The Papers of Clarence
and of the NAACP
Washington Bureau 1942 - 1978
Tables of Contents
Prof. Denton L.
December 21, 1950
ANNUAL REPORT OF THE
The work day of the Washington
Bureau often includes conferences and negotiations with the highest
government officials and the most humble of Washington citizens.
Across the desks of our staff members come problems that range from
discrimination in Continental United States, Alaska, and Korea to
legislative attempts to deprive colored Americans of gains that they
have won through the years. Washington is not just the Congress. It
is also the numerous executive agencies of government that
administer laws affecting our daily lives. In the Capital, the NAACP
is a David operating against a great many strongly supported,
loud-talking Goliaths. We never forget, however that the original
As a Christmas present to the Executive Secretary, the
Washington Bureau got out its first newsletter to all NAACP State
Conference presidents and other key supporters of our program.
In his original plans on the Bureau's functions, the Executive
Secretary included a provision for a newsletter. The first issue,
dated December 20, comes at a time when more than ever the friends
of civil rights need background information on what is happening on
the banks of the Potomac. Preparation of the letter is largely in
the hands of a hard-working young research assistant who is a new
addition to the bureau. He is Earle W. Fisher, graduate of Brown
University and Boston University Law School.
JIM-CROW TRIES TO
Anyone who thinks the South has given up on its attempts
to extend segregation in the Armed Services is very foolish. It is
well-known that the Air Force and the Navy have made substantial
progress in eliminating separate units and "all Colored"
considered the Selective Service Act this year, Jim Crow immediately
volunteered his services through his able spokesman, Senator Richard
Russell of Georgia.
By a fast move, Senator Russell
incorporated a pro-segregation amendment in the Selective Service
Act when it came before the Senate Armed Services Committee. The
Armed Services Committee of the Senate is heavily loaded with
southern members. The Russell amendment was offered at a time when
Senator Wayne Morse (R., Ore.) and Senator Leverett Saltonstall (R.,
Mass.), who are members, were absent.
The Russell proposal would have
required the Armed Services to advise a draftee that he could serve
in a segregated unit if he wished to do so. The members of the
committee who were present gave it unanimous approval. Any
officer who failed to tell the draftee of this right would have been
subject to court-martial. This would have cancelled out advances
made in the direction of integration in the Armed Services.
The NAACP obtained prompt and
vigorous objection to the amendment from Senator Morse and Senator
Saltonstall. The Association also alerted Senator Scott Lucas,
Majority Leader, to the serious dangers of the amendment. In the
period preceding the vote on Selective Service, the Association
rallied friendly senators who voted against the Russell Amendment.
It was defeated on June 21, 1950, by a vote of 42 to 29. The defeat
was accomplished by voting for an amendment offered by Senator Lucas
and others to strike out the Russell Amendment.
time this report is being written, Senator Russell is slated to be
the Chairman of the Armed Services Committee in the 82nd Congress.
A PRESIDENT FROM
MISSISSIPPI IN ‘52?
If a candidate from Mississippi ran for the Presidency
in 1952 under the present distribution of voting strength in the
country, he would lose. He would have a real chance to get in the
White House, however, if a proposed plan to change our system of
electing the President had passed in the 81st Congress.
This proposal passed the Senate
as S.J. Resolution 2. It had much support from liberal senators
because many of them did not seem to understand the underlying
threat of the measure. Most of them voted for it because they were
interested in making constructive reforms in our system of national
The NAACP carried the fight to
the House of Representatives. The measure was defeated there by a
vote of 210 to 134 on July 17.
During the debate in the House,
Congressman Clifford Case (R., N.J.), who led the fight against the
proposal, pointed out that if it had been in effect during the last
national election the State of Georgia alone would have had
greater influence in determining the outcome of the election than
most populous states outside the solid South.
Joining Mr. Case in opposing the
legislation, Congressman Chet Holifield (D., Cal.) said, "One
electoral vote in California represents 168,862 voters. In South
Carolina it represents 17,821 or about a 10 to 1 difference. This is
not changed by the Bill."
Both Mr. Case and Mr. Holifield
pointed out that because it would mean greater strength for
conservative factions, passage of the resolution at this time would
kill the chance of keeping civil rights legislation as a part of the
platforms of major parties.
The NAACP circulated a
memorandum among congressmen on the effect of the Lodge-Gossett
Resolution. The memorandum was prepared for the Association by Dr.
John A. Davis, Professor of Political Science, now teaching at Ohio
At the request of the NAACP, Dr.
Davis also addressed a special meeting of congressmen on March 6,
1950. The meeting was arranged by Congressman Holifield.
The Association supports reform,
but we want the kind of change which will bring greater democracy
and not increase the powers of the 'filibuster belt."
"LET'S NOT KILL
A familiar cry among liberals at the Capital is "Let's
not kill the bill by adding civil rights features." So far, southern
congressmen and senators have had a holiday whenever vital language
designed to protect civil rights was proposed as an amendment to
important legislation. Those who usually champion civil rights
legislation frequently denounce even the mildest of safeguards in
other bills. This has been true of housing, labor and education
bills. Very few of the members of the liberal bloc will even sponsor
much needed amendments.
The 81st Congress had before it
the question on whether the Railway Labor Act should be amended to
permit union shop and dues check-off contracts in that industry. At
the time this report is written the bill is under consideration in
It has passed the Senate.
It does not contain language suggested by the NAACP.
Senators and congressmen have advised the Association
that, as a compromise between the language we want and the
opposition of the southern bloc, the intent of Congress was spelled
out in committee reports on the legislation.
The Senate report states the
"During the course of the
hearings before the sub-committee, evidence was introduced showing
that the constitutions of some labor organizations established
qualifications for membership which cannot be met by some railroad
"The proposal was made by
Senator Lehman that your committee's intention be made clear that
such employees were not to be deprived of their employment as a
result of the exercise of the right extended by this bill.
"Your committee desires to make
it clear that the proviso clauses in paragraph eleventh (a) are
designed to protect such employees; thus if an employee is denied
membership or is eligible for membership only on terms and
conditions not generally applicable to other members, he cannot be
requested to give up the job because of failure to join a labor
"Furthermore, if membership is
denied or if an employee is expelled from membership for any reason
other than his failure to tender uniformly required periodic dues,
initiation fees and assessments, he cannot be required to relinquish
his job because of failure to join or remain a member of a labor
"Your committee also desires to
make it clear that nothing in this bill is intended to modify in any
way the requirement that the authorized bargaining representative
shall represent all the employees in the craft or class, including
non-union employees as well as members of the union, fairly,
equitably, and in good faith. (See Steele v. Louisville and
Nashville Railroad Co. 323 U.S. 192, and Tunstall v. Brotherhood of
Locomotive Firemen and Enginemen, 323 U.S. 210.)."
If the bill finally passes, with
this understanding, it means that victims of collusive agreements
between management and labor in the railroad industry will be in a
stronger position when they go into court. However, the NAACP's
proposal would have made court action unnecessary.
