Box 19, Folder 13, Document 17

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. Editorials

Saturday, October 1, 1966


“First the blade, then th

Keeping sight of the goal

Ina lull during the Negro outburst in
Atlanta earlier this month, Mayor Ivan
Allen allowed himself to think aloud in

the company of a television reporter as
they walked through a troubled area on
a morning after. What Mr. Allen said was
to the effect that there were often excesses
at a time of tumultuous change, but that
this should not deflect society from its
goal. This was the observation of a level-
headed and far-seeing man. And it was all
the more remarkable because the Mayor
had borne the brunt of considerable abuse
from the more activist Negroes involved
in Atlanta’s troubles.

Mr. Allen forecast, nevertheless, the ef-
fect that this Negro outburst was likely
to have on Georgia politics. This effect
has now manifested itself in the outcome
of Wednesday’s Democratic primary elec-
tion. Segregationist Lester Maddox tri-
umphed over moderate Ellis Arnall, who
was seeking to get back to the governor’s
chair that he had once occupied for a term.
This leaves the contest in November to
two men whose views on race are not very
far apart: Howard Callaway, the Republi-
ean gubernatorial candidate, comes from
the same part of the spectrum as Mr, Mad-
dox. In other words, the white backlash
seems to have swept out of the running
any moderate candidate for the Georgia

There is little doubt that the turn that
the Negro revolution has taken this sum-
mer is having an effect on American pub-
lic opinion as a whole. Figures quoted by
pollster Louis Harris in a CBS television
documentary this week showed strikingly
how white attitudes toward Negroes have
changed since the summer began. The

trend already was apparent by June. By
then, public opinion was split about evenly
into “pro” and “anti’—a fall off from the
euphoric days of not so long ago when
sympathizers with the Negro revolution
outnumbered resisters two to one. Ac-
cording to Mr. Harris, the end of the sum-
mer sees this proportion roughly reversed.
Resisters to the current trend or pace of
the revolution now outnumber sympa-
thizers two to one.

From Atlanta, attention now shifts to
San Francisco. There—after Mr. Maddox’s
success in the Georgia primary—the im-
mediate question is whether this week's
outbursts in the Negro sections of San
Francisco will swing back to Republican
Ronald Reagan those votes which he was
apparently beginning to lose to Democrat
“Pat” Brown in the campaign for the gov-
ernorship of California. Mr. Reagan is
cut in a different mold from that of the
victor in Wednesday's primary in Georgia;
but there is general agreement that in
their respective states both he and Mr.
Maddox have directly or indirectly sought
the white backlash vote.

For our part, we are inclined to go
along with Atlanta’s Mayor Allen. Neither
the outcome of the Georgia primary nor
the regrettable and intermittent outbursts
in the Negro ghettos of big cities is likely
to deter American society as a whole from
the goal which it has set itself — equal
rights, equal opportunities, equal responsi-
bilities for all. The goal has within itself
its own dynamism, Human failings and
human excesses may cause the caravan
to falter or impose detours. But it has not
turned back or disintegrated in its nearly
two-hundred-year journey—and is hardly
likely to do so now.

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