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The Papers of Clarence Mitchell Jr.
and of the NAACP Washington Bureau 1942 - 1978

 

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Synopses

Lion in the Lobby
Volumes I&II
Volume III
Volume IV
Volume V


Tables of Contents

Volumes I&II
Volume III
Volume IV
Volume V
 

Documents

Sample Documents I
Sample Documents II
Sample Documents III
Sample Docs III Cont..

Sample Documents IV

Sample Documents V

 
Background

Mitchell A Profile
Project Scope
Mitchell's Reports


 


Prof. Denton L. Watson

About Prof. Watson
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February 8, 1955

LEGISLATION

“It was undeniable that I was arrested twice, spent two days in jail, was inconvenienced, and was recommended for separation (from the Air Force) merely because I wished to remain in a seat on a bus that I had paid for, a seat that the very Constitution of the United States guarantees me. It is evident, I hope, that one Federal law could have prevented the aforementioned occurrences and a thousand kindred ones. I hope they will be prevented in the future.”

The foregoing words were spoken in 1954 before the House Interstate and Foreign Commerce Committee during hearings on legislation to end segregation in interstate travel.[1] The speaker was Lieutenant Thomas Williams a 28 year old former officer of the U.S. Air Force. He had enlisted at the age of 18, but was dropped from the Service following his arrest in Florida because he refused to accept segregation on an interstate bus.

Lt. Williams was such a clean cut, fine young man that even southern members of the committee grudgingly commended him.

This year, Senators Magnuson, Case of New Jersey, Ives, Butler, Humphrey, Lehman, and others have introduced bills to eliminate segregation in interstate travel. Similar bills have been introduced by Congressmen Heselton, Powell, Scott, Dawson and other members of the House. Senator Magnuson has promised that he will hold hearings on the Senate bills in February or March. Congressman Heselton is working for early consideration and prompt report on his bill and others.

The Anti-Jim Crow Travel Bills are S. 657, (Ives-Butler), S. 908 (Magnuson, Lehman, Douglas, Humphrey, Jackson, McNamara, Morse, Murray, Neely, Neuberger, and Pastore); H. R. 434 (Heselton), H.R. 691 (Powell), H.R. 2877 (Scott), H.R. 3252 (Heselton), and H.R. 3301 (Dollinger).

This proposed legislation is not placed at the beginning of this report because it is more important than any other bill. It is mentioned first out of respect for Lt. Williams. He called the Bureau a few weeks ago to indicate his willingness to testify if hearings were held. He was killed in the crash of a jet aircraft during the month of January while serving with the New Jersey National Guard.

FEPC Bills

Fair Employment Practice proposals (S. 899 in the Senate and H.R. 690 and others in the House) have been introduced and referred to the Labor Committees in the Senate and House.

In the Senate, the sole uncompromising opponent on the committee is chairman Lister Hill of Alabama. In the House, there are many anti-FEPC committee members and the chairman is Graham Barden (D.,N.C.). Neither Senator Hill nor Congressman Barden will voluntarily agree to hearings on FEPC Bills.

It is hoped that Senator Lehman, who is a member of the Labor Committee, will be made chairman of a subcommittee to hold hearings. This could be accomplished if his fellow committee members voted to override the chairman’s obstruction. In the House, Congressman Powell has said that he will seek appointment as chairman of a sub-committee to hold hearings on a bill, but, if he is defeated in this, will work actively for a discharge petition which requires 218 signatures.

Omnibus Bill

We wish to call attention to the Omnibus Civil Rights Bills (S. 907, H.R. 389, and H.R. 627) which have been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee, headed by Senator Harley Kilgore of West Virginia, and to the House Committee, headed by Representative Emanuel Celler of New York.

Because these bills make a broad attack on civil rights problems, Mr. J. Francis Polhaus, counsel in the Bureau, has prepared a memorandum explaining what would be accomplished by this proposal. Copies of his memorandum are available at the Bureau. Congressman Celler has promised to hold hearings in March. As yet, we have no commitment from Senator Kilgore on when he will hold hearings.

Other civil rights bills now before Congress include a proposal to establish a commission on civil rights, an anti-poll tax bill, and an anti-lynching bill.

Proposed Constitutional Amendments

On the reverse side of civil rights, Senator Holland of Florida is leading an effort to get S.J. Res. 29 passed by the Senate. This resolution is a Constitutional Amendment to outlaw the Poll Tax. We have registered our opposition to this measure.

Introduced in the Senate and the House, also, is a proposal to end the electoral college and establish a system of proportional allotment of popular votes. S.J. Res. 31 in the Senate was introduced by Senators Price Daniels of Texas, Hubert Humphrey, and others. This proposed amendment was defeated in the 82nd Congress through the efforts of the NAACP. Unfortunately, at that time, very few liberal organizations supported us in this action because many persons, including President Truman, seemed to believe this amendment would be a useful advance in this country. We will continue our opposition, of course.

                                              ----                                          ----

The Bureau has sent to each member of Congress a statement outlining our objectives in the legislative field and asking for support.

The administrator was in Washington in connection with matters related to revision of the Senate Rules. It is presumed that he will discuss this subject in his report, and, for that reason, no mention of it is made in the Washington Bureau report.

Federal Aid for School Construction

Several bills to provide Federal aid for school construction are before Congress. The president has sent a message to Congress on this subject. The director appeared before the Senate Labor Committee to testify on S. 5 and other bills. In our testimony, it was recommended that:

(Each state plan requesting Federal aid shall) “certify that school facilities of the state are open to all children without regard to race in conformity with the requirements of the U.S. Supreme Court decisions.”[2]

This simple request has precipitated an attack by some of the supporters of Federal aid who say that inclusion of it will kill the bill.

One criticism worthy of note came from Mrs. Agnes Meyer, wife of the owner of the Washington Post and Times Herald. Mrs. Meyer told the director over the telephone that if inclusion of this provision resulted in the killing of the bill she would strongly criticize the NAACP and would “personally demolish” the director of the Bureau. She asked that her views be conveyed to the NAACP Board, which is why they are included in the report. The director is unable to say what Mrs. Meyer meant with reference to him but presumes that this will become clear if and when the demolition begins.

Manpower Bills

After several conferences with military officials and interested civilians, we have notified the Department of Defense that the proposed National Reserve plan will be discriminatory in many states because of Jim Crow policies in National Guard units. This legislation is before a House subcommittee of the Armed Services Committee, headed by Representative Overton Brooks (D., La.). We have been advised that we shall be heard on it. Meanwhile, Carter L. Burgess, assistant secretary of Defense in Charge of Manpower and Personnel, has told us the following about the plan:

“Young men who are subject to military service, may volunteer for service, within quotas to be established under the proposed law, in either the Reserve of the Army, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard or in the National Guard of a state. In either case, these young men will be required to participate in a six months training program and assume a nine and one-half year military service obligation.

“The well known integration policy of the Department of Defense, will, of course, be fully applicable to the six months training program. Furthermore, no change is contemplated in the integration policy applicable to service in the Reserves of the military services. With respect to Reserve service with a state National Guard unit subsequent to the six months training period, the laws and policies of the state are applicable.”

We have underlined the reference to the National Guard in order that it may be properly emphasized in the mind of the reader.

EXECUTIVE POLICIES

Many newspapers have mentioned with approval the President’s issuance of a new executive order strengthening Fair Employment policies within the Federal Service. This order, which was ready during the spring of 1954 but not issued, was recommended to the White House by the Washington Bureau.

By one of the ironies that sometimes accompany events of this kind, the new order has halted action on several important cases being processed by Mr. Polhaus before the Federal Fair Employment Board. However, this difficulty will be overcome shortly, and, because of the increased statue [stature] given to the program, we possibly will obtain better results.

On the matter of employment discrimination in government, the Washington Bureau’s annual report contained the following case which concerned:

“A young woman who discovered a note in which her supervisor called her a darky and joked about how she got the ‘run-around’ when she complained about unfair employment practices. When she brought the note to the attention of her superiors, she was fired for having the personal property (i.e., the note) of another employee in her possession.”

This matter is now satisfactorily settled because of able handling by Mr. Polhaus. An excerpt from the letter of appreciation sent by the complainant reads as follows:

“Recently, in my behalf, contact had to be made with the Fair Employment Officer of the Army. This was done very ably by your representative, Mr. J. Francis Polhaus. I had been discharged from my Civil Service job due mainly to racial discrimination. Quietly, with determination and know-how, he was able to see me restored to duty on January 12, 1955.

Please accept the enclosed donation ($25.00) to help carry forward the program of a wonderful organization.”

President’s Committee on Government Contract

In the annual report, we also mentioned that the secretary and the director have consistently sought action by the President’s Committee on Government Contracts on the Capital Transit Company of Washington, D. C., as well as the Telephone Companies in Baltimore and Washington. These companies have a long record of denying employment to colored people who seek jobs as operators.

