Box 17, Folder 15, Document 14

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Box 17, Folder 15, Document 14

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Easton, Maryland
Setta, Chairman
Mr. Chairman:
Members of the Committee:
I am Samuel J. Setta, a motel owner and operator on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and a
prime mover in the drive to place the Maryland Accomodations Law on the ballot in ' 64. I come
before you an adamant opponent of forced integration of businesses and I am sure I speak the sentiments of a majority of the people in America when I express myself.
First: I question the wording of the title to S. B. 1732: "A Bill to eliminate discrimination in
Public Accomodations affecting Interstate Commerce. " The word public as used in this title conveys
the idea that the objects of this legislation are owned and controlled by the public in the same manner
as public lands, public works, public funds , etc. The title should read: A bill to eliminate discrimination in privately owned accommodations catering to the public," or more appropriately: "A bill
to eliminat e privat e ent erprise. "
You are listening to a voice from the grass roots. Our voices haven't been too loud but don't
be deceived by noise being made by the neg:i;:os and do-gooders who are trying to force you to act on
this legislation. The ominous silence from the congregations who disapprove of their clergymen,
union members who don 't agree with their leaders, and citizens everywhere who have seen near
anarchy develop in this country will have the expression necessary to meet the occasion when the
voting begins in 1964.
I have oppos ed this Public Accommodations Law at every level of government for the last three
years because it is aimed a t businesse s which are strictly privately enterprise. . The fact that I
can open and clos e my doors at my pleasure certainly makes it private. Many businessmen, myself
included, earn a living and also make their homes with their businesses and their social life should
not be regimented any more than the private citizen who does not have a business.
Not one member of this committee or the senate would venture into a negro neighborhood alone
and neither would you permit your wive s to go alone; yet the legislation this committee is considering
would force business men and their wives to take these people into their businesses and homes.
We are not guilt y of anything more than catering to the wants of our customers. Everyone, except
the proponents of this law, knows that in any business the customer is the boss. If you gent lemen
shop anywhere you call the tune not the proprietor.
In my motel if my c ustomer s want T. V. , I provide T . V. If my customers want room phones
I provide room phone s. And if the y prefer a segregated motel I provide a segregated mot el.
Now if it were feasible to write thi s law to read that customers must s top discriminating and
continue to patronize business e s you might solve the economic aspects of this dilemmabut that would
be impos s ible. So, to get a t the buying public who are the discriminators and beyond the administration
is trying to get laws and penaltie s fastened on to the bu s inessman to force custome rs to integrate.
The proponents say that integration involves no loss of business . I never ceas e to be amazed
at how many brillant business analysts are among the proponents , none of whom have ever owned or
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operated a restaurant or motel. It's equally amazing how great their enthusiasm is for a law that
doesn't touch them in the slightest degree.
Also; it's very easy for a family which is high in government to build homes on mountaintops
and exclusive areas , and enroll children in exclusive segregated schools to tell the peasants of the
country that they should integrat e every phase of their lives.
The attempt to· "keep up with the Joneses," to gain social rights at the expense of the civil
rights of private enterprise, if successful is certain to undermine one of the pillars upon which this
great country was built. The one big difference between communism and capitalism is private enterprise . The administration itself is admitting that this law will infringe on our civil rights when
they seek this law under the commerce clauses of the federal constitution, rather than the equal
rights fourteenth amendment.
The theory evolved by the Department of Justice is that because a business con_cern deals with
the public, it may be subject to complete regulation or possible extermination by the Federal Government . This alleged authority is derived from the claus e of the Constitution which gives Congres.s
the power to regulate interstate commerce, and Mr . Robert Kennedy cited various laws passed by
Congress in this field. Not a single one of these statutes, however, covers the selection of customers
of a business. They deal with employees , or the practices of the employer in his relations with his
own worker s, or the practices of business owners in relation to other businesses or in shipping goods
t o another state or other countries. Never in the history of the United States has the commerce clause
of the Cons titut ion been invoked to regulate the customer relationship of a business owner and indivi'
dual citizens .