We testified on this bill
without difficulty in the Senate. Our testimony endorsed the union
shop and dues check-off but opposed granting this right to unions
that refused to abandon segregation.
The House Committee closed its hearing without
permitting us to testify. We talked with Congressman Crosser (D.,
Ohio), chairman of the House Committee, and discovered that someone
had given the committee the impression that the NAACP did not wish
to be present to testify. He agreed to reopen the hearings for the
purpose of taking our testimony. Mr. Joseph Waddy, counsel for
Colored Railway Employees, appeared with the NAACP.
When we appeared, almost the entire committee was
present. Also called to testify at the reopened hearings was Mr.
Theodore Brown, representing the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car
Porters. We have received favorable comment from congressmen
concerning the extent and value of the Association's testimony. The
fact that the hearings were reopened in response to the
Association's protest is a tribute to the prestige of our
organization and the fairness of the chairman of the committee.
Representatives of three railway labor unions visited
the Washington Bureau shortly before the fall recess of Congress to
ask that the Association refrain from pushing its proposed amendment
to the Railway Labor Act. The union representatives stated that they
thought the bill would pass if the Association did not insist on an
amendment against segregation. We advised the persons who visited
the office that the Boston Convention had gone on record supporting
a non-discrimination provision in the proposed Railway Labor Act
amendment. We also suggested that a great deal of time would be
saved in the future if those interested in legislation of this kind
would see that it contained appropriate language when it is first
The railway labor bill is discussed at length in this
report because it is typical of what we face in all legislation that
offers broad benefits to the average American. The Association
Conventions have gone on record requiring that appropriate
safeguards be sought when such bills are considered by Congress.
Later in this report we shall point out how this even touches upon
the treaty-making of the United States.
In this connection we, also,
report that the Director of the Washington Bureau represented the
Association at a conference called by the National Education
Association on Federal Aid to Education. This conference revealed
that we shall have the usual opposition to our non-segregation
amendment in the 82nd Congress. We are glad to note that the CIO
1950 Convention went on record for a non-segregation amendment in
proposed Federal Aid to Education legislation.
A SOCIAL SECURITY
CARD IN EVERY KITCHEN
The NAACP has worked for the inclusion of domestic and
agricultural workers in the Social Security Act ever since it was
first passed by Congress. The Director of the Bureau urged inclusion
of these groups in appearances before the Senate Committee on
Finance and the House Ways and Means Committee.
We pointed out that a million and a half colored people
were excluded from the Social Security Act because they worked in
The 81st Congress has at least
included domestics and a number of agricultural workers.
The Research Assistant has prepared and distributed an excellent
pamphlet on how this legislation helps domestics and agricultural
workers. If branches aid in distributing the pamphlet, there will be
a social security card in every kitchen.
RIGHT TO DISCRIMINATE
Prompt action by the NAACP won reconsideration of a vote
in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on a discriminatory
feature in the Bogota Treaty. This is an agreement between the
United States and Latin American Countries.
Foreign Relations Committee bowed to a southern demand that the
treaty be ratified with the reservation that chapters dealing with
civil rights issues would not be "self-executing.” Following NAACP
conferences with members of the Foreign Relations Committee and the
State Department, the Committee reconsidered its actions and struck
out the "self-executing" language.
Senators Green, Lodge, and
McMahon were very helpful in this matter. At the suggestion of the
Executive Secretary, top State Department officials met with
Association officers to handle the problem. Very valuable legal
assistance was given by the NAACP's advisors.
At the time this report is
written, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has refused to
report out favorably additional agreements on human rights because
of southern objection. It appears that southern members of the
Committee are willing to have the United States join in humanitarian
agreements as long as those agreements reserve the "right to
continue racial discrimination in our own country."
Here again, we are faced with a
struggle with our liberal friends who are reluctant to support a
fight against southern demands.
It is well known that the long delay in the Senate
Judiciary Committee in considering the confirmation of Judge William
H. Hastie was a cause of national concern.
A great part of the slow down
was due to tedious and unwarranted inquiries by a few committee
members. It should be noted, however, most members were impatient
because of the filibuster tactics.
Senator O'Conor (D., Md.)
considered the confirmation the first order of business on returning
from Switzerland where he was on government business. Senator
Kilgore (D., W.Va.) who also favored confirmation had to limp into
the meetings with a cane because of a broken ankle.
The final confirmation on the
Senate floor was by unanimous consent.
The problems in the civil rights
legislation fight have been thoroughly documented in NAACP
literature. It is presumed that the Secretary and the Administrator
will comment on this in their reports. Therefore, the Washington
Bureau will mention briefly certain false rumors.
There is one rumor that an FEPC
with no enforcement powers would have been acceptable to the
southern senators. This is false. It is reported that southern
members of Congress would have accepted a bill to repeal the poll
tax. This is false. All available evidence shows that if the Senate
had passed a poll tax repeal bill it would have been in the form of
a Constitutional amendment which would have been worthless.
Filibusters prevented consideration of civil rights
bills. Statehood for Alaska and Hawaii was killed by the filibuster
This points out the need for changing the Senate rules
In the closing days of the 81st
Congress, Senators Morse and Humphrey (D., Minn.) joined in
introducing a resolution requiring a simple majority to end a
filibuster. Senator Lehman and other Democrats have introduced a
somewhat similar proposal which provides a choice of two-thirds of
those present at the time of the vote after a 48-hour notice or a
simple majority of those present after eight days of debate.
Several Republicans who promised
to support the Lehman plan declined to do so just before it was
actually introduced. It is understood, of course, that at this time
the chief value of these resolutions is the educational effect they
will have on the public.
It is clear that there must be a
fight to change the Senate rules in the 82nd Congress.
was clear that the nation faced an emergency, the NAACP immediately
began working for an executive order to re-establish FEPC.
The proposed order is broader in scope than the World War II order
and contains enforcement powers.
The United States Department of Labor has agreed to our
request that racial designations be dropped on employment service
applications forms. It is also considering our request that no
discriminatory orders be accepted from defense plants. Secretary of
Labor Maurice Tobin has indicated that he favors this proposal also,
but the Department has not yet acted on it.
BARBER SHOPS AND
Down at Los Alamos, New Mexico, there is only one
barbershop on the Atomic Energy Project. The white barbers refused
to cut the hair of colored employees. Our Research Assistant
reported this to the Atomic Energy Commission. The barbers were
instructed to serve all customers. They went on strike. A new crew
was hired. Customers are now served without regard to race.
This incident shows how some
people would rather have segregation than the benefits of atomic
More problems of this kind will
arise in South Carolina where the government plans to begin a
Hydrogen Bomb project.
Therefore, the Bureau has asked the A.E.C. to make certain that the
racial patterns of South Carolina are not imposed on the project.