<It now appears that the Capital Transit problem will be resolved at last. The following is an excerpt from a letter sent to us by the Committee on Government Contracts. We made official inquiry because there had been extensive newspaper coverage of the agreement of >

It now appears that the Capital Transit problem will be resolved at last. We made official inquiry because there had been extensive newspaper coverage on the agreement of Capital Transit to hire colored operators, but we had no direct word from the committee about whether the case was closed. The following is an excerpt from a letter sent to us by the Committee on Government Contracts:

“This will acknowledge your letter of January 19 wherein you inquired as to the status of several complaints which your organization has filed with the Committee.

“Our Committee has not officially closed the Capital Transit Company matter, although the company has informed us that they have upgraded a number of qualified Negroes, to become platform operators. These men are currently undergoing a process of training and have not as yet become full-fledged operators. Our Committee intends to keep this situation under review for a period of time. When, in the opinion of the Committee, the matter has been satisfactorily resolved, we will, of course, inform you thereof.

“With reference to Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Company of Washington, our special subcommittee is still negotiating with the company. We have made certain progress in this case but a great deal remains to be done and our Committee does not at present regard this matter as being satisfactorily resolved.

“The complaint against the Chesapeake and Potomac Telephony Company of Baltimore is currently being investigated by the agency having a contract with it and as yet we have not received the investigative report.”

The Director wishes to call the Board’s attention to the fact that much of the work on the Transit and Telephone Companies was and is handled by Mr. John Roosevelt, who is a member of the Committee on Contract Compliance.

During the month of January, the Director and Congressman Powell had a conference with Vice President Nixon to discuss ways of strengthening and speeding up the Committee’s work.

Ten Per Cent Deal

The National Association of Home Builders met in Chicago this month and repeated its “pledge” to build ten per cent of its total housing program for Negro occupancy. This, of course, is coupled with the proviso that “suitable sites” must be found. This Jim Crow quota arrangement has the approval of Albert Cole, administrator of the Housing and Home Finance Agency, who said that it should be applauded by the whole country. It also appears that Joseph Ray, Head of HHFA’s racial relations service approves this policy.

We have again reminded the Attorney General that the problem of government policy in housing is one that urgently demands attention.

South Africa Sinks Navy Policy

The carrier Midway of the U.S. Navy visited Capetown, South Africa, this month. Its captain and the U.S. Consul agreed to a South African requirement that colored personnel (Americans of Japanese, Filipino, and African ancestry) would be segregated ashore.

We urged the Navy not to visit Capetown and asked for a conference with the Secretary of Navy. He was ill but his Naval Aide said the matter would be handled by the Acting Secretary. We then asked for a conference with the Acting Secretary who was out but his office advised that a telegram would be sent to us. When the telegram did not come we traced it through the Navy Communication Center and found that it had been sent but with a notation that it be delayed until the following morning. By that time, of course, the Midway was in Capetown.

The Navy said it had to use Capetown for logistic reasons. However, our investigation revealed that the Navy was on a so-called good will visit.

We then asked the State Department to indicate what part it played in this matter because the Navy said diplomats had “arranged for the visit.”  We also pointed out that the visit was a violation of previous Navy policies. Scott McLeod, Administrator of the Bureau of Security and Consular Affairs, has advised that he is investigating the matter.

A question on this was raised at the President’s press conference, but he declined to comment. Later, the Navy issued a statement saying that the visit helped to promote democracy. At least two representatives of the daily press willfully and knowingly wrote glowing stories about the success of the Midway’s visit.

At the request of Congressman Powell, the Library of Congress asked the Navy for a copy of the previous policy which would have barred the Midway’s visit. At first, the Navy said it had no record of any such policy. When the identifying numbers of the policy statements were cited, the Navy said that part of it (P.R. 300, Serial 3101) was a document that could not be released. This is an incredible blunder because the Washington Bureau has a copy of that policy statement which we will furnish to any interested person upon request.

Senators Lehman and Humphrey promptly joined us in protesting against the visit of the Midway to Capetown. Senator Case of New Jersey is also interested in the policy question we have raised. The most recent Navy statement was sent to Senator Humphrey. It enclosed a photostatic copy of a laudatory article of the Midway’s visit to South Africa. This article appeared in the New York Times. The Navy made no mention of an editorial in the Times condemning the Midway’s visit.

Mississippi Problems

A number of the problems of our Mississippi members are being handled by the Bureau. These include:

  1. Dr. T. R. M. Howard of Mound Bayou, Mississippi, was being threatened with induction into the Army by his draft board, apparently because of his civil rights activities. We took this matter up with the Selective Service and have been assured that Dr. Howard will not be inducted.
  1. After clearance with assistant special counsel, we urged Attorney General Herbert Brownell not to recommend appointment of Gerard Brandon of Mississippi to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Brandon is one of those leading the fight against enforcement of the Supreme Court decision in the school cases. The press in Mississippi had reported that he was under consideration for the post. The Attorney General has turned this matter over to Mr. William Rogers, Deputy Attorney General. We have also asked Mr. Rogers to withhold endorsement of any Mississippi lawyer who is a part of the Anti-Supreme Court conspiracy in Mississippi. This action was taken after we received word from Mr. Carsie Hall, a Jackson lawyer, saying that 1100 lawyers in the state had agreed to join a concerted drive to circumvent the Court’s decision.
  1. The director of the bureau and Mr. Polhaus met with the head of the Farmers Home Administration and two of his assistants on complaints that FHA assistance is being denied persons because they have been active on civil rights.

Walter S. Strider and Shirley O’Neal, of FHA, in Mississippi, have publicly denied that loans were withheld because of civil rights activity. O’Neal, who is colored, denied that he asked whether the applicants were NAACP members.

The conference with FHA officials in Washington was not satisfactory. They were unable to produce a direct refutation of the charges made. The FHA officials said that to prove that loans had not been denied because of civil rights activities of applicants it would be necessary to reveal information on the credit status of the complainants. The officials insisted that they could not reveal this information without a signed authorization from the complainants. We are requesting this authorization and will seek another conference on the matter.

During the conference, the GHA officials stated that they had also received an inquiry from Senator Stennis (D., Miss.) on this complaint.

  1. Mr. Polhaus discussed the case of Charles Evers, a former radio disc jockey, with the Federal Communications Commission. Mr. Evers was released by station WHOC of Philadelphia, Mississippi, because:

“Economic pressure on the owner (of the station) in the form of curtailing the advertisements and non-purchase of his wholesale goods, made it necessary that Mr. Evers be released (with) regrets of the owner himself.”

Mr. Evers stated that he did not wish to press action through FCC.

Birmingham, Alabama

The Bureau referred to the Department of Justice the case of Mr. Charles Patrick, who was brutally beaten by two police officers of Birmingham, Alabama, because he had been involved in a dispute over a parking place with the wife of one of the officers. The dispute arose when the officer’s wife attempted to take the parking space that Mr. Patrick was backing into. She advised him that her husband was a policeman and would cause trouble for Mr. Patrick. Mr. Patrick left the scene and was later arrested and taken to jail, where he was beaten in his cell by the two officers, one of whom was the husband of the woman involved in the incident


MS: NAACP II: 656, DLC.

[1] 5/13/54, Hearings, 42. See also 12/7/53, and headnote on Struggle to End Jim Crow Travel, Vol. III.

[2] Mitchell noted in his prepared statement noted that, rather than obeying the Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education, four states to date – Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina – had enacted legislation to preserve racial segregation. 1/27/55, Hearings, 249. Mitchell next testified before the House Committee on Education and Labor. 5/20/55, Hearings, ????. See 6/6/55 for reference to this testimony.

 

 

February 9, 1956

Preparations for Legislative Action

On September 7, 1955, Mr. Wilkins, Executive Secretary; Mr. Marshall, Special Counsel; the Director of the Washington Bureau; Mrs. Hurley, Southeastern Regional Secretary; and Mr. Evers, Field Secretary for the State of Mississippi, met with Warren Olney III, Assistant Attorney General, to discuss some of the problems of violence and denial of right to vote we now face in the South.

At the conference, it was agreed that among other things the Department of Justice had an obligation to tell the Congress where its existing powers need strengthening in order to cope with crimes such as the Till[i] case, the shooting of the Reverend George W. Lee, and the persistent program of denying colored people the right to vote.

As a follow up on this conference, the Director has had meetings with the Attorney General and members of Congress in an attempt to work out a coordinated approach to the legislative side of this matter. The following are the results of these meetings.

1.         The Attorney General has studied bills which are now pending in the Congress and has prepared recommendations which the Director is advised incorporate some of the provisions in pending bills that deal with protection against violence and protection of the right to vote. The Department of Justice has promised that these recommendations will reach the Congress in February.

For the record, it should be noted that the Director of the Bureau has not seen the actual text of the Department’s proposals and cannot, therefore, say whether they are adequate or acceptable.

It is also noted, for the record, that the idea of a bi-partisan Commission to investigate civil rights violations appears to have gotten its main support from the White House. Congressman Frelinghuysen (R., N.J.) has introduced H.R. 8350, which is a bill to establish this type of commission. Needless to say, there will be many who will try to use the commission idea as an excuse for not acting on other bills.