No court has ever held that sleeping in a privately owned motel is a civil right. No court has
ever held that . munching a sandwich in a privately owned restaurant is a civil right. England rejecte d thi s ve ry law by a two to one vot e in 1962 and it was labeled unde mocratic and unworkable
by leading c le rgymen arrl civic leaders .
The dictator c ountries , oppressive as they are, don't even have this law on the books . What
v a lue i s ther e t o a business or a high position or profession without the rights to operate freely as
we have s ince this count r y was founded.
We a ll know of countri e s where people have all of these occupations in good m easure but they
don't have rights. The result is they burrow under the Berlin Wall. They swim canals. They crash
bar be d wire fences , they risk ' their lives daily to escape. This is a king s ize step in that direction.
Depr ive us of a r i ght now a nd next year anothe r and another and before you know it we will be in th e
s ame positi on .
This law i s definit e ly c la s s l egi s lati on . Under this law we may tur n a white m an away because
he is uncouth or unde s irable and he must leave , but if a negro is turned away for the same r easons
we may face charges of discrim ination. When you write the word co1or int o t his law, th e white cu stomer i s not equal before the law. When you force hotel s a nd m ot el s t o elim inate discriminat i on and
exc lude tou ris t homes and rooming hou ses who are in the same bus ines s of rent ing rooms , we a re not
e qual befor e the la w. Whe n you for ce res taurants to e liminate di s crimination and exclude s egregated
church suppers , dinners, a nd boar ding houses, which a re cate r ing to the s ame public a nd indeed are
strong competi tor s we a re not e qual be fore t he law.
The Att orney Gene r a l s t resses the immor a lity of discrimination but i gnores the fa ct that it i s
just as immoral to enact laws which will legi s late a man into bankruptcy or int o a bus iness r elationship which will make his life a daily ordeal. It s houl d be :0bvi ous by <now tha t there are many people
who don 't want the negro s ocia lly. I have seen s t r ong men break up un der the strain of the dem on -
�- ·3 strations and harrassment sanctioned and abetted by this administration. Women in business have
become terrified at the prospect of facing unruly mobs with the knowledge that they are being encouraged by this administration. The responsibility for the violence in demonstrations by negros
can be laid squarely at the door of the White House. I have a very good cross section of citizens
from the North , South, East and West patironizing my motel and this issue is discussed daily so
that I may keep abreast of my customers' thinking and I say to you that this administration will pay
the price in the 64' election for its handling of this situation. This nation cannot afford the luxury
of a president who serves 10% of the people at the expense of the other 90%.
All businessmen have a different financial situation.
In my particular case my two immediate competitors are millionaires. My resources consist
of a $23, 000 mortgage and a going concern. Certainly they can approach this problem with a greater
degree of aplomb then I can.
I meet a mortgage payment every month, plus numerous other bills. What do you think the reaction of my banker would be if I came to him and said, "Mr. Banker, a couple of months ago Congress
passed a law which took the control of business policy out of my hands because the administration said
it was immoral and business has declined so that now instead of $245 for this months payment, I have
to give you 245 morals?" I'll tell you what his reaction would be. I would be slapped with a big fat
foreclosure. Is this economic growth?
I r efus e to gamble the welfare of my family and our pursuit of happiness on the busin ess: judge'
ment of an administration which is loaded with
theorists who have never operated a successful business
or met a payroll and have never balanced a budget.
The Attorney General has testified that at present white prostitutes, dope addicts , and moral
de gene rates could come into our mote ls a nd hotels but negro citizens in high pos itions could not. I
don't know what kind of places the Attorne y Gene ral fre quents, and I'm sure he ge ts his informat ion
firsthand because he hates hearsay, but this statement is an insult to every motel and hotel owner in
the country. Now then let's look at this law again. This law would reverse this contention and would
not only enable black pros titute s, dope addicts , and moral degenerates to come into our places but
als o a pe ople with a poor hygiene , high incidence of venereal disease and vandalis m, plus the e lem ent of forc e t o m ake u s accept the m bec a use he r e a ga in I ca n r e jec t the white pe rson but not the
black per son. Is this the Att or ney General' s idea of a n impr ovem ent? I hope I don't: hav e t o fa ce
many more like that one.