We pointed out that 42.9 per
cent of the population of South Carolina is colored and with any
intelligent use of the local labor supply a large number of colored
people will be employed. We have asked that there be no
discrimination or segregation in employment, housing, or other
There are a number of
incidents in which colored men are required to eat in separate
establishments when they are being processed for induction into the
The Director of the Washington
Bureau and the Research Assistant, met with Captain F. B. C. Martin,
Head of the Recruitment Division, United States Navy, on Friday,
September 29, 1950, to discuss the Navy’s policy in the handling of
volunteers and draftees who are inducted into the Service.
The complaint against the Navy
came from Birmingham, Alabama. Mr. Fisher has similar information
about the Department of the Army. The Director also received
allegations of segregation involving the Army and Air Force in West
After consideration of this
problem, the National Board of the NAACP voted to request that no
draftees or volunteers be housed or fed in segregated
The Board also asked that where privately owned establishments
insist on segregation, the Armed Services be required to refrain
from using such facilities and instead, house and feed draftees or
volunteers on military posts or other government facilities. This
request has been submitted to Secretary of Defense Marshall and the
Secretaries of the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force.
LT. LEON GILBERT
The Director of the Bureau and Mr. Frank Reeves,
Washington Legal Representative, joined with lawyers from York,
Pennsylvania, to represent Lt. Leon Gilbert who was sentenced to
death by court-martial in Korea for alleged misconduct in the face
of the enemy. The lawyers from York were Mr. Judson Ruch and Mr.
William Wogan. The hearing was held before the Judicial Council of
the Judge Advocate General’s Office. Mr. Ruch and Mr. Wogan argued
that Lt. Gilbert had not had a fair trial in Korea. In addition, it
was contended that (1) the original court-martial had committed a
technical error, and (2) that by the Army’s own definitions Lt.
Gilbert was not responsible for any misconduct.
Mr. Reeves reminded the Council
the record did not include available evidence favorable to Lt.
Gilbert and this suggested the need for further investigation.
Racial discrimination in the Army, the Director also pointed out to
the Council, makes the case of grave importance.
negotiations with the Secretary of the Army’s office and the office
of the Judge Advocate General on this matter, we raised the question
of whether other officers were charged with similar offenses and
sentenced to death during World War II. We have been advised by the
office of the Judge Advocate General as follows:
“During the period from 1942 to
1948, ninety-three officers were charged with misbehavior before the
enemy in violation of Article of War 75. In that same period, of all
cases in which the accused were convicted and sentences to death
adjudged there was none in which the sentence to death was
One Army board held that there
were not sufficient legal grounds for the conviction of Lt. Gilbert.
This was over-ruled and a sentence of thirty years was recommended.
The President cut the thirty-year sentence to twenty years.
WHITE ON THE
Two Army officers received orders to report for duty.
Both were colored. On their orders they were listed as white. We
have used this incident to show the Armed Services that racial
designations are meaningless. We are working for the elimination of
In a meeting of the Advisory Council of the Bureau of
Employment Security, the Director joined with AFL and CIO
representatives in passing a resolution urging that our Government
refrain from recruiting foreign workers for agriculture until the
available supply of American labor is adequately used. The Director
also introduced a resolution, which was passed, recommending that in
the recruitment and placement of foreign labor the Employment
Service make maximum use of bona fide labor organizations. We
submitted considerable evidence to the group showing that this had
not been done in the past.
Secretary Maurice J. Tobin of
the United States Department of Labor advised us that, while he did
not agree with the resolution restricting use of foreign labor, he
would recommend to the President that a commission be appointed to
study the economic and social problems of agricultural workers and
to suggest to the President a corrective program.
The commission was appointed by
the President and made an investigation of the problem. The Director
appeared at a hearing before the commission and submitted
information. He also criticized the failure to name a colored member
of the group. Association branches were also asked to testify at
hearings in various sections of the country.
The Washington Bureau was able to eliminate segregation
in the eating facilities of two veterans hospitals during the year.
However, files of our office reveal many types of serious
We have received from Louisiana
a complaint involving a training program. The complainant is a
school principal who has been giving instructions to veterans for
several years. His wife was dismissed from the school system when
she expressed an interest in taking court action to eliminate salary
differentials. Later, white school officials advised the complainant
that his school for veterans would not be approved unless he forced
colored persons to cease court action against the local school
board. We presented this matter to the training officials of the
Veterans Administration and the Department of Justice. Both agencies
advised that they are at work on it.
In November, a doctor advised
the Director that the Fort Howard (Maryland) Hospital refused to
accept a colored T. B. patient because no beds were available for
colored persons. The Director worked with representatives of the
Veterans Administration and obtained correction of this specific
case. The patient was faced with an acute problem and possibly might
have died if he had not been admitted to the hospital. This case and
others like it remind us that the Veterans Administration has not
eliminated segregation in all of its hospitals. The Veterans
Administration is also guilty of numerous types of job
discrimination in its hospitals.
The Research Assistant has
produced a comprehensive memorandum on discriminatory practices of
the Veterans Administration. We are recommending that the Executive
Secretary submit it to the President.
SEGREGATION IN THE
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
This summer, six swimming pools of the District of
Columbia were operated on a non-segregated basis. There was no
trouble. Southern members of Congress sought to get a vote on H.R.
5968 which would have transferred the pools from the Department of
the Interior to the local Board of Recreation. This would have
At the suggestion of the
Director, President Stephen Spottswood of the D. C. Branch called a
meeting for May 4, 1950, to make an all-out campaign of
Congressional contacts to defeat the bill. The response was so great
that the bill never reached the floor.
HOME RULE FOR
The Senate passed a Home Rule Bill for the District of
Columbia. The House committee for the District refused to report it
The Washington Bureau sent out
an urgent appeal on the District of Columbia Home Rule Bill to key
branches during the Labor Day recess of Congress. The purpose of
this appeal was to get branches to talk with congressmen while they
were at home and urge them to sign the discharge petition which
would have brought the Home Rule Bill to the floor.
In a surprise move, eleven
members of the House withdrew their names from the discharge
petition when approximately 211 of the 218 signatures needed were
obtained. Congressmen Henderson Lanham of Georgia made this
interesting comment in explaining why he had withdrawn his name. “I
thought it would be letting the people here in for domination by the
same people I had trouble with recently in the lobbying committee, a
combination of Communists and Negroes.”
Congressman Plumley of Vermont
also attacked Home Rule on the ground that it would give too much
power to colored people in Washington. He was soundly spanked by
letters and editorials in the Vermont newspapers.
Restaurant discrimination still remains a problem in
Washington. The Association has one case of its own on this subject
and is cooperating on another.
Numerous routine complaints and problems must be handled
in the Washington Bureau. The Research Assistant carries a great
part of this load. We do not list these in this report because of
its length. However, we do intend to prepare a small publication on
the variety of problems before us.
VOTING RECORDS OF
The Washington Bureau and Miss Julia Baxter of the New
York office jointly prepared the voting record of congressmen and
During the year, the Bureau representative filled
numerous speaking engagements. The Director covered several thousand
miles in travel. The Navy Department invited the Director to spend
seven days as its guest in a shore establishment and at sea.