2.      There is now in the House of Representatives a bi-partisan working committee of Congressmen which is the nucleus of a larger group that is pledged to support a civil rights program. The working committee has agreed that a meeting of all Congressmen who are in favor of civil rights will be called as soon as the Justice Department’s recommendations are sent over to the Hill. At that meeting, the group will either support the Justice Department’s recommendations or agree upon changes which will strengthen these recommendations, if necessary.

Because hearings on Civil Rights Bills were held during the summer of 1955 by the House Judiciary Subcommittee No. 2, the bi-partisan group of Congressmen agreed that further hearings in the House are unnecessary and all effort should be concentrated on getting a bill or bills out of committee.

3.         The Director has met several times with Chairman Emanuel Celler of the House Judiciary Committee who is also a member of the group working for a bi-partisan approach to civil rights. The current legislative situation has also been discussed with Thomas J. Lane (D., Mass.), Chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee, which is in charge of Civil Rights Bills. Mr. Lane has declined to give a specific commitment on when his subcommittee will act on the pending bills.

4.         The Director has talked with Senator Harley Kilgore, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Thomas Hennings, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights, which handles civil rights legislation, and also with other members of the Senate on the question of whether hearings will be held promptly on Civil Rights Bills.

The Director has advised Senator Hennings that the Attorney General has stated that he is willing to appear at these hearings and testify in person. As yet, there is no commitment from the Senate Judiciary Committee or the subcommittee on a specific time of hearings.

Some members of the Senate have suggested that, when the Attorney General sends over his recommendations, it will be well to have these introduced as a bi-partisan bill. In view of the fact that no hearings have been held in the Senate, introduction of these recommendations as a new bill would not in itself cause any unnecessary delay, provided, of course, the recommendations are sent to Congress during the Month of February.

Passage of Anti-Violence Bill

The House has passed H.R. 5205, which is an NAACP supported bill to protect servicemen against violence. This bill was sponsored by Representative Celler of New York. Other sponsors of this bill in the House were Congressmen Boyle of Illinois and Powell of New York. Passage of the House Bill was arranged chiefly by Chairman Celler of the Judiciary Committee with the help of Mr. Lane, Chairman of subcommittee No. 2

The companion bill in the Senate is S. 1089. Senator Lehman of New York, chief sponsor of the Senate Bill, has been doing extensive and careful work through members of his staff to obtain Senate passage of this bill. It has been approved by the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights, but Chairman Hennings of that subcommittee has not officially reported it to the full committee.

Plans for Civil Rights Conferenc 

Pursuant to the agreements of organizations cooperating in the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, there will be a nation wide meeting in Washington on March 4, 5, and 6. The Director has had the assignment of obtaining meeting places.

After a conference with the Secretary of Labor [James B. Mitchell], we have been granted use of the Interdepartmental Auditorium for Sunday evening, March 4, and all day Tuesday, March 6. The Auditorium is not available on March 5 during the day because of a meeting which the Department of Labor is holding.

Other facilities for the meeting are at the Willard Hotel where the Ballroom will be available for meetings all day Monday, March 5. We have a verbal commitment that the Metropolitan Baptist Church, 1225 “R” Street, N.W., will be available for a Sunday afternoon meeting on March 4.

The Bureau has reservations for approximately 150 hotel rooms during the conference. It is requested that anyone who desires a room should so indicate before February 20. The reason for this request is that three of the hotels, which are holding a small number of rooms, will not hold them beyond February 20 without specific commitments on occupancy.

The Director has submitted to the Secretary recommendations on composition of the delegations that come to Washington.

School Construction Bill

After a number of false reports on the prospect for immediate action, the School Construction Bill, H.R. 7535, is still stalled in the House Rules Committee. There was a rumor that the bill would be reported out with a closed rule which would prohibit amendments on the floor. There now seems to be no possibility that the bill will come out of committee with a closed rule. The Rules Committee is deliberately delaying action on the bill and, at the time this report is written, there is no certainty on when H.R. 7535 will be reported out.

The Director and Congressman Powell have cooperated in documenting the position of the Executive Branches of Government on the matter of giving Federal Funds to segregated schools. At this time, we have the Comptroller General, the Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare on record saying that Federal funds for education will not be withheld from segregated schools unless there is a specific Court test on the issue.

On February 2, 1956, Congressman Powell called upon the President to state whether he had a legal opinion from the Attorney General that the Executive Branch had authority to withhold such funds. Mr. Powell also asked the President to state himself, or through the Attorney General, that funds made available by pending legislation would be withheld from states that defy the United States Supreme Court decision on the matter of school segregation.

At this time, President Eisenhower and former Governor Adlai Stevenson are both on record in opposition to the Powell Amendment. Former President Truman stated in Minneapolis that he supports the amendment.

Passage of H.R. 5649, re Applications for Writs of Habeas Corpus

The House of Representatives has passed a bill to restrict the use of Writs of Habeas Corpus. This is highly technical legislation that has the support of the Judicial Conference. We are continuing our opposition to the bill now that it is in the Senate. The Director has been advised by a key member of the Senate that U.S. Judge John Parker is exerting a considerable amount of pressure to get this bill passed.

Federal Communications Commission

In previous reports, the Bureau pointed out that we have complained to the Federal Communications Commission about a newspaper story which quoted Fred Beard of Station WJDX in Jackson, Mississippi, as boasting that he had cut off a program on civil rights. According to the story, Mr. Beard told a meeting of the White Citizens Council that when he cut off the program he put up a sign saying “sorry cable trouble.”

We now have a report from FCC on this matter in which Mr. Beard insists that he was misquoted in the newspaper and that he did not have a contract to carry the program in question. The license to operate the station expires on June 1. Any protests against continued operation of it by the present owners will be heard by FCC.

Post Office Department

The Post Office has denied that its station at Elloree, South Carolina, withdrew the use of a box from Mr. L. A. Blackman because of his civil rights activities. During the investigation, the Post Office Department said that it interviewed one of Mr. Blackman’s witnesses who denied any knowledge of the matter. It is the Bureau’s opinion that Mr. Blackman was denied the use of the box but, in view of the collapse of one of his witnesses and because of other technical details, it may be impossible to prove this.

Atomic Energy Commission

The Atomic Energy Commission has agreed to investigate complaints against its Savannah River Works in South Carolina. It is alleged that segregation has been introduced in organized recreation. Under AEC regulations, segregation is forbidden at the Savannah River Works.

Anti-Civil Rights Measures

S. 2844 (Thurmond, South Carolina) and H.R. 8160 (Riley, South Carolina) are identical bills which would deny tax exemption to any organization that engages in litigation to which it is not a party.

H.R. 8906 (Matthews, Florida) would withdraw jurisdiction from all Federal courts and agencies to hear cases involving the administration of State educational systems.

H.J. Res. 495 (Vinson, Georgia) proposes a Constitutional amendment giving the States “the right to manage their own internal affairs with respect to any matter not expressly forbidden by the Constitution.”

S.J. Res. 127 (Eastland, Georgia) proposes a Constitutional amendment prohibiting interference with “the power of any State to regulate health, morals, education, marriage, and good order in the State.”

S. J. Res. 137 (Robertson, Virginia) would provide that a State could meet its obligations under the 14th Amendment by providing either desegregated or “separate but equal” public scho

MS:

[i]

 

 

September 6, 1957

Cliches and defeatism about civil rights legislation bowed to determined effort and hard work in the 85th Congress.

In spite of funeral predictions that the bill would die in the Eastland dominated Judiciary Committee, in spite of the longest and silliest filibuster speech in the Senate’s history, and in the face of numerous tricky obstructions, a right to vote bill was passed on August 29, 1957.

In due time, this legislation will make the Congress itself a more realistic reflection of the American scene because it will guarantee that future southern delegations in the Nation’s highest legislative body will include qualified colored men and women.

When this legislation is enforced, there will be no more flummery about how many bubbles there are in a bar of soap when colored citizens seek the right to register. After the stern restraint of a Federal injunction has been applied, those who used force, economic restrictions, and deception to keep the voting lists lily white will realize that the vote must be given to all without regard to race.

We who assisted at the birth of this legislation and have worked without many of the tools that we needed for success understand that we now have a new weapon against jim crow. We shall see to it that the race issue is blasted from southern politics.

This legislation started out as a four part bill. Each part was designed to perform an important task in the civil rights field.

Part I establishes a commission to get the facts and pave the way for additional Federal legislation.

Part II removes the civil rights function from the broom closet in the U.S. Department of Justice and makes it a vital division headed by an assistant attorney general.

Part IV of the bill gives new protection to the right to vote in time for the Congressional elections of 1958.

All of these are now safely through the Congress.

One of the parts of the bill, which in the opinion of the director is no more or less vital than Part IV, did not get through in this session.[1]

Significance of Part III

Getting some of the friends of civil rights to see the importance of Part III was one of the difficult jobs confronting the bureau when this bill was introduced in the 84th Congress.

Representative Kenneth Keating (R., N.Y.) issued a press release dated September 4, 1957, in which he said of the school crisis at Little Rock, Arkansas.

