Box 19, Folder 17, Document 77

http://allenarchive.iac.gatech.edu/originals/ahc_CAR_015_019_017_077.pdf

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Box 19, Folder 17, Document 77

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hire her, but I wanted her to know that we had several
Negro girls on the staff and she would have to work
closely with them, eat in the same employees' lunch
room, and treat them courteously. Her reply was, "We
don't do it that way where I come from, but if you
say that is the way it has to be, I'll give it a try." It
wasn't a month before I saw her and a Negro girl returning from a coffee break, arm in arm.
Unfortunately, there are still businesses in my
community, and in yours, that practice discrimination
in hiring, mainly because they are afraid to make the
break. I understand this, because I was afraid, too.
However, the time is so late on the clock of
human relations that we need to encourage these businessmen to make a start toward integrating their staffs.
Our best hope for the future, in my opinion,
is in the schools. If we could get really integrated
schools much of the prejudice that still exists would,
in a generation, disappear.
My children go to a school that is 90 per cent
Negro. Because it is a good, well-run school, they are
happy even in this minority situation. But it would
be so much better for all concerned in this school if
the percentage of white children could get to be 25
per cent of the school population. We are working hard
to achieve that goal.
In addition to three children born to us, my
wife and I have an adopted American Japanese daughter named Jill . One day, when she was seven years old,
Jill came home from school and said ; "Daddy, I wish
I could be Negro at school and white at home." She
hasn't been able to achieve that, but last month her
5th grade classmates did elect her for an "Outstanding
Student Award," so apparently she has solved her
problems in other ways. I seriously doubt if we do our
children any favors by making their lives too easy,
considering the world which they will be inheriting.
from us.
In closing, I want to express my appreciation,
and I'm sure, that of the other awardees, not just for
the award, but also for the continuing work of the
N ational Conference of Christians and Jews in furthering true brotherhood. I want to urge that we all
keep everlastingly at the job of making the practice of
brotherhood a reality in our homes, in our schools,
in our businesses, and in our communities.
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�by WALKER SANDBACH
It seems a little strange to me to be accepting
an award for doing what comes naturally. In my case.and I imagine many of the awardees here today could
say the same, the award probably belongs to my parents and to my teachers. There are others who practice
brotherhood when they, because of their background
and up-bringing, don't believe in it and don't like it.
I have friends in that position, and I have great admiration for them. They do it out of a sense of fairness
and, sometimes, economic necessity. They have practiced brotherhood while deep within they have wished
desperately that the tremendous changes in our social
and economic life had never occurred.
It is interesting to contemplate on how we
arrive at the beliefs and principles which. guide our
lives. A short time ago my father, who is a Methodist
minister in Iowa, was visiting me. 1 was telling him,
with some pride, of this award. He replied, "I'm not
surprised that you are getting an award for practising
brotherhood, because that is what we taught you.
What I don't understand is why you accepted our
teachings on brotherhood but completely ignored our
training and example in politics."
Fortunately, brotherhood knows no party lines.
If vou were to poll this group of awardees I am sure
you would find both major parties well represented.
I personally am very much encouraged by the
progress that has been made in Chicago . toward . t?e
ideal of having jobs available on the basis of ab1hty
without regard to race, or color, or creed. Of course,
we still have a long way to go.
When I hired my first Negro sales girl in 1947
I was told by some of my business friends that _I w~s
committing econom::: suicide. The first day this glfl
went on duty, I began to wonder if they were right.
I manage a Co-op supermarket. This girl was hi~ed
as a checker. At one time during that first mornmg
two other girls who were also on duty were doing
stock work on the floor, leaving the Negro girl as the
only checker. A customer refused to be checked out
by her and called for the manager. When I arrived
she said, "I'm going to sit-down until you bri~g on a
white girl. I'm not going to have a colored glfl handling my food." I don't need to tell you how ridiculous
was her stand.
Her calling this girl colored reminds me of a
recent suggestion by Harry Golden, editor of the
Carolina Israelite. He says, "Since so many people
insist on referring to Negroes as colored, we should
start referring to whites as colorless." Then newspapers
could run stories of today's event as follows: "The
James M. Yard Brotherhood A ward ceremonies, held
today at City Hall, was attended by a large group of
colored and colorless people."
To return to the woman who was on a sit-down
strike, I told her she was welcome to sit. I even got a
box for her to sit on. She had to wait an hour until
the other girls were needed at the checkouts.
You know, that was the only trouble we ever
h ad. And yet, how close I came at that point to backing down on my decision to have an integrated staff
because I had half accepted the propaganda that disaster would strike if we tried to serve the public with
an integrated staff. I was told by some that I would
lose most of my employees and half of my customers.
Actually, we lost no employees and our business has prospered. It has prospered, as it turned out,
in part just because we have had a policy of being
willing to hire people of many different races, creeds
and nationality backgrounds. We now include in our
staff of 50: American Negroes; American Japanese;
an American Puerto Rican; and an American Indian.
In the matter of creeds we have had Buddhists, Jews,
Catholics, and Prostestants, as well as some young men
who thought they were agnostics or atheists. One of
our advertising slogans has been that the Co-op is
a United Nations in miniature.
Recently a newspaper reporter asked me if our
open hiring policy wo uld work in places other than
H yde Park, which is a community of people of many
races and creeds. My answer was that we had copied
from Gimbel's in New York the idea of using the
United N ations approach in advertising our integrated
staff. It has worked . In addition, I was able to say that
today our open hiring policy is not an uncommon one
in Chicago and more and more retail businesses, particularly in the field of food distribution, h ave open
hiring policies.
Another interesting incident comes to mind
that I want to tell you about. Several years after we
hired our first Negro, I had an application for a
checker's job from a colorless girl with a strong southern accent. She h ad just arrived in Chicago and was
an experienced checker. I told her I would like to
hire her, but I wanted her to know that we had several
Negro girls on the staff and she would have to work
closely with them, eat in the same employees' lunch
room, and treat them courteously. Her reply was, "We
don't do it that way where I come from , but if you
say that is the way it has to be, I'll give it a try." It
wasn't a month before I saw her and a Negro girl returning from a coffee break, arm in arm.
Unfortunately, there are still businesses in my
community, and in yours, that practice discrimination
in hiring, mainly because they are afraid to m ake the
break. I understand this, because I was afraid, too.
However, the time is so late on the clock of
human relations that we need to encourage these businessmen to make a start toward integrating their staffs:
Our best hope for the future, in my opinion,
is in the schools. If we could get really integrated
schools much of the prejudice that still exists would,
in a generation, disappear.
My children go to a school that is 90 per cent
Negro. Because it is a good, well-run school, they are
happy even in this minority situation. But it would
be so much better for all concerned in this school if
the percentage of white children could get to be 25
per cent of the school population. We are working hard
to achieve that goal.
In addition to three children born to us, my
wife and I have a n adopted American Japanese daughter named Jill. One day, when she was seven years old,
Jill came home from school and said; "D addy, I wish
I could be Negro at school and white at home." She
hasn't been able to achieve that, but last month her
5th grade classmates did elect her for an "Outstanding
Student Award," so apparently she has solved her
problems in other ways. I seriously doubt if we do our
children any favors by making their lives too easy,
considering the world which they will be inheriting
from us.
In closing, I want to express m y appreciation,
and I'm sure, that of the other awardees, not just for
the award, but also for the continuing work of the
N ational Conference of Christians and Jews in furthering true brotherhood. I want to urge that we all
keep everlastingly at the job of making the practice of
brotherhood a reality in our homes, in our schools,
in our businesses, and in our communities.
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