However, because of the pressure of work, the Director was unable to
accept. Several government agencies have asked the Director to serve
on various advisory committees. He has accepted as often as he could
without interfering with other duties.
After Mitchell concluded his presentation of this report to
the NAACP annual meeting, Walter White offered the following
resolution, which was adopted:
WHEREAS, there are forces at work in our country which tend
to step-up their anti-Negro activities during war
emergencies, thereby creating dissension and disunity, and
WHEREAS, all such elements in Birmingham, Alabama have
continuously bombed homes of Negroes resulting in deaths,
personal injuries and destruction of property, and
WHEREAS, the Ku Klux Klan is using force and intimidation
throughout the States of Georgia and South Carolina even to
the extent of stoning the home of a federal judge [J. Waties
Waring*] in South Carolina who insisted on enforcing the
Constitution impartially, and
WHEREAS, state law enforcement authorities in Alabama,
Georgia and South Carolina have demonstrated their complete
unwillingness to do anything to counteract this lawlessness
or to protect its citizens from such lawlessness,
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Annual Meeting of the
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
calls upon the Attorney General of the United States [J.
Howard McGrath] to take such forthright action as will
demonstrate to this lawless force, public officials of the
states involved, the country and world in general, that our
Government is determined to protect the lives and property
of all of its citizens from lawlessness and to guarantee to
all of its citizens the right to live and work unmolested by
lawless elements without regard to race, creed or color.
[Minutes of the NAACP Annual Meeting, 1/2/51, EC. *Kluger,
Simple Justice, 301.
Waring’s home in Charleston, South Carolina, was stoned
following threats. On 10/6/50, White sent a telegram to
McGrath urging that “all necessary and proper precautions to
prevent what may be a tragedy both for the Wairings and the
prestige of America” and again urged him to protect the
judge and his wife. Report of the Executive Secretary,
See, among others, 7/17/50; and, in appendix, 12/31/50.
The Senate passed the amended bill (S. 3295) on 12/11/50.
It tabled an amendment to deny protection of the Railway
Labor Act to any union that segregated minorities or denied
them membership. “But it adopted by voice vote a committee
amendment specifying that no union shop agreement permitted
by the bill could require union membership of persons who
were denied membership or equal status in the union for any
reason other than failure to pay dues and assessments.”
Congress and the Nation, 588. See House action at n. 9
below; and Watson, Lion in the Lobby, 294-95.
Bemoaning this loss, Mitchell, in a letter of 12/18/50 to
Senator Irving M. Ives (R-NY), said that if the NAACP’s
nondiscrimination amendment had passed, he said, “we would
have been able to stop” the “cruel and incredible types of
discrimination which result from collusive agreements
between management and labor.” Since it failed, he said,
civil rights forces “must continue long and costly efforts
in the courts to accomplish democratic results.” He
expressed his distress that Senator Scott Lucas, the
majority leader, had called the amendment an FEPC bill, as
others had done. “This designation was used to kill
consideration of it.” Unlike FEPC legislation, which sought
to protect minorities against discrimination when they
sought employment, upgrading or training, he said, the
amendment to the Railway Labor Act merely sought to protect
workers who were already employed from being fired by unfair
tactics. NAACP WB-160, DLC.
The Senate on
12/11/50 tabled on a 64-17 roll call, the amendment that
would have denied the provisions of the act to labor
organizations that segregated or excluded blacks. The House
rejected a similar attempt by a 61-284 roll call vote on
1/1/51. Congress and the Nation, 1618.
On 7/19/50, without opposition, the Senate confirmed William
H. Hastie as a judge on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals,
Third Circuit Court. President Truman had announced the
appointment 10/15/49. Hastie thus became the first African
American to serve to serve on the Court of Appeals. A former
governor of the Virgin Islands, he had been serving under a
recess appointment. Opposition to his appointment,
ostensively, was based on charges that he had been a member
of the left-wing National Lawyers Guild and other alleged
Communist front organizations. NYT, 7/18/50, 48;
7/20/50, 50; 7/21/50, 18. See also Crisis (January
The success of
Hastie’s appointment resulted in part from the NAACP’s
extensive mobilization of support that was led by Walter
White. Report of the Secretary to the Board of Directors,
See headnote on Struggle to Abolish the Poll Tax.
Ivy, “Editors Speak on the Senate Filibuster,” Crisis
(June 1950): 170-73.
See Newsletter, 9/21/51, on the continuing battle over Rule
Mitchell and several supporters began working to get a new
FEPC executive order in July. Mitchell memorandum to Roy
Wilkins, 7/17/50, NAACP II: A-257, DLC.
the intensive strategy Mitchell continued to develop were
his concerns that the Republicans were unlikely to pass up
an opportunity to try to embarrass the President by
precipitating a floor fight on some civil rights
legislation, and, at the same time, withholding enough votes
in the Senate to prevent final passage of such legislation.
See his “Tentative Suggestions on Civil Rights Legislative
Program in the 82nd Congress” that he prepared
for Walter White’s review prior to distributing it to the
staff for discussion, 11/28/50, in NAACP II: A-185, DLC.
See, in appendix, 12/20/50, for a fuller report; and
introduction and headnote on Struggle for Federal FEPC, for
use of letter, 12/27/50, from Maurice J. Tobin to Frederick
J. Lawton, director, Bureau of Budget, explaining the
difference between the wartime E.O. 9346 and the proposed
E.O. 10308. E.O. 10308 was issued on 12/3/51.
Mitchell’s concerns were aroused by the AEC’s announcement
of new production sites in Aiken and Barnwell counties,
South Carolina. Press release, 11/28/50, in NAACP WB-8, DLC.
See 12/4/50 for the most recent prior development, and
2/5/51 for Mitchell’s detailed report on the “‘H’-Bomb
Project in South Carolina;” see also Earle Fisher’s report,
12/28/50 on the meeting by him and Mitchell with AEC
officials to discuss approaches to keeping racial
discrimination out of the South Carolina project in NAACP
See 12/4/50, and 2/2/51. The Army’s nine training divisions
were integrated by March 1951. Morris, Integration of the
Armed Forces, 1940-1965, 435-36.
told Marshall the NAACP was asking “that no volunteers or
draftees be housed or fed in segregated establishments in
the process of induction. We also ask that in the South,
where privately owned establishments insist on segregation,
the Armed Services be required to house and feed draftees or
volunteers on military posts or in other government
facilities.” He also asked for an opportunity to discuss the
NAACP’s recommendations with Marshall or appropriate DOD
officials he had designated. Draft of White letter to George
C. Marshall, secretary of Defense, NAACP WB-141, DLC. See
also, among others, 12/4/50, 1/31/51.