“The Governor’s action in this case, if it proves unjustified, will point up the necessity for further legislation to protect the Constitutional rights of our citizens . . . Part III . . . would have fulfilled that need by enabling the Federal Government to act in the first instance on behalf of citizens . . . Had the Attorney General been authorized to act from the beginning in the situation in Arkansas, all of this trouble could have been avoided.”

When we were enlisting support for the civil rights bill, there were so many people who professed not to see the advantages of Part III that on April 16, 1957, J. Francis Pohlhaus, Washington Bureau Counsel, expanded previous memoranda he had written on this subject into a comprehensive statement.[2] This statement and the legislative history of Part III were given wide distribution by the bureau after Senator Richard Russell (D., Ga.) pretended to find some hidden deception in Part III.

We have never underestimated the potential good in Part III. The director is happy to report that Representative Emanuel Celler (D., N.Y.), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, and Mr. Keating, who is the ranking member for the minority Party, are both pledged to resume the fight to get Part III enacted into law when the next session of Congress begins.

Now that it is clear that a meaningful civil rights bill can pass the Congress, the director hopes that all of the civil rights forces in the country will keep their fire centered on the main target, which is the Congress of the United States.

It is hoped that those who fell by the wayside when many thought our fight was hopeless will now unite with the NAACP in a determined drive to change the following votes in the United States Senate.

Senators Who Voted to Remove Part III

From H.R. 6127 in the 85th Congress

Democrats (16)

 

State

 

Republicans (18)

 

1.          Carl Hayden

 

2.          J. Allen Frear

 

3.          Frank Church

  

4.          Mike Mansfield

 

5.          James Murray

 

6.          Alan Bible

 

7.          Clinton Anderson

 

8.          Dennis Chavez

 

9.          Robert Kerr

 

10.      Mike Monroney

 

11.      Theodore Green

  

12.      Albert Gore

 

13.      Estes Kefauver

 

14.      Lyndon Johnson

 

15.      Yarborough

 

16.      Joseph O’Mahoney

Arizona

 

Delaware

 

Idaho

 

Iowa

 

Maryland

 

Massachusetts

 

Montana

 

Montana

 

Nebraska

 

Nevada

 

New Hampshire

 

New Jersey

 

New Mexico

 

New Mexico

 

North Dakota

 

Ohio

 

Oklahoma

 

Oklahoma

 

Rhode Island

 

South Dakota

 

South Dakota

 

Tennessee

Tennessee

 

Texas

 

Texas

 

Utah

 

Vermont

 

 

Wyoming

 

 

1.          Barry Goldwater

 

2.          John Williams

 

3.          Henry Dworshak

 

4.          H. B. Hickenlooper

 

5.          John Butler

 

6.          L. Saltonstall

 

7.          Carl Curtis

 

8.          George Malone

 

9.          Norris Cotton

 

10.      H. Alexander Smith

 

11.      Milton Young

 

12.      John Bricker

 

13.      Francis Case

 

14.      Karl Mundt

 

15.      Wallace Bennett

 

16.      George Aiken

 

17.      Ralph Flanders

 

18.      Frank Barrett

 

Part III was removed by a vote of 52 to 38. If we are to win in the next session of Congress, we must hold what we got in the first session and pick up at least eight additional votes.

Between now and the time Congress meets in January, all who believe in civil rights would do well to concentrate their energies on helping to get as many of the above Senators as possible to pledge that they will make a last ditch, unyielding fight for the new bill which will be introduced in January. This task can be undertaken now while most of these Senators are in their home states.

The Jury Trial Amendment

No one who made the fight to defeat the jury trial amendment to H.R. 6127 has any need to apologize. When the O’Mahoney, Kefauver, Church jury trial amendment was approved by a vote of 51 to 42 on August 2, 1957, the civil rights leaders on the Senate floor had lost only because they had been deserted by other Senators who should have stood with them.

The director had the good fortune to talk with Senator William Knowland, the minority leader, in the Senator’s office immediately after the Senate recessed that night. The Senator was deeply moved by what had happened but he was equally determined to carry the fight to a finish.

The following day, Senator Paul Douglas met with civil rights workers. He, too, was full of determination to carry on.

The Department of Justice is the source of the jury trial language that was put in the bill as a substitute for the Senate amendment. The Department has privately and publicly said this language will permit effective enforcement of the new law.

This issue will again arise when the fight to restore Part III is resumed. The following are the Senators who should be reached now if the jury trial amendment is to be knocked out completely.

Democrats (21)


 

1.      Carl Hayden, Arizona

2.      J. Allen Frear, Delaware

3.      Frank Church, Idaho

4.      Robert [John] Kennedy, Mass.

5.      Mike Mansfield, Montana

6.      James Murray, Montana

7.      Alan Bible, Nevada

8.      Clinton Anderson, N. Mex.

9.      Dennis Chavez, New Mex.

10.  Frank Lausche, Ohio

11.  Robert Kerr, Okla.

12.  Mike Monroney, Okla.

13.  Theodore Green, R.I.

14.  John Pastore, R. I.

15.  Albert Gore, Tenn.

16.  Estes Kefauver, Tenn.

17.  Lyndon Johnson, Texas

18.  Yarborough, Texas

19.  Warren Magnuson, Wash.

20.  Henry Jackson, Wash.

21.  Joseph O’Mahoney, Wyo.

Republicans (12)

1.      Barry Goldwater, Ariz.

2.      John Williams, Delaware

3.      Homer Capehart, Ind.

4.      Andrew Schoeppel, Kans.

5.      Margaret Smith, Maine

6.      John Butler, Maryland

7.      Carl Curtis, Nebraska

8.      George Malone, Nevada

9.      Milton Young, N. D.

10.  Francis Case, S. D.

11.  Karl Mundt, South Dakota

12.  Chapman Revercomb, W. Va.


 

From the above Senators, we must get at least five votes. No amount of breast-beating will mean anything unless it is coupled with the delivery of at least five votes and possibly more if Senator Bridges of New Hampshire and the new Senator from Wisconsin, Mr. William Proxmire, are to be taken into consideration. Here, again, the opportunity to work is at hand in most of the states because these Senators are now back home.

Brief Review

So many important people and events are linked with the civil rights fight that it is almost impossible to list them without running the risk of offending someone. An attempt will be made later to list those who deserve commendation in speeches, letters, and reports.

At this point, the director wishes to call attention to one man who volunteered to assist. He is Mr. Harry Kingman of Berkeley, California. Mr. Kingman spent approximately $3,000 of his personal savings to live and work in Washington in the interest of human rights. Most of his time was spent faithfully and helpfully working for passage of H.R. 6127.[3]

The Bureau monthly reports for 1957 contain the record on the civil rights fight in the first session of the 85th Congress. No attempt is made to summarize them at this time.

The following are excerpts from the mimeographed annual reports of the bureau which will help to give some of the background on how the bill came before the Congress.

At the opening of the 84th Congress nearly 100 civil rights bills were introduced. A subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee held hearings on 51 of these bills in July. Following these hearings, the full Judiciary Committee, on July 28, reported out favorably a bill introduced by Representative Emanuel Celler (D., N.Y.) providing Federal protection for servicemen against abuse and violence by law enforcement officers and civilians. A Senate Judiciary subcommittee likewise approved a similar bill introduced by Senator Herbert Lehman (D., N.Y.). No further action was taken on any of these bills in either House during the year. (From 1955 Annual Report of the Washington Bureau).

During the 1956 campaign for the Presidency, many charges and promises were made on civil rights matters. One of the frequent charges made against the Republicans was that they did not send civil rights proposals to Congress until it was too late to act. A charge made against the Democrats was that their Party was dominated by southern committee chairmen in Congress.

The following are some of the highlights on civil rights legislation in 1956. These facts speak for themselves.

On September 7, 1955, Mr. Roy Wilkins, Executive Secretary; Mr. Thurgood Marshall, Special Counsel; the Director of the Washington Bureau; Mrs. Ruby Hurley, Southeastern Regional Secretary; and Mr. Medgar Evers, Field Secretary for the State of Mississippi, met with Warren Olney, III, Assistant Attorney General, to discuss some of the problems of violence and denial of right to vote in the South.

At the conference it was agreed that, among other things, the Department of Justice had an obligation to tell the Congress where its existing powers needed strengthening in order to cope with crimes such as the Till case, the shooting of the Reverend George W. Lee, and the persistent program of denying colored people the right to vote.

As a follow up on this conference, the Director met with the Attorney General and members of Congress in an attempt to work out a coordinated approach to the legislative side of this matter. The Attorney General studied bills which were pending in the Congress and prepared recommendations.

In the House of Representatives, Democrats and Republicans worked together for passage of the Justice Department proposals.

On March 21, subcommittee No. 2 of the House Judiciary Committee had reported out H.R. 259, an Anti-Lynching Bill, and H.R. 627, an Omnibus Civil Rights Bill introduced by Representative Emanuel Celler (D., N.Y.).

