Box 19, Folder 3, Document 9

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SHS Nev ey ‘4 ork Sines

Published every day dy = New York Times Congo

ADOLPH S. OCHS, Publisher 1896-1933 ©
ORVIL E. DRYFOOS, Publisher 1961-1963

The Lessons of Chicago

If Senator Everett Dirksen has any doubt about the
urgent need for a Federal fair housing law, he has
only to visit his home state of Illinois. Chicago and
its suburbs have been the scene of marches and coun-
termarches by Negroes and whites on the housing
issue. After Negro demonstrations brought an agree-
ment to promote open occupancy in housing, white
landlords picketed in protest. With another march
scheduled for Cicero today, fresh explosions of com-
munity bitterness on both sides are feared.

What is happening in and around Chic: ~s could
occur in any metropolitan area in the country. In
Dayton, Ohio, there has been rioting which only the
National Guard could quell and which arose from the
endemic unrest in that city’s Negro ghetto. Tightly
segregated neighborhoods are not guarantors of
peace; on the contrary, they breed conflict. The fact
is that racial discrimination in housing is as funda-
mental an injustice as Jim Crow public facilities or
barriers to voting. The nation has long evaded this
hard problem; many people would prefer to keep on
evading it, but events make it plain that evasion is
no longer possible. Nor should it be,

The question before Senator Dirksen and his Re-
publican colleagues—who will determine the fate of
the cpen-housing section of the civil rights bill which
the Senate begins considering Tuesday—is not whether
to take up the housing issue at this time. The demon-
strations in the streets have already placed it on the
nation’s agenda. The real question is whether it is
going to be settled lawfully and responsibly in the
halls of Congress or irregularly and perhaps violently
in the streets by rival displays of pressure and intimi-




Chairman of the Board

President and Publisher

HARDING F. BANCROFT, E'xccutive Vice President
ANDREW FISHER, Vice President
MONROE GREEN, Vice President
IVAN VEIT, Vice President
FRANCIS A. COX, Secretary-Treasurer
; e
TURNER CATLEDGE, Hwecutive Editor
JOHN B. OAKES, Editorial Page Editor
LESTER MARKEL, Associate Editor
JAMES RESTON, Associate Editor

"A comprehensive staiute placing the legal authority
and moral sanction of the Federal Government behind
the principle of open occupancy is essential. As mat-
ters now stand, many landlords and real estate agents
in Chicago and elsewhere are still asserting the
“right’—morally indefensible though it is—to dis-
against Negroes in the sale or rental of

In this respect, the housing question is back on the
level where the schoc. cesezregation issue was a dec-
ade ago when Southern stctes were still proclaiming
the illusory doctrine of “massive resistance.” But in
housing as in education, the question to be asked is
not if or when but only how is desegregation to be

Senator Dirksen, refusing to be drawn into the
practical implications of his negative stand, has re-
peatedly asserted constitutional scruples. Yeti, he
raised no constitutional objections when the Sene..
recently approved a bill to enable the Federal Na-
tional Mortgage Association, a mixed Government-
private corporation, to buy more than $4 billion worth
of housing mortgages. Many of these mortgages are
on houses in the very suburbs which Negroes are
trying to enter.

The willingness of Chicago real estate brokers to
break their industry’s solid front against open occu-
pancy was crucial in making possible the agree-
ment in Chicago. Other such shifts are sure to come.
But Senator Dirksen and his fellow lawmakers
have it within their power to give this inevitable
development their constructive support and thus make
it easier and more orderly, That is the path of sound

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