The Legal Department and the Washington Bureau had the chief
responsibility for defending accused African American GIs in
the courts and in seeking legislation to protect them. In
the case of Lieutenant Gilbert, the Legal Department
assigned Frank Reeves, its Washington representative, to
appear before the Board of Review of the Judge Advocate
General’s office to represent him. For the broader
implications of this case, see “Top Priority for
Servicemen,” NAACP Annual Report, 1950, 20-21. For a
comprehensive report on the cases in Korea and other cases
that the NAACP handled, see “The Armed Services,” NAACP
Annual Report, 1951, 48-53. See also 11/3 and 12/4/50;
Report of the Executive Secretary, 1/2/51, on court martial
cases in Korea, in Minutes, 1/2/51, EC; and Marshall,
“Summary Justice,” Crisis (May 1951): 297-304,
working on these cases was Jack Greenberg, assistant special
counsel, who on 1/19/51, provided Mitchell with “copies of
almost all the memoranda” he had so far sent to Thurgood
Marshall, NAACP special counsel, on courts martial involving
Greenberg said the NAACP’s legal department was submitting
briefs in those cases in which the lawyers felt at least
some appealable issue existed in the record. In all other
cases, which were the great majority, the lawyers had
requested that the War Department defer hearings until after
Marshall’s return from Korea on the ground that the
conferences between counsel and accused were necessary for
the preparation of their defense. Greenberg’s letter to
Mitchell, 1/19/51, MP. Based on Greenberg’s letter, for a
record of these cases from Korea, see collection of the
N.A.A.C.P. Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., DLC.
See, among others, 12/4/50, 2/2/51; and, in appendix,
See memorandum, “Unfair Racial Policies of the Veterans
Administration,” from Earle Fisher to Mitchell, 12/19/50, in
NAACP WB-185, DLC; and, most immediately, 12/4/50, 5/3/51.
Both the NYT and Truman favored legislation to grant
home rule to D.C. “Goats in Washington,” editorial, NYT,
8/16/50, 28; NYT, 8/18/50, 22. See also 5/31,
10/2/50; “Should District of Columbia Citizens Have the
Right to Vote?” Senior Scholastic, 10-11.
“The 81st Congress: NAACP Survey’s Its Record,”
in Fair Employment Practice Committee, 1948-55, folder,
NAACP IX: 67, DLC.
Report of Washington Bureau
Months of June, July and August
[August 31, 1951]
Senate Rules Change
Hearings have been set for the first
two weeks in October on proposed changes in the Senate rules
on limitation of debate.
List of possible witnesses have been agreed upon in meetings
with interested organizations.
Senator McFarland has announced that he hopes the Senate
will be able to adjourn on October 1. However, this is a
subject of some debate at this time and it is difficult to
know whether the October 1 adjournment will actually take
place. In any event, plans are going forward for the October
Housing problems of minority groups
in the United States are at a critical stage.
The Federal Government is underwriting or supporting in
various ways the building of public housing, private
housing, and slum clearance programs. We have considerable
evidence that in many instances the Federal Government is
actually promoting the extension of racial segregation. We
have prepared a statement on this which it is presumed the
Secretary will bring up at the Board meeting.
When S. 349, the Defense Housing
Bill, was under consideration, Senators Douglas and Ives,
after unsuccessfully seeking incorporation of
non-segregation amendments in the Bill
itself, did obtain a statement in the Committee Report on
the Bill concerning equality of treatment.
When the Bill was debated in the House, non-segregation
amendments were kept off of the floor by the Administration
with one exception. This exception was Congressman Javits'
amendment dealing with community facilities. This amendment
was defeated because it was opposed by Congressman Multer of
New York. Congressman Multer argued that he had been assured
by the Housing Agencies that the problem raised by
Congressman Javits was being taken care of by administrative
Following the passage of the Bill, Congressman Multer
discussed his position at length, both in correspondence and
personally, with the Director of the Bureau. He stated that
he was going to take the problem to the President.
The Bureau prepared a memorandum for
He sent a letter to the President urging action.
Other Congressmen have followed suit. The Bureau has also
outlined the problem to Mr. Raymond Foley, Administrator of
the Housing and Home Finance Agency, by letter and in
conversation. It is clear, however, the NAACP must plan some
dramatic action in this field. Also, it is clear that on the
basis of our legislative experience, we are the only major
organization in the country that has taken an all out
position against segregation in housing. There are many
other organizations that agree with the principle of no
segregation, but either oppose or are indifferent to the
possibility of having this principle included in
legislation. Therefore, it seems important that, in any
action planned on the housing front, the NAACP must take the
leadership, although it would be well to welcome the support
of other organizations.
In the March Report of the
Washington Bureau, we mentioned that Senators who sponsored
an NAACP amendment to the Draft Bill had agreed to meet with
the Department of Defense to discuss ways of speeding up
integration. These Senators would not agree to place a
non-segregation amendment on the floor for debate in the
Draft and Universal Military Training Bill, but said that
they would work for acceleration of the program of
integration in the Armed Services. Six of them met at the
Department of Defense on March 5, 1951. They obtained a
pledge that the Universal Military Training Program would
function on a non-segregated basis and they also obtained
certain pledges on action to advance integration. Therefore,
the recent announcement that the Army would abolish
segregation in the Far Eastern Theater is one of the first
concrete results of this conference.
The following statement from an official of the Department
of Defense to one of the Senators is submitted for the
"I feel very strongly that
whatever advances have been made in the elimination of
discrimination and segregation in the Army, recently, should
be credited not only to officials in the Department of
Defense, but also to you and the Senators who are associated
"I feel, as you do, that
things still remain which must be done to eliminate race and
color segregation in the Army, and I am certain that every
effort will be made to accomplish this desirable goal."
The Senator who received this
communication felt that it would not be advisable to make it
public, hence, the names of the Defense official and the
Senator are not included in this written report. We have
been assured that plans are under consideration for an
announcement concerning integration of the Armed Services in
the European Theater. Regrettably, full integration at home
appears to be last on the list.
We have been somewhat depressed by
the difficulty we have encountered in getting legislation
designed to protect members of the Armed Services against
assaults and physical violence introduced in the Senate.
The delay has been caused by factors which are beyond the
control of Senator Lehman, who is the chief sponsor of this
bill. Mr. Julius Edelstein of his office has done a splendid
job in assuring full support of Government agencies for this
bill. So far, he has obtained clearance from the Department
of Defense, the Treasury Department, and the Department of
Justice. The Department of Defense has promised a statement
on instances in which violence occurred and also has
promised to define what is meant by the word "duty," since
this appears to be a matter of considerable importance in
the minds of members of the Senate.