On March 28, the New York Times carried a page one story saying that a civil rights program would be sent to Congress by the Department of Justice on March 29. The Director firmly believes that the Times story was accurate at the time it was published, but the program did not reach Congress until April 9, 1956. When the Justice Department’s proposals reached the House, the Judiciary subcommittee substituted the Department’s language for the language of the Celler Bill, but retained Mr. Celler’s name as author and the number (H.R 627).

The bill was reported out of committee with a minority report signed by seven members on April 25, 1956. When it appeared that this legislation might be smothered in the House Rules Committee (which is headed by Representative Howard Smith (D., Va.), Representatives James Roosevelt (D., Calif.) and Charles Brownson (R., Ind.) initiated a bi-partisan drive to get 218 signatures for a discharge petition which would being [bring] the bill to the floor.

Meanwhile, in the House Rules Committee, Representative Richard Bolling (D., Mo.) made a motion to bring the bill out of that committee. His motion received bi-partisan support and after a few delaying actions by the southern bloc the Rules Committee sent the measure to the House floor where it passed 279 to 126, July 23, 1956.

It is significant that during the floor fight on this bill Representative Joseph Martin (R., Mass.), Minority Leader, made a strong and effective plea for Republicans to avoid joining southern Democrats in a coalition move to defeat the bill. One of the most truculent opponents of the bill was Representative T. James Tumulty (D., N.J.). Mr. Tumulty was defeated in November.

*   *   *                                                                                                                                                *   *   *                                                                              *   *   *

In the Senate, many problems existed from the beginning of the 84th Congress. These became worse in the Second Session which was held in 1956.

On February 23, the Director of the NAACP’s Washington Bureau requested Senator Theodore Francis Green (D., R.I.), Chairman of the Senate Rules and Administration Committee, to hold hearings on charges of misconduct by Senator Eastland. Senator Green refused to hold such hearings.

On February 27, Senator Harley Kilgore (D., W. Va.), Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, died. Senator Earl Clements of Kentucky (who was defeated in November) offered Eastland’s name as Chairman of the Judiciary Committee on March 2.

Senator Herbert Lehman (D., N.Y.) and Senator Wayne Morse (D., Ore.) were the only two Senators who took the floor against the Eastland nomination. Many others who were asked to oppose Eastland either declined to do so or had “out of town engagements.”

The Bureau furnished Senators Morse and Lehman with copies of a memorandum prepared by Mr. J. Francis Pohlhaus on Senator Eastland’s record. We also gave Senator Morse a photostatic copy of a speech made by Senator Eastland in which the Mississippian boasted that he had broken the law. These materials were used by the two opponents of Senator Eastland. Eastland did not answer these charges himself but relied on Senator John Stennis (D., Miss.) to speak for him.

On March 2, 1956, the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Constitutional rights favorably reported S. 900, an Anti-Lynching Bill; S. 902, a Bill to Create Civil Rights Division in the Department of Justice; S. 903, a Bill to Protect Voting Rights; and H.R. 5205, a Bill to Protect Servicemen Against Violence, which had passed the House by unanimous consent at a time when southern opponents of civil rights were not on the floor.

Members of the subcommittee were Senators Thomas C. Hennings (D.,Mo.), Joseph O’Mahoney (D.,Wyo.), and William Langer (R.,N.D.).

Although the subcommittee had approved similar legislation, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to have full committee hearings on the proposals sent in by the Justice Department. These hearings dragged on interminably.

Senators Douglas, Hennings, Ives, Langer, Lehman, Bender, and Morse made a heroic effort to get the Senate to take up the House passed Bill (H.R. 627), but they were unsuccessful.

The 1956 Republican platform included a pledge that the President’s legislative proposals (H.R. 627) which were submitted to the 84th Congress, will be supported.

The Democratic platform contains a promise to effect rules changes in the opening days of the 85th Congress. Therefore, it is important to call attention to the following excerpt from the Congressional Record, dated July 27, 1956.

“Mr. Case of New Jersey. I, therefore, ask both the Majority Leader and the Minority Leader as individuals, and as undoubted leaders in the next session of Congress, if they will give assurance that, whichever Party controls the Congress, they will use their best efforts to secure prompt and early consideration of that measure (H.R. 627).

“Mr. Knowland (Minority Leader). “I would hope that such a measure could be considered early in the next session of Congress, not in the second year of the 85th Congress, but in the first year of the 85th Congress, and that following hearings—and certainly everyone, either for or against the proposed legislation, is entitled to be heard—the bill could be reported to the Senate, perhaps by March 1 or April 1 at the latest.

“Then, if the bill had been reported to the Senate and had been cleared by the policy committee of the majority—if we should happen at that time to be the majority—I believe it would be incumbent upon me, as the leader, if I should hold that position at the time, to ask the Senate to consider the bill very early in the session, in order to avoid the parliamentary obstacle which otherwise, I am sure all Members of the Senate recognize, exists . . .

“If the Senator is assuming legislation along the lines which the President has recommended—perhaps not word for word, but along those general lines—I would hope very much that the Senate could successfully act upon it at the next session of Congress.

“Mr. Johnson of Texas (Majority Leader). What the Senate or any other legislative body does depends on what the majority of the Members of the committee which controls the proposed legislation wants done.

“All I can say to the Senator is that when the committee acts, if I am the majority leader, and if I have responsibility for scheduling any proposed legislation, I shall take prompt action to bring it to the attention of the group over which I preside, namely, the policy committee. In the event the policy committee feels that it is a bill which should be scheduled for action, it will be brought to the floor of the Senate.”

Speaking Engagements

The Director of the Washington Bureau filled speaking engagements in Washington, D. C., Baltimore, Maryland, St. Louis, Missouri, and Boston, Massachusetts.

*   *   *                                                                                                                                                *   *   *                                                                              *   *   *

An analysis of the Civil Rights Bill prepared by Mr. J. Francis Pohlhaus, Washington Bureau Counsel, appears on the next page.

*   *   *                                                                                                                                                *   *   *                                                                              *   *   *

 

September 6, 1957

ANALYSIS OF H. R. 6127, AS PASSED BY CONGRESS

Prepared by

J. Francis Pohlhaus, Washington Bureau Counsel

PART I

This part establishes a six member, bi-partisan Commission on Civil Rights, to be appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate.

Procedural rules are established for the operation of the Commission.

The Commission is authorized:

1.      To investigate written allegations under oath of deprivations of voting rights because of race, color, religion, or national origin.

2.      To study and collect information on legal developments constituting a denial of equal protection of the laws.

3.      To appraise the laws and policies of the Federal Government with respect to equal protection of the laws.

The Commission shall report to the President and Congress. Its final reports shall be submitted not later than two years from the date of passage of the Act. It shall cease to exist sixty days thereafter.

The Commission will have a full time staff director, appointed with the advice and consent of the Senate.

It will not be allowed to accept volunteer or uncompensated labor.

The Commission will have the right to issue subpoenas for the attendance of witnesses, but such subpoenas shall not require the witness to attend a hearing outside the state where the subpoena is served.

PART  II

This part provides for an additional Assistant Attorney General. Although not required by the bill, the Attorney General has promised to assign him a new Civil Rights Division.

PART  III

This repeals 42 U.S. C. 1993, which authorizes the use of military forces to enforce civil rights statutes.

Under other existing laws, however, the President has the power to use troops if necessary to enforce the laws. He is authorized to call on the U.S. Armed Forces or to Federalize the national guard if it is impractical to enforce the laws by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings (10 U.S.C. 332) or if the execution of the laws is so hindered as to deny Constitutional rights and State authorities fail or refuse to protect such rights (10 U.S.C. 333).

Under this part, individuals are granted the right to sue in equity or for damages where Congress has granted protection to civil rights, including voting rights.

This right is granted now under existing civil rights statutes in most cases. However, a few statutes guaranteeing civil rights either provide no remedy or provide only for damages. Under this part of the bill, there is provided a statutory basis for getting injunctions as well as damages in protecting these rights.

For instance, under 42 U.S.C. 1971, as amended by Part IV of this bill, a private citizen could get an injunction against individuals who intimidate, coerce or threaten him for the purpose of interfering with his right to vote in a Federal election.

Under 42 U.S.C. 1985, it appears that it will now be possible to get injunctions to prevent interference with court orders by outside persons, provided the court orders relate to a matter involving equal protection of the laws, such as school segregation. Also, it would seem that officials who are seeking to grant such rights could get protection in the performance of their duties.

As it now is written, 42 U.S.C. 1985 provides only for damages in these situations.

PART  IV

Under this part of the bill, the Attorney General is authorized to bring an action for preventive relief (injunction) to prevent: (1) the denial of the right to vote in any election because of race or color. (2) intimidation or coercion interfering with the right to vote in an election involving candidates for Federal office.

This action can be instituted without the necessity of exhausting State legal or administrative action.

This means that the Attorney General would not be required to go into State court or appeal through State administrative agencies but could apply directly to a Federal Court for the injunction.

Anyone charged with contempt under this part shall have counsel assigned by the court if he cannot secure counsel.

PART  V

This part regulates cases of criminal contempt arising under the provisions of the bill.

It limits the punishment in such cases, if the defendant is a natural person, to $1,000.00 fine or six months imprisonment.

