- are part of the answer.
"Welfare and social prograrr.s better designed to hold
families together are part of the answer.
"Care of the sick is part of the answer.
"An understanding heart by all Americans is also a large
part of the answer.
"To all these fronts - - and a dozen more - - I will dedicate
the expanding efforts of the Johnson Administration."
February 15, 1 967.

# # # # #

Social Bookmarking


Transcribe This Item


Document Viewer