Unfortunately, Senators Wiley,
Ferguson, and O'Connor who are members of the Senate
Judiciary Committee have not pledged that they will sponsor
this legislation. Their sponsorship would do much to
increase its chances of passage. We have not yet given up
hope of getting them. The CIO has suggested that the bill be
amended to exclude the possibility of having it apply to
Segregation on AEC Projects
The Atomic Energy Commission advised
the Director of the Washington Bureau at a luncheon meeting
that, pursuant to NAACP urging, it had instructed all
contractors at Paducah and South Carolina that there would
be no segregation in "cafeterias, eating facilities,
wash-rooms, lavatories, etc." This action was taken by AEC
after a careful study of practices of non-segregation on
several southern Army posts. Senator Maybank, according to
the Augusta Chronicle, has issued a statement
implying that AEC appropriations may be cut because of this
The AEC has also advised that it was
assigning one of its top employees to make a special drive
for eliminating the bottlenecks which in the past have
prevented qualified colored people from getting skilled jobs
with AEC or its various contractors. This official was also
present at the luncheon. At the Bureau's request, the AEC
confirmed its non-segregation policy in writing. It was also
agreed that a meeting on problems of South Carolina
employment and other matters would be held in that state
with AEC officials on September 17. This meeting has been
The Director of the Washington
Bureau wishes to point out that the mere adoption of a
policy does not assure that there will be absolutely no
segregation on the project. However, with this policy in
hand, the Association can police these projects effectively
and stamp out segregation. The value of such a program
cannot be over estimated. Also, such effective legal action
as can be undertaken will help to make the AEC operations in
the South a model of industrial activity.
Congressman Cox of Georgia has
introduced H. Res. 364 which provides for an investigation
of foundations that to quote him have "disbursed funds
irresponsibly to aid organizations which made a profession
of stirring up class and race dissention throughout the
The list of persons cited by Cox as Communist fronters
includes Dr. Ira D. Reid and Miss Lillian Smith. This
resolution has been reported out by the Rules Committee.
Apparently, Cox brought it up at a time when members pledged
to oppose it were not present. Unfortunately, these members
have been very non-committal on whether they were actually
at the meeting which, of course, was closed.
Both Congressman Dawson and Majority
Leader, John McCormack, have pledged their opposition to
this resolution. At the time this report is written, we have
not yet obtained a commitment from Minority Leader, Joseph
Martin, although we are still seeking it. We have placed the
problem before him and hope that he will pledge opposition
to the Resolution. The House will return for business on
September 12. At that time, Cox may seek to bring up this
Resolution and we are urging all liberal Congressmen to be
on hand to defeat it.
in VA Hospitals
In the May report, we pointed out
that H. R. 314, Congressman Rankin's Jim-Crow Hospital Bill
was on the calendar for action in the House. We are glad to
report that this measure was defeated by a vote of 223 to
Some indication of what conditions would be like if the bill
had passed is given by a case we have received from Alabama.
In this situation, a veteran who was in need of treatment in
Montgomery, Alabama, was sent to Tuskegee for treatment
because that was "the facility for colored veterans"
although there was a hospital within four miles of his home.
The hospital at Tuskegee is forty miles from his home.
We have taken this matter up with
the Veterans Administration and, although we have received
one report from Admiral J. T. Boone, Chief Medical Director
of the Veterans Administration, we are not satisfied with it
and we are taking further action.
Another illustration of the constant
Jim-Crow tendencies in the Veterans hospitals has come from
the institution located at Kecoughtan, Virginia. Here, the
local officials of the hospital placed a sign over a door
leading to the dining-room designating it as a colored
entrance. We received an anonymous complaint on this and
promptly took action. The hospital authorities demurred, but
finally removed the sign.
In a number of our reports, we have
mentioned the consistent work which has been done by Mr.
Fisher of the Washington Bureau staff on problems of colored
officers in the Maritime industry. A small reward has come
through his efforts in that the Merchant Vessel Booker T.
Washington has been restored to active service and one of
the colored officers who has been a complainant has been
hired by the Luckenbach Steamship Company which operates the
Mr. Fisher's plan of action,
however, includes a much more extensive attack on this
problem. He has advised the Maritime Administration of the
Department of Commerce that "Articles 1, 2, and 12 of the
General Agency Agreement between the Administration and the
ship operators place sufficient power and authority in the
National Shipping Authority to insist and demand that the
agent shipping companies discontinue immediately their
denial of employment to colored Merchant Marine officers
solely because of race." Mr. Fisher indicates that there
are 160 ships taken out of the "lay up" fleet because of
Government demands. These vessels have openings for nearly
one thousand officers.
As we gear up for the defense
program, there is continuing evidence for the need of
national fair employment practice machinery.
In our report of May 1951, we mentioned that the employment
service in the City of Baltimore has been guilty of
extensive discrimination in making referrals to Government
agencies. An investigation of these complaints has shown
that the local employment service received over a hundred
discriminatory requests from Government agencies. This
report was promptly squelched by state officials who sent,
instead, a statement to Washington that they had found no
The national office of the
employment service, at our request, has been negotiating
with officials of the Capital Transit Company to obtain
agreement that colored people will be employed as platform
operators. So far, no favorable results have been reported.
We have also been granted time to oppose a fare increase
requested by the Capital Transit Company before the Public
Utilities Commission on September 24.
We have received reports of
discrimination from Ford plants in Norfolk, Virginia, and
Chicago, Illinois. It appears that in these cases
cooperation of the contracting agencies and the United
Automobile Workers may produce some favorable results. On
the other hand, the Caterpillar Tractor Company of Peoria,
Illinois, engaged in extensive recruitment in Alabama, but,
although it used the facilities of the employment service in
Illinois and Alabama, refused to take any colored
applicants. The Illinois Employment Service has said it
is powerless to halt this kind of discrimination.
The Bendix Aviation Corporation
Plant in Kansas City, Missouri, which is working on an
Atomic Energy Commission contract, refused to employ colored
girls who applied for jobs as clerk typists. The
complainants left the establishment, and, on calling over
the telephone, were told that there were plenty of openings.
Apparently, the employer thought that the telephone callers
were white. This matter has been placed before the Atomic
Energy Commission and the Bendix Aviation Corporation Plant
by the Washington Bureau.
A great many other complaints of
this kind are coming into our office and we are seeking to
obtain some adjustments with the help of the contracting
agencies. However, these complaints emphasize the fact that
discrimination is still with us in spite of the high level
of employment and numerous improvements in various parts of
We have been advised that the
legislative difficulties that the President has encountered
on various parts of his program have effectively prevented
issuance of an executive order on fair employment practice.
However, it appears that the possibility of getting such an
order is not entirely lost.
Congressman Gossett of Texas has
resigned from Congress, but his H. J. Res. 19, which
eliminates the electoral college, has been reported out of
the House Judiciary Committee and the Senate Judiciary
Committee. In the Senate, this Resolution is sponsored by
Senator Lodge of Massachusetts.
We have been advised that these actions were taken as a kind
of farewell present to Congressman Gossett. However, we are
making plans for conducting a floor fight, as we did
successfully in the House last year, if it is necessary.
Senator Lodge discussed his position on this with us.
It is as follows:
1: He did not seek
action in the Senate Judiciary Committee and was out of town
at the time the measure was reported out of
committee. He will not seek favorable action on it
unless it is passed by the House.
2: If the House passes the Resolution, he will
give us another opportunity to argue the merits of our
opposition before he seeks action on the floor.
During the Month of July, the
proprietor of a night club known as the Chickland Cafe
decided to open the establishment for colored patrons in an
effort to boost his business. This cafe is located at
Capitol Heights in Maryland, just across the District line.