It grants the judge the right, in his discretion, to order a jury trial.

If such a case is tried without a jury and a fine in excess of $300.00 or imprisonment in excess of forty-five days is imposed, the accused has a right to demand a new trial before a jury.

It is specifically provided that the civil contempt power of the courts shall not be affected by this bill. Accordingly the courts can force compliance to their decrees by fines or imprisonment without the limitations provided under criminal contempt and without a jury trial.

This part also amends Federal law relating to jury selection by repealing that section of existing law which makes ineligible for jury duty anyone ineligible under State law.


MS:

[1] This was Part III.

[2] See appendix for this statement by Pohlhaus.

[3] Harry Lees Kingman, the  former West Coast FEPC regional director, and his wife Ruth came to Washington at Mitchell’s request in 1957. They formed a private lobbying organization on behalf of civil rights, desegregation, and other causes, which they called the Citizens Lobby for Freedom and Fair Play. The two were highly effective in forging ties with Senator William Knowland and in obtaining votes for numerous civil rights bills and other important measures. See Harry L. Kingman, “Citizenship in a Democracy, An Interview Conducted by Rosemary Levenson,” Regional Oral History Office, the Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, 1973, 135-188; and the Kingman Papers, Bancroft Library.  Coordinate notes with material in Biographical Directory

 

February 5, 1959

The importance of the pending civil rights bills in the 86th Congress makes an analysis and understanding of them imperative. These bills have been studied by the Washington Bureau counsel and his conclusions are set forth in this report. Because of the length of the material, no other matters are presented.

Since the opening of the 86th Congress, four major civil rights programs have been offered to the Congress.

Since the Senate has announced definite hearings on civil rights, the Senate bills embodying these programs will be discussed here. In each instance the Senate bill has one or more House counter-parts. In the order in which they have been introduced in the Senate, these programs are:  (1) the Javits bill (S. 456), co-sponsored by Senators Javits (R., NY), Keating (R., N.Y.), Case (R., N.J.), Cooper (R., Ky.), Scott (R., Penna.), and Allott (R., Colo.);  (2) the Johnson bill (S. 499) introduced by Senator Johnson (D., Texas) and later co-sponsored by Senator Hennings (D., Mo.); (3) the Douglas bill (S. 810) co-sponsored by Senator Douglas (D., Ill.) and a bi-partisan group of sixteen other Senators;  (4) the Administration’s program.

I  The Javits Bill (S. 456)

Analysis

S. 456 would authorize the Attorney General to prosecute a civil proceeding for or in the name of the United States to protect the rights of persons subject to or threatened with loss of the right of equal protection of the laws by reason of race, color, religion or national origin. Such a proceeding could be instituted upon a sworn complaint of a person or persons unable because of financial inability or other reason to prosecute such a proceeding. Such a proceeding would be for preventive relief for injunction or other order against any person acting under color of law to deny equal protection of the laws or any one conspiring with such person.

The bill would also authorize the Attorney General to institure [institute] preventive proceedings against anyone conspiring through threats, violence, or otherwise to hinder duly constituted State or local authorities from giving or securing equal protection on the laws. Such proceeding could be instituted upon the written request of the officials.

The bill would authorize the institution of preventive proceedings without the requirement of exhaustion of administrative remedies.

Comment

This bill is in essence, though not in language, similar to Part III of the Civil Rights Bill of 1957, before its amendment in the Senate.

It would authorize the Attorney General to institute civil proceedings to prevent any denial of equal protection of the laws because of race, color, religion or national origin. This would include, of course, the denial of educational rights protected under the decisions of the Supreme Court.

In addition, the bill would grant Federal protection to local authorities who desire to grant such educational and other rights, but are hindered from doing so by violence or threats of violence.

The provision eliminating the necessity for exhaustion of administrative remedies would speed up the legal processes in having these issues resolved.

II  The Johnson Bill (S. 499)

Analysis

Title I

Title I would establish a Community Relations Service as an independent Government Agency to provide conciliation service to communities where  (1) disagreements or difficulties regarding the laws or Constitution of the United States, or (2) disagreements or difficulties which affect or may affect interstate commerce, are disrupting or threaten to disrupt peaceful relations in a community.

Activities of the Service would be confidential. It could utilize the services of state and local agencies and non-public agencies.

The Service would be headed by a Director, with five assistants, all subject to Senate confirmation. Total staff would be limited to one hundred.

The Service’s principal office would be in Washington, but the Director would be authorized to establish five regional offices, each headed by an Assistant Director.

The Service would be required to report to Congress annually and could make recommendations for legislation (but only as to its own administration).

Title II

Title II would extend the life of the Civil Rights Commission from sixty days following September 9, 1959, to sixty days following January 31, 1961.

Title III

This part of the bill would give the Department of Justice power to subpoena “books, papers, records or other documents” relevant to an investigation of voting rights instituted under the Civil Rights Act of 1957.

The subpoena could be issued only if the person who has possession refuses to furnish it, or, in the case of a public official, only if the Governor of the State has refused to order its surrender.

The subpoena could not require the presence of a person outside the State where he is found, resides, or does business.

The subpoena power could be enforced by a three judge Federal Court, with disobedience of a final order of the court constituting contempt.

Title IV

The fourth title would make interstate transportation of explosives or possession of explosives transported in interstate commerce illegal if such transportation or possession is with the knowledge or intent that they be used to damage or destroy  “for the purpose of interfering with its use, for business, educational, religious, charitable, or civic objectives or of intimidating any person pursuing such objectives.” Punishment would be $1000 fine and/or one year imprisonment, or death or imprisonment for life or any term of years if a death results from the violation.

Also prohibited would be the use of mail, telephone, telegram or other communications to convey false information of alleged bombing attempts.

The FBI would be authorized to investigate when a building has been damaged or destroyed by an explosive, if the Attorney General authorizes the investigation on reasonable grounds that a violation of this statute has occurred.

The Attorney General could also authorize use of the FBI in such cases on the request of local authorities.

    .   .   .    .    .   .   .   .

Comment

Title I

Senator Johnson and his supporters have attempted to draw a parallel between the proposed Community Relations Service and the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service set up under the Taft-Hartley Act.

There is no true analogy between the two agencies. The Mediation service does not get involved in issues where there are clearly defined Constitutional or legal rights. These issues are left to the N.L.R.B. or the courts. The Mediation Service attempts to settle practical disputes between labor and management where there are legitimate differences of opinion, not involving legal principles.

The true analogy would be if the Mediation Service were allowed to enter a dispute and resolve it after the N.L.R.B. and courts had ruled and the losing party refused to abide by the decision.

One thing that the commentators on the Johnson Bill have not explored is the tremendous scope of the jurisdiction of the proposed Community Relations Service.

It has been described as an agency to help resolve civil rights problems. There is, however, no such limitations on its jurisdiction. Given the authority to inject itself into any dispute involving “the laws or Constitution of the United States,” or those “which affect or may affect interstate commerce,” it could get involved in almost any conceivable controversy. Church-state relations, Federal-state relations, labor-management controversies, enforcement of criminal laws, election disputes and countless other conflicts could be brought to the Service. It could, within the language of the proposed bill, actually supplant the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service in the labor-management field.

Title II

The extension of the life of the Civil Rights Commission presents the opponents of civil rights and the “moderates” with an excuse for additional delay in Congressional action on substantial civil rights legislation.

Part III

There appears to be at least one grave “loophole” in the granting of subpoena power to the Department of Justice in voting cases.

The section dealing with public officials limits the subpoena power by requiring that it not be used until the Governor of the state involved has failed to order the official to surrender the required document. This could lead to collusion between a Governor and the official whereby the Governor could order, but not enforce, the surrender of the document. It is possible that under a strict construction of this provision nothing could be done in such a situation.

This provision would also allow for delay, while a Governor would “study” the Department’s request.

The requirement of a three judge court could also require additional delay.

Part IV

The anti-bombing part of the bill includes the recommendation of the Association that such legislation should cover business establishments, but omits that relating to places of residence.

It omits the provision contained in some of the anti-bombing bills which would create a presumption of interstate transportation whenever an explosion of the type described in the bill occurs. In so doing, it changes but little the existing involvement of the FBI in this type of case.

The bill would involve the FBI only at the discretion of the Attorney General or on the request of local authorities. This is the present de facto involvement of the Bureau, whether the Department of Justice admits it or not. Under the existing arrangement, seldom, if ever, has the Bureau intervened in a case involving property under colored ownership.

If the presumption of a Federal crime were created, it would be difficult for the Department to stay out of these cases.

III The Douglas Bill (S. 810)

The following is a short explanation of the Douglas Bill which will be useful for those who desire a thumbnail sketch of what it contains.

S. 810 is identical, except for necessary technical changes, in its provisions with S. 3257, introduced by Senator Douglas in the 85th Congress. As noted in the 1958 Annual Convention Resolution of the NAACP, specifically endorsing this bill, it restores Part III of the Civil Rights Bill of 1957 and provides financial aid for States and school districts in connection with desegregation. This bill is the most comprehensive in its support of the principle of equal protection of the laws of any of the bills under consideration.