Gmtlem en, there' s a labor a ngle to this situation. Whe n a labor contract is negotia ted the r e i s
one claus e that is non - negotia ble: The r ight to s trike. When we a r e pa i d rental for a room, part of
that mone y is ove r he a d and part of it is wages . Since the custome r i s the boss, this law would' for ce
us to wor k without th e r ight t o s t r ike . The s e very la bor lea ders who a dvocate this law would v iolently r ebel if any att empt was made to eliminate their right to strike.
The administ ration says the negro is r e ject e d bec aus e of his c olor . This is wrong and com pl etely untrue. We don' t ca re if he is blue or pink or r e d. T he negro is r e jecte d beca use he i s a n ec on omic lia bility to our bus inesses. I hav e re je cte d ne groes who we r e pr a ctica lly white. I wo uld be
less than h onest or helpful if I didn't include the reasons why the negro is a lia bility , s ince the propenents won 't
The two races a re a bs olutely pr oven to be incompatible. The two races can coexist harmonious ly
but there will never be t r ue int e gration. No other minor ity in thi s country has a feeling of inferiority
bec ause the y live among th e ir own people. Why sh ould these p eople ? No one is t r ying to sprinkle
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the Chirtese, Indians, or Japanese among the whites so why this massive effort to integrate the negroes?
If the ·administration and the negro leaders and other proponents would take the time they are
spending on demonstrations and pressure tactics and point out to the negro people that law or no law,
acceptance will never come until they stop a disproportionate contribution to the high crime rate,
illegitimacy, production of slums, and making careers of unemployment compensation and welfare
The negro people will gain acceptance when they meet certain standards of morality and living
conditions. No law can accomplish this. This is the one objective the negro will have to work for and
earn himself. There is nothing wrong with individuals having to meet standards. It is done every day.
Churches demand standards, schools demand standards, you gentlemen in the Senate require standards
and whether we like it or not, all people have standards for their social equals to meet.
The thirty states that have had these laws are just as segregated as the twenty that don't. I predict now that attention has been focused on these laws there will be a rash of suits testing their constitutionality. When the Attorney General said Senator Lausche enforced such a law as Governor of Ohio,
he should have realized Senator Lausche was just tolerating it like the Kennedys tolerate the TaftHartley Act. These laws do not accomplish the goal of integration. Proof of this is the agitation and
demonstrations all over the country and the existence of harlems in every major city in the country.
These laws c ould subject the negroes to more humiliation than any voluntary agreement would.
All of us have had poorly prepared meals in restaurants when the owner was trying. What do you
think the result would be if he wasn't trying'.?
The people who favor this law are largely executive boards of church groups but not the congregations, executive committees of labor unions but not the rank and file, business executives but not
the employees. In short, gentlemen, a great number of generals but no soliders.
Today we are witnessing one of the strangest par~doxes of all time: churchmen with segregated
churches, labor leaders with segregated labor unions, news media with segregated work forces , and
politicians and civic leaders who lead completely segregated lives trying to force a segment of private
enterprise to integrate.
Christianity has not been able to integrate in.two thousand years and judaism for longer than that
and yet these very religious leaders expect Americans to do it in less thanJ:wo.hundred, and if we don't
shove it down our throats and gag us in the process, and all this on the false accusation that we are
discriminators .
You are bucking a law which was never enacte d by any legislature when you pass a law like this,
the law of nature. God himself was the greatest segregationist of all time as is evident when he placed
the caucasians in Europe , the black people in Africa, the yellow people in the Orient and so forth , and
if God didn 't see fit to mix people who are we to try it?
Christ himself ne ver lived an integrated life, and although he knew his life on earth would be a
model for a ll m anki'nd,. when he chose his close associates, they were a ll white. This doesn't mean
that he didn't love all hi s creatures but it does indicate that he didn't think we had to have a ll this
togetherness in order to go to heaven.
Gentlemen, we should give a lot of serious thought to these final remarks of mine and not try to
out do God in the make up of the wor ld.
Thar.J<. you.

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