Although the proprietor expected to attract colored business
mainly, he also admitted white patrons. This action resulted
in mob violence and the destruction of his property by white
residents in the town of Capitol Heights. Extensive reports
have been written on this incident and recommendations for
action have been made. It is clear that the hoodlums who
caused the trouble had also caused trouble when the
establishment was operated for white patrons only.
Apparently, these elements had the full support of the local
law enforcement officers in Capitol Heights.
The Director of the Washington
Bureau accompanied Mr. Emory O. Jackson to a meeting in the
Department of Justice for the purpose of seeking action on
numerous police killings in Birmingham and Alabama. Mr.
Jackson submitted information showing that since 1948 the
Alabama police have murdered 52 colored people. Twenty-six
of these killings occurred in the City of Birmingham. Peyton
Ford, Deputy Attorney General, has advised that the
Department of Justice is investigating these complaints. Mr.
Ford has since resigned from the Department, but it appears
that the investigation is continuing.
Being mindful of the fact that, when
the national airport was being constructed, plans to have a
segregated arrangement for handling colored passengers were
perfected with the acquiescence of the Department of
Commerce, we have asked Secretary Charles Sawyer to give
assurance that the new airport which will be built at Burke,
Virginia, will not have segregated facilities. Secretary
Sawyer stated that "it will be a long while before there
will be any need to face the problem of segregation at the
Burke Airport. We will not have acquired the property for
many months and after that many other things must be done
before it will be in operation. I can assure you, however,
that so far as it lies within my power there will be no
We have received a complaint from a
passenger on the Atlantic Coast Line who charges that the
railroad forced her to sit in a Jim-Crow coach, although
numerous seats were available in modern coaches set aside
for white people. We have taken this matter up with the
Atlantic Coast Line Railroad.
Residents in the vicinity of the
Rosedale playground in Washington have asked the Washington
Bureau to act in their behalf because colored children are
barred from play. Nearly one hundred parents signed a
petition requesting action.
At a meeting with representatives of the parents, Mr. Frank
Reeves, Chairman of the Washington Branch Legal Redress
Committee and other citizens, plans were made for legal
action. Mr. Reeves has filed one suit on behalf of another
group of parents in another area and plans similar action on
behalf of the parents in the Rosedale area.
Friends of the Association have
prepared a very impressive letter for the signature of the
Director of the Washington Bureau setting forth the legal
arguments on why the Commissioners in the District of
Columbia have ample authority to end segregation in all play
areas. This document, which was four pages in length, has
been submitted to the Commissioners of the District.
Mr. Fisher also appeared on behalf of the Association and
made a presentation at a public hearing held by the District
Commissioners. The action of the Bureau is designed to
supplement the action of the Washington NAACP Branch.
NAACP II: A-656, DLC.
The date 8/31/51 is assigned for editorial
In his 2/2/51 report, Mitchell presented the
legislative picture in the House and Senate. But
until he could remove the filibuster roadblock,
passage of civil rights legislation was nothing but
a dream. His 6/21/51 revised report to Walter White
on the “Status of Civil Rights Legislation in the 82nd
Congress” reinforced his concern about the
To date, 40 bills and two
resolutions on Civil Rights have been introduced in
the House. These include three worthless compromise
measures offered by Congressmen Hayes of Arkansas
and Rogers of Florida.
In the Senate, there are seven
civil rights bills and three resolutions on this
subject. Senator Lehman and others have introduced
an anti-filibuster resolution which is, of course,
the key to passing Civil Rights legislation in the
The bills introduced in the House
include four submitted to Congress by the Department
of Justice. They are H.R. 28, the Anti-Lynching
Bill; H.R. 29, the Omnibus Civil Rights Bill; H.R.
1320, which would eliminate the Poll Tax, and a new
Bill, H.R. 2118. H.R. 2118 proposed to amend
Sections 1581, 1583, and 1584 of Title 18, U.S.
Code, so as to prohibit attempts to commit the
offenses therein proscribed (slavery and peonage).
All of these bills have been introduced in the
House. On June 25, Senator Humphrey will introduce
these in the Senate.
It is important to note that five
FEPC bills have been introduced in the House.
However, their fate is sealed because they have been
referred to the Labor Committee headed by Barden of
North Carolina. The Senate Bill would be given
friendly committee consideration, but there is the
filibuster hurdle to be overcome.
Other Civil Rights legislation
proposed includes Abolition of Segregation on Common
Carriers, no discrimination in the National Health
Insurance Program, no discrimination in Educational
Finance; Fair Housing Practices, and Equal Rights
Act for the District of Columbia.
Congressman Clifford Case of New
Jersey and Franck Havenner of California have
introduced bills to protect members of the Armed
Serivces against assault and other violence at the
hands of civilians or peace officers. A similar bill
is being prepared for introduction in the Senate.
[6/21/51 memorandum to Walter White, in NAACP
See NAACP Washington
Bureau Newsletter, 9/21/51, on Senate Cloture Rule
in appendix; 10/4, 11/5, 23/5, 12/25/51; editorial,
“Still No FEPC,” The Crisis (June-July,
1951), 395; Report of the Secretary, September 1951;
Mitchell’s article, “These are the Issues,” in
The Crisis (October 1952), 483-486, and Watson,
Lion in the Lobby, 166-70.
Pressing Mitchell to seek changes in the cloture
rule was that, as he reported to Walter White, 40
civil rights bills and two resolutions had been
introduced in the House. They included four
submitted by the Department of Justice. They were
H.R. 28, the Anti-lynching Bill; H.R. 29, the
Omnibus Civil Rights Bill; H.R. 1320, to eliminate
the poll tax, and a new bill, H.R. 2118, to amend
Sections 1581, 1583, and 1584 of Title 18, U.S.
Code, which barred slavery and peonage. He said
Senator Humphrey would introduce these bills in the
Senate. Mitchell memorandum, 6/21/51, to White,
NAACP WB-163, DLC.
See 10/4, 11/5, 12/5, and 12/28/51 reports for his
subsequent efforts in this struggle.
Drawing on a speech by Robert C. Weaver at the
National Conference on Discrimination in Housing,
5/20/52, Walter White noted for the NAACP Board that
between 1935 and 1950, while approximately 2,761,000
dwelling units were built under the FHA insurance
program, no more that 50,000 of them were available
to nonwhites. White memorandum, 6/3/52, to NAACP
Board, 6/9/52, MP. See also statement of the
Southern Regional Council on “Blighted Housing and
Bomb Violence” in Report of the Secretary for May,
See also 3/5, 4/4, 12/5, 12/28/51; in appendix,
2/21/51; Crosby, “America’s Segregated Cities,”
See 3/5, 4/4, 12/5, 12/28/51; amendments sought by
Mitchell before the Senate Committee on Banking and
Currency, 2/20/51, Hearing, 477-81; Minutes,
2/20/51, Hearings, 477-90. S. 349 was enacted
as the Defense Housing and Community Facility and
Services Act of 1951, which Truman signed on 9/1/51.