A careful study of the comprehensive and extensive analysis of the Douglas Bill will be very valuable especially when the civil rights bills reach the floor. It is recommended that those who want a more detailed statement than that set forth in the foregoing short version should read the following:

 

Analysis

 

Title I

 

This introductory section of S. 810 gives a statement of the purposes of the bill and the bases for action by the Congress. It includes provisions endorsing the principle of the anti-segregation decisions of the Supreme Court and recognizing the responsibility and authority of the Congress to uphold the authority of the Judicial Branch.

 

Title II

 

This title authorizes the Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare to render technical assistance to States and communities seeking to comply with the Supreme Court decisions. Such assistance would include giving information, conducting surveys, promoting conferences and councils, providing service of  speacilists [specialists] and developing community understanding for desegregation. Appropriations up to $2.5 million for five years for these purposes would be authorized.

 

Title III

 

This title would authorize the Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare to make grants to communities to assist desegregation programs. Such grants would be for buildings, equipment, teacher training, specialists, teacher salaries and other costs.

 

It would also authorize grants for communities denied State funds because of local desegregation programs.

 

Appropriations up to $40 million per year for five years would be authorized under this title.

 

Title IV

 

This title encourages the Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare to persuade State and local communities to begin compliance with the Supreme Court decisions. If unable to do so, he would be authorized to prepare a tentative desegregation plan with the advice and assistance of local officials, organizations and citizens.

 

If such a plan is not acceptable to appropriate State or local officials, the Secretary is authorized to hold a hearing thereon at which all interested parties may be heard. After the hearing he shall formulate and publish an approved plan.

 

Title V

 

If the approved plan is rejected by the State or local officials, and all attempts at conciliation, persuasion, education and assistance have failed, the Attorney General is authorized to institute proceedings to enforce compliance.

 

 Such action may be dismissed by the Attorney General if the State or local government makes a prompt and reasonable start to comply with the Supreme Court hearings.

 

Any interested party is authorized to intervene in any action brought under this title and proposals of intervenors shall be considered by the court in determining its decree.

 

Title VI

 

This title authorizes the Attorney General, on a signed complaint or on his own certification, to seek preventive relief to protect persons being deprived of or threatened with deprivation of, equal protection of the laws because of race, color, religion or national origin, if the persons whose rights are invaded are unable to seek legal relief because of lack of finances, economic pressures or fear of physical harm.

 

The Attorney General would also be authorized to seek preventive relief to assist public officials in guaranteeing equal protection of the laws by enjoining anyone from hindering or attempting to hinder the execution of any court order protecting the equal protection of the laws.

 

In addition, the Attorney General would be authorized to proceed on behalf of any persons or associations being deprived or threatened with deprivation of rights under color of law because of support of Fourteenth Amendment rights.

 

The final section of this title would allow the Attorney General to intervene in any case brought in the Federal Courts seeking relief from a denial of equal protection of the law because of race, color, religion or national origin.

 

Title VII

 

The final title provides that any action brought under the bill may be brought without the necessity of exhausting administrative remedies.

 

Comment

 

Title I

 

The introductory part of the bill is important because, if adopted, it would mark the first specific approval of the Supreme Court’s anti-segregation decision by the Congress.

 

Title II

 

Title II would be of assistance to those communities which wish to proceed in good faith to comply with the Supreme Court decisions, but need advice and encouragement.

 

It would assist such communities in the necessary preparation for desegregation and help them avoid mistakes made in other communities.

 

Title III

 

Although the grants provided in this title to assist communities in desegregation would not be necessary if such communities had previously made proper provision for all students without regard to race, they can be justified as an extraordinary help that will ease the transition to a desegregated system. They should also encourage many communities now undecided to begin such a transition.

 

The grants to communities whose State funds have been cut off would support the principle of local option and should encourage more communities to defy these obviously unconstitutional State denials of funds.

 

Title IV

 

This part of the bill would provide an orderly administrative program for the formulation of desegregation programs for those areas where local officials fail to take the initiative.

 

It would undoubtedly speed up the desegregation process and make possible the initiation of programs in many communities where interested citizens are prevented from acting because of local pressures.

 

Title V

 

This title would provide the legal process for the enforcement of the plans formulated under Title IV. Such enforcement would occur only after all other methods of seeking compliance had failed.

 

Title VI

 

This is an expanded version of Part III of the Civil Rights Bill of 1957. It would protect persons denied equal protection of the laws because of race, color, religion or national origin, public officials who seek to vindicate equal protection of the laws, and persons and organizations who support equal protection.

 

Action by the Attorney General under this title would not be dependent upon action by the Department of Health, Education and Welfare under Title V, but could be taken at any time the conditions warrant.

 

This is the most comprehensive of all the versions of Part III.

 

Title VII

 

This last title would eliminate the delay required by exhaustion of administrative remedies in any case brought under the previous titles of the bill.

 

The Administration Program

 

The Administration, pursuant to the President’s Civil Rights Message of February 5, 1959, has submitted a seven point program. This program was submitted by Senator Dirksen (R., Ill.), the Minority Leader and Senator Goldwater (R., Ariz.) in seven separate bills, S. 955, S. 956, S. 957, S. 958, S. 959, S. 960 and S. 942.

 

Analysis

 

S. 955

 

This bill would make it a criminal offense to prevent, obstruct, impede or interfere with, by force or threat, or attempt to do so, the exercise of rights or performance of duties under any order, judgment or decree of court issued in a school desegregation case. It would not apply to a student, officer or employee of a school acting under direction of, or subject to disciplinary action, by school officials,

 

S. 956

 

This bill would make it a criminal offense to travel in interstate commerce to avoid prosecution or punishment for damage or destruction by fire or explosion of religious or school property.

 

S. 957

 

S. 957 would require election officials under criminal penalties to preserve registration and election records of Federal elections for three years and make theft, destruction or alteration of such records a criminal offense. It would make such records subject to examination by the Attorney General or his representative for confidential use by the Department of Justice.

 

District courts would be given jurisdiction to compel production of these election records.

 

S. 958

 

This bill would authorize appropriations for local educational agencies to aid desegregation programs. Such aid would be for non-teaching technical, professional and administrative personnel and for costs incurred in developing state desegregation programs.

 

Funds would be available to all states affected by the Supreme Court’s decisions. A state’s quota of the funds would be based on school attendance for the school year 1953-54. From a state’s allotment the Commissioner on Education would pay one-half of the expenses incurred by the State agencies for carrying out its plan of desegregation.

 

State plans for administering the funds would be formulated under criteria set out in the bill and approved by the Commissioner.

 

In the event a State fails to make application for funds, such funds could go directly to local educational agencies, with the State’s approval or if the States indicates it does not assume responsibility for desegregation.

 

The Commissioner is authorized to collect and disseminate information on progress of desegregation and to provide, upon request, information and technical assistance to State and local officials to aid them in developing desegregation programs.

 

Although the bill specifies no amount of expenditure, the estimate submitted by the Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare was for a total of $4,500,000 for the next two fiscal years.

 

S.959

 

S. 959 would amend Public Laws 815 and 874, 81st Congress, which establish the program of education aid to areas affected by Federal activities.

 

The proposed amendments would allow the Commissioner of Education to operate schools for all children of members of the Armed Services who are prevented from obtaining an education because of the closing of local public schools by State and local government action.

 

With respect to any schools constructed in the future under these public laws, the Commissioner would be authorized to take possession of them if they are not being used for providing free public education. Upon taking possession the Commissioner would be required to pay the local educational agency a rental fee, based on the local agency’s share of the cost of construction.

 

S. 960

 

S. 960 would extend the life of the Civil Rights Commission two years and require an interim report by September 1, 1959.

 

S. 942

 

The final bill of the Administration program would create a Commission on Equal Job Opportunity under Government Contracts.

 

The Commission would consist of fifteen members appointed by the President. It would have the authority to make investigations, studies and surveys and conduct hearings. It would be charged with the duty of making recommendations to the President and to government contracting agencies with respect to the preparation, revision, execution and enforcement of contract provisions relating to nondiscrimination.

 

Government contracting agencies would be charged with performing such duties requested by the President to cooperate with the Commission.

 

Comment

 

The chief disappointment of the Administration program is the failure of the President to renew his request for Part III of his Civil Rights Bill of 1957.

 

The manner in which the program was introduced, in seven separate bills, may make it difficult for the program to be considered in its entirety. This procedure may also give opponents of civil rights an opportunity to delay consideration by successive attacks on each component part. Some consideration should therefore be given to an omnibus bill containing the whole program.

 

S. 955

 

The present state of the law with respect to interference with rights under a Federal court decree is in a state of confusion. As a result of this, the Department of Justice has proceeded against obstructionists only as amicus curiae or on invitation of the courts.

 

This bill would give clear authority for the Department to investigate violence and threats and to prosecute those who seek to interfere with rights enunciated in the school desegregation cases. If passed, it should prove a great deterrent to the repetition of mob violence of the Clinton or Little Rock variety.

