Box 20, Folder 1, Document 3

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Box 20, Folder 1, Document 3

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Need Accommodations Law
To Hold Gains, Mayor Says
As perceptive men of wide experience I feel .t:onfident that you will agree with me that this is
as serious a basic problem in the North, East and West as it is in the South. It must be defined
as an all-American problem, which requires an all-American solution based on local thought,
local action and local cooperation. The 500,000 people who live within our city limits consist of
300,000 white cibizens and slightly more than 200,000 Negro citizens. 'l:hat makes the population of
Atlanta 60 per cent white, 40 per cent Negro. Th at 60-40 percentage emphasizes how essential it is
for the people of Atlanta, on· their local level , to solve the problem of racial discrimination in order
to make Atlanta a better place in which to live.
Constitution of the United States.
As the mayor of the· SouthUnder this Constitution we have
east's largest city, I can say
always been able to do what is
to you out of first-hand experibest for all of the people 9£ this
ence and first-hand ~nowledge
country. I beg of you not 'to let
that nowhere does the problem
this i s s u e of discrimination
of eliminating discrimination
drown in legalistic Wqters. I am
between the races strike so ·
firmly convinced that the Suclosely home as it does to the
preme Court~sists that the
public official. He is the mffeJ.
same fundam tal ri hts must
Y-'..~ A
-';ailjlO,!_Plc5S ~ k. '/"
be held by ev ry '.(\merican
m ~ ~ viewpoint, I speak
of the problem as having been
Atlanta 'e,a a that proves
brought into sharp focus by dethat th ro e of discriminacisions of the Supreme Court of
tion CWJ . s ed to some extent \"':'
I use this "some
(This is a portion of the
exte4 1 a iQ.usly, . .. as we
t ext of the statement macle t o
ce 1
'Ve not solved all of
the Senate Commerce Com t~ o

but we have met

mittee l ast 'Fri day by Mayor
number of areas. This
done locally, voluntarily,
Ivan Allen Jr. of Atlanta.)
private business itself!
the other hand, there are
tihe United States and then gendreds of communities and
erally ignored by the presidents
ities, certainly throughout the
and congresses of the United
nation that have not ever adStates. Like a foundling baby,
dressed themselves to the issue.
this awesome problem has been
Whereas, others have flagrantly
left on the doorsteps of local
the demand, an{! today,
governments throughout the nastand in all defiance to any
It is true that Atlanta has
The Congress of the United
achieved success in eliminating
States is now confronted with a
discrimination in areas where
grave decision. Shall you pass a
some other cities have failed,
public accommodation bill that
but we do not boast of our sucforces this issu.e? Or, shall you
cess. Instead of boasting, we
create another round of disputes
say with the humility of those
over segregation by refusing to
who believe in reality that we
pass such legislation?
have achieved our measure of
success only because we looked
Might Slip
facts in the face and accepted
Surely, the Congress realizes
the Supreme Court's decisio
I see it, our
that after having failed to take
as inevitable and as the 1
p in Atl.anta ...,·Q"""'<mll
any definite action on tihis subour land.
Having e•mhf'}r.J~
nd cons
am sure
ject in the last ten years, to fail
realism in general, we then t
that our Ne
ership is as to pass the bill would amount to
out to solve specific problem
.,,..~illg addibional an endorsement of private busiby local coopera~tion tw
civic and
mic and person- ness setting up an entirely new
people of good will
al rJghfjl
is any American status of discrimination throughsense representing
r s.
by constructive I out the nation. Cities like Atlanta
efine Atlanta's Negro might slip backwards. Hotels and
p as being realistic- restaurants that have already
Atlanta's e s
ognizing that it is more taken this issue upon themselves
taken in som
rtant to obtain the rights and opened their doors might
pliance with o
ecisions, and
y seek than it is to stir up find it convenient to go back to
in other instan
the steps have
the old status Failw·e by Conemonstrations.
been voluntary prior to any
gress to take definite action at
court action. In each instance
this time is by inference an enmeans
the action has resulted in white
dorsement of the right of pricitizens relinquishing special can be obtained that our Negro vate business to practice raprivileges which they had en- leaders constantly a d d r e s s cial discrimination and, in my
joyed under the practices of themselves. They are interest- opinion, would start the same
racial discrimination. Each ac- ed in results instead of rhetoric. old round of squabbles and demtion also has resulted in the Ne- They reach for lasting goals in- onstrations that we have ha
. - ~ of m:abb'
for mome ·.,. ~


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