The law authorized $50,000,000 for
government-constructed defense housing, set aside
$1.5 billion in FHA mortgage insurance for privately
financed housing in defense areas, and extended the
VA direct loan program to 7/1/53. Congress and
the Nation, 483-484.
Defense Housing and Community Facilities Development
Act of 1951. Report of the Committee on Banking and
Currency, S. 349, 3/21/51, 82Cong., 1st
sess. S. Rpts. v. 2, 41. See 12/28/51 for
expanded comments on the committee’s report.
But, the NAACP would insist, the policy set forth by
Raymond Foley, HHFA administrator, in a letter of
11/26/51 to Multer clearly permitted continued
segregation. See also 2/6/51.
On 8/15/51, the House passed S. 349 in substantially
the same form as the Senate had approved it. CQ
Weekly Report, 8/17/51, 1231-2; the House agreed
to the Conference report on 8/21/51. CQ Weekly
Report, 8/24/51, 1268.
Mitchell said the real reason for Multer’s
opposition was an off-the-record agreement among
congressmen that southern supporters of the bill
should not be “embarrassed” by having to vote for it
with favorable language on racial matters included
in it. NAACP press release 8/16/51, NAACP II: A-208,
DLC. See also 12/28/51.
Mitchell recommended to Truman that he issue “to the
responsible Federal agencies an Executive Order
governing the administration of Titles II and III of
the Defense Housing and Communities Facilities Act
of 1951” that would be designed to end the glaring
discrimination problems in the federal housing
program. Minutes, 9/1/51, EC.
On 7/1/51 General Ridgway received a message from
the Department of the Army approving “deactivation
of the 24th Infantry and your general
plan of integration of Negroes into all units (with
the temporary exception of the 40th and
45th Divisions).” MacGregor,
Integration of the Armed Forces, 444.
See 3/5/51, where Mitchell reported on the
introduction of an amendment to S. 1, the UMT bill
and on the conference of the sponsors with DOD
See also, among others, 11/5, 12/28/51; and
materials in NAACP II: A-656, DLC.
Protection for members of the Armed
Services against assaults and other violence is
provided in two bills, H.R. 4301 and H.R. 4442 in
the House. Senator Lehman and others will introduce
a similar bill in the Senate.
H.R. 4301 was introduced by Congressman
Franck Havenner (D., Cal.), May 31, 1951. H.R. 4442
was introduced by Congressman Clifford Case (R.,
N.J.), June 13, 1951.
The proposed legislation extends to
members of the Armed Services the protection given
to members of the Coast Guard and other Federal
officials under sections 1114 and 111 of title 18,
U.S. Code. These sections of the U.S. Code impose
heavy fines and other penalties on persons who
commit stated offenses against Federal officers.
In March, when the Universal Military
Training Legislation was before the Senate, the
NAACP sponsored an anti-violence amendment offered
by Senator Herbert Lehman (D., N.Y.).
In April, when this legislation reached
the House for action, the amendment was sponsored by
Congressman Franck Havenner. On both occasions, the
anti-violence amendments were defeated. Many members
said, however, that they would support it as
Mrs. Anna M. Rosenberg, Assistant to the
secretary of Defense, has assured the Director of
the Washington Bureau that the Department of Defense
will support the legislation. The Department of
Defense stated in a letter to the Director,
“There has been no change in our belief that such
a bill is desirable to extend to Army, Navy, and Air
Force officers and enlisted men the same type of
protection that is afforded by law to other classes
of Federal officers.” [7/25/51, Newsletter, MP.]
It is not clear whether the luncheon meeting was the
one Mitchell reported in a 7/16/51memorandum that he
had with AEC officials on 7/5. However, he reported
that at the 7/5 meeting, discussion also involved
protections from dismissal of any AEC employee who
filed a lawsuit challenging segregation at Oak
Ridge, Tennessee. Mitchell memorandum to Thurgood
Marshall, 7/16/51, NAACP WB-8, DLC. See also 2/5/51
and other references cited there.
At the bottom of the “Suggested Agenda” for the 9/17
meeting was the notation that the meeting was
actually held 12/14/51. NAACP WB-8, DLC. Mitchell
noted on the agenda that he had included an excerpt
from the 1951 Senate Hearings on the Defense Housing
Act, S. 349, the full report of which can be found
in 2/20/51, Hearings, 477-81. For Mitchell’s
earlier notes on his activities related to the
hearings on the Defense Housing Act, see 3/5, and
4/4/51 reports. See also 2/2, 3/5, 5/3, 8/31, and
Mitchell actually visited South Carolina on
September 17, but, according to the memorandum he
submitted to Thurgood Marshall, he did so to collect
evidence for proposed legal action challenging job
discrimination at the AEC’s Savannah River works.
Based on the information Mitchell had provided,
Constance Baker Motley, a member of Marshall’s legal
staff, said it appeared that the DuPont Company had
a closed shop agreement with the unions involved.
Such agreements, she said, violated the
Labor-Management Relations Act of 1947 (Taft-Hartley
Act) and therefore could only have been oral
agreements. Mitchell’s memorandum, 9/20/51, and
Motley’s analysis of 1128/51 are in NAACP WB-8, DLC.
See Mitchell’s 7/16/51 memorandum to Marshall
informing him of his discussion with AEC officials
about possible lawsuits; his 9/20/51 memorandum on
“Proposed Legal Action at Savannah River Works of
Atomic Energy Commission.” Marshall evidently
assigned the matter to Constance Baker Motley of his
staff. See her memorandum of 11/28/51 to Mitchell
analyzing data gathered by him on 9/17 on AEC
discrimination in South Carolina. These materials,
as well as others from the NUL regarding similar
problems in the tri-city area of
Pasco-Kennewick-Richland (Washington state), are in
NAACP WB-8, DLC. See 12/4, 12/21/50, 2/2, 3/5, and
5/3/51 reports for earlier developments.
See 11/5, 12/28/51, 5/8/, 6/5, and 12/31/52; and, in
appendix, Newsletter, 5/28/52, and 7/52.
See CQ, 1951; Watson, Lion in the Lobby,
207; materials in NAACP WB-185, DLC.
Both the NAACP and the National Council for a
Permanent FEPC marked the tenth anniversary of
Roosevelt’s war-time FEPC by noting that June 25,
the first anniversary of the Korean War, was also a
time to assess the impact of the continuing problem
of racial discrimination in employment. See
materials in NACP II: A-257, DLC..
See also, among others, 3/3/50, 5/3, 6/4, 12/28/51.
This battle was resumed formally on 4/27/51, when
Mitchell wrote 15 congressmen to express his
disappointment that he had learned that H.J. Res.
19, the revived Lodge-Gossett Resolution, seemed to
have the approval of a subcommittee of the House
Judiciary Committee. He explained that the NAACP had
consistently opposed it because it would increase
the influence of southern states in national
elections. The letter and other materials are in the
“Lodge-Gossett” folder, NAACP WB-126, DLC.
A companion report by Mitchell was as follows