 

S. 956

 

The President’s message and the statement of the Attorney General indicate that this legislation will involve the FBI in investigation of all arson or bombings of schools and places of worship.

 

A reading of the bill, however, indicates that this is not a correct technical interpretation of the legislation. Such involvement of the FBI under this bill must be based on a presumption of interstate flight. Such a presumption could be made administratively, for investigative purposes, by the Department of Justice. But there is nothing in this bill to require such a presumption to be made. This could be corrected by writing such a presumption into the bill, such as is contained in the so-called Lindberg kidnapping law,

 

It should be noted that this bill does not relate to damage or destruction of business or residential property, as suggested by the Association.

 

S. 957

 

The purpose of this bill is to make all records relevant to voting in Federal elections available for inspection by the Department of Justice. It would be a great help to the Department in its investigation of voting cases under the Civil Rights Act of 1957.

 

The proposal to require such records to be retained for three years would block the proposal recently made in Alabama that voting officials destroy election records to cover up discrimination.

 

S. 958

 

The technical aid program proposed by this bill adopts the principle of the Douglas Bill, though on a greatly reduced scale both as to the extent of the program and the amount of aid to be given.

 

It could be of some help to those communities wishing to desegregate and in need of some help and encouragement to do so.

S. 959

 

This bill would guarantee continuing education to children of all servicemen where local schools close as a result of defiance of the Supreme Court decisions.

 

It would not, however, reach the basic defect in Public Laws 815 and 874—the failure to require that grants thereunder be used in conformity with the Supreme Court’s decisions.

 

The provision relating to the Commissioner’s taking possession of school buildings constructed under these laws would be of limited effect, as it would apply only to future construction.

 

S. 960

 

If the life of the Civil Rights Commission is to be extended, as proposed in this bill, consideration should be given to correction of the shortcomings of the Commission. Such shortcomings would include its composition, its tendency to restrict its authority and lack of authority to investigate except on sworn complaint.

 

S. 942

 

The Commission provided hereunder would replace the President’s Committee on Government Contracts, which operates under Executive Order.

 

The statutory duties and functions granted the Commission would not differ greatly from those now exercised by the Committee, except that it would be able to make its own investigations and conduct hearings.

 

It can only be hoped that such a Commission, with duties conferred by statute would be more effective than the present weak Committee.

 

To insure this, however, some enforcement power and a clear grant of jurisdiction, inclusive of the activities of labor unions as well as employers, should be given to the Commission.

 

Summary

 

The Douglas Bill, by specific reference, and the Javits Bill, by approval of the principle embodied therein, were approved by the last Annual Convention of the Association. Both, therefore, should be considered deserving of support by proponents of civil rights.

 

On the other hand, the Johnson Bill has nothing to recommend it to friends of civil rights. There is nothing in the bill which is not treated more adequately and constructively in other legislation pending in the Congress. In addition, it has one feature, the so-called conciliation provision, which could lead to the denial, dilution and delay of constitutional rights.

 

The anti-bombing provision of the bill is treated better in the Kennedy Bill (S. 188) and others, which provided for the legal presumption necessary to involve the FBI in investigations.

 

The subpoena power granted to the Department of Justice in voting cases is so hedged with delaying devices [as] to render it unacceptable. The Administration Bill treats this point much more directly and fully,

 

The extension of the life of the Civil Rights Commission is, of course, part of the Administration program as well as being the subject of several separate bills.

 

The following are members of the House and Senate committees to which civil rights bills have been referred:

HOUSE

Judiciary Committee

Education and Labor Committee

Emanuel Celler (D., N.Y.) Chairman

Francis E. Walter (D., Penna.)

Thomas J. Lane (D., Mass.)                                                    

Michael A. Feighman (D., Ohio)

Frank Chelf (D., Ky.)

Edwin E. Willis (D., La.)

Peter W. Rodino (D., N. J.)

E.L. Forrester (D., Ga.)

Byron G. Rogers (D., Colo.)

Harold D. Donohue (D., Mass.)

Jack Brooks (D., Tex.)

William M. Tuck (D., Va.)

Robert T. Ashmore (D., S.C.)

John Dowdy (D., Tex.)

Lester Holtzman (D., N.Y.)

Basil L. Whitener (D., N.C.)

Roland V. Libonati (D., Ill.)

J. Carlton Loser (D., Tenn.)

Herman Toll (D., Penna.)

Robert W. Kastenmeier (D., Wis.)

George Kasem (D., Calif.)

William McCulloch (R., Ohio)

William E. Miller (R., N.Y.)

Richard H. Poff (R., Va.)

Arch A. Moore, Jr., (R., W.Va.)

William C. Cramer (R., Fla.)

H. Allen Smith (R. Calif.)

George Meader (R., Mich.)

John E. Henderson (R., Ohio)

John V. Lindsay (R., N.Y.)

William T. Cahill (R., N.J.)

John H. Ray (R., N.Y.)

Graham Harden (D., N.C.) Chairman

Adam C. Powell, Jr., (D., N.Y.)

Cleveland M. Bailey (D., W.Va.)

Carl D. Perkins (D. Ky.)

Roy W. Wier (D., Minn.)

Carl Elliott (D., Ala.)

Phil M. Landrum (D., Ga.)

Edith Green (D., Ore.)

James Roosevelt (D., Calif.)

Herbert Zelenko (D., N.Y.)

Frank Thompson (D., N.J.)

Stewart L. Udall (D., Ariz.)

Elmer J. Holland (D., Penna.)

Ludwig Teller (D., N.Y.)

John H. Dent (D., Penna.)

Roman C. Puchinski (D., Ill.)

Dominick V. Daniels (D., N.J.)

John Brademas (D., Ind.)

Robert N. Giaimo (D., Conn.)

James G. O’Hara (R., Mich.)

Carroll D. Kearns (R., Penna.)

Clare E. Hoffman (R., Mich.)

Joe Holt (R., Calif.)

Stuyvesant Wainwright (R., N.Y.)

Peter Frelinghuysen, Jr., (R., N.J.)

William H. Ayres (R., Ohio)

Robert P. Griffin (R., Mich.)

John A. Lafore, Jr., (Penna.)

Edgar W. Hiestand (R., Calif.)

 

 

 

SENATE

Judiciary Committee

Labor and  Public Welfare Committee

James C. Eastland (D., Miss.),

Chairman

Estes Kefauver (D., Tenn.)

Olin D. Johnston (D., S.C.)

Thomas C. Hennings, Jr., (D., Mo.)

John L. McClellan (D., Ark.)

Joseph C. O’Mahoney (D., Wyo.)

Sam J. Irwin, Jr., (D., N.C.)

John A. Carroll (D., Colo.)

Thomas J. Dodd (D., Conn.)

Philip A. Hart (D., Mich.)

Alexander Wiley (R., Wis.)

William Langer (R., N.D.)

 Roman L. Hruska (R., Neb.)

Thomas E. Martin (R., Iowa)

 

Lister Hill (D., Ala), Chairman

James E. Murray (D., Mont.)

John F. Kennedy (D., Mass.)

Pat McNamara (D., Mich.)

Wayne Morse (D., Ore.)

Ralph W. Yarborough (D., Texas)

Joseph S. Clark (D., Penna.)

Jennings Randolph (D., W. Va.)

Harrison A. Williams (D., N.J.)

Barry Goldwater  (R. Ark. [Ariz.])

John Sherman Cooper (R., Ky.)

Everett M. Dirksen (R., Ill.)

Clifford P. Case (R., N.J.)

Jacob K. Javits (R., N.Y.)

Winston L. Prouty (R., Vt.)

                                                                                                                                    
The following bills introduced in the House correspond in general to the Senate bills as indicated:

 

S. 456 – H.R. 3148 (Celler, D., N.Y.); H.R. 618 (Powell, D., N.Y.) 

S. 810 – H.R. 3147 (Celler, D., N.Y.); H.R. 300  (Dawson, D., Ill.);

              H.R. 430   (Roosevelt, D., Calif.); H.R. 913 (Powell, D., N.Y.)

 

S. 942 – H.R. 4169 (Kearns, R., Penna.); H.R. 4348 (Celler, D., N.Y.)

 

S. 955 – H.R. 4339 (Celler, D., N.Y.)

 

S. 956 – H.R. 4344 (Celler, D., N.Y.)

 

S. 957 – H.R. 4338 (Celler, D., N.Y.)

 

S. 960 – H.R. 4342 (Celler, D., N.Y.)

 

H.R. 4457, introduced by Congressman McCulloch (R., Ohio), contains the provisions of S. 942, S. 955, S. 956, S. 957, S. 958, S. 959 and S. 960.

 

The analysis of civil rights bills set forth in this report was made by J. Francis Pohlhaus, Counsel of the Washington Bureau. While serving on the legal staff of the Civil Rights Section of the U.S. Department of Justice, Mr. Pohlhaus was able to evaluate the effectiveness of existing civil rights laws and to reach personal conclusions on how these laws could be strengthened. Since joining the Bureau staff, he has given extensive attention to the legislative steps that must be taken to meet the challenges in the civil rights field today.

 

 

 

 



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