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 confident 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.
300,000 white citizens and slightly more than 200,000 Negro citizens.

The 500,000 people who live within our city limits consist of

That makes the population of

Atlanta 60 per cent white, 40 per cent Negro, That 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
in which to live.

to make Atlanta a better place

As the mayor of the South-
east’s largest city, I can say
to you out of first-hand experi-
ence and first-hand knowledge
that nowhere does the problem
of eliminating discrimination
between the races strike so
closely home as it does to the
public official. He is the os

ho.cannot pass ck.
From thi viewpoint, I speak

of the problem as having been
brought into sharp focus by de-
cisions of the Supreme Court of
(This is a portion of the
text of the statement made to
the Senate Commerce Com-
mittee last Friday by Mayor
Ivan Allen Jr. of Atlanta.)

the United States and then gen-
erally ignored by the presidents
and congresses of the United
States. Like a foundling baby,
this awesome problem has been
left on the doorsteps of local
governments throughout the na-

It is true that Atlanta has
achieved success in eliminating
discrimination in areas where
some other cities have failed,
but we do not boast of our suc-
cess. Instead of boasting, we
say with the humility of those
who believe in reality that we
have achieved our measure of
success only because we looked
facts in the face and accepted
the Supreme Court’s decisions
as inevitable and as the lax, 6
our Jand. Having
realism in general, we then st

taken in some
pliance with
in other instances Whe Steps have
been voluntary prior to any
eourt action. In each instance
the action has resulted in white
citizens relinquishing special
privileges which they had en-
joyed under the practices of
racial discrimination. Each ac-
tion also has resulted in the Ne-

ven oifigen heing han. rinhte

M ayor Allen ‘

that responsibility of

press) is inseparyt
dom of the press.
We are forignate Yat we have
one of the i
torial 5
newsp ers

us any reporters
aificance rather


So it is to the constructive
means by which these rights
can be obtained that our Negro
leaders. constantly address
themselves. They are interest-
ed in results instead of rhetoric.
They reach for lasting goals in-
-sto;,.1 af grabbing for Tomen-

Constitution of the United States.
Under this Constitution we have
always been able to do what is
best for all of the people of this
country. I beg of you not to let
this issue of discrimination
drown in legalistic waters. I am
firmly convinced that the Su-
preme Court jhsists that the
same fundam ights must

ye that proves
Z of discrimina-

as we

fems; but we have met
4 number of areas. This
e/done locally, voluntarily,
private business itself!

pindreds of communities and
ities, certainly throughout the
nation that have not ever ad-
dressed themselves to the issue.
Whereas, others have flagrantly
ignored the demand, and today,
stand in all defiance to any

The Congress of the United
States is now confronted with a
grave decision. Shall you pass a
public accommodation bill that
forces this issue? Or, shall you
create another round of disputes
over segregation by refusing to
pass such legislation?

Might Slip
Surely, the Congress realizes

" that after having failed to take

any definite action on this sub-
ject in the last ten years, to fail
to pass the bill would amount to
an endorsement of private busi-
ness setting up an entirely new.
status of discrimination through-
out the nation. Cities like Atlanta
might slip backwards. Hotels and
restaurants that have already
taken this issue upon themselves
and opened their doors might
find it convenient to go back to
the old status; Failure by Con-
gress to take definite action at
this time is by inference an en-
dorsement of the right of pri-
vata business to practice Ta-
cial discrimination and, in my
opinion, would start the same
old round of squabbles and dem-
onstrations that we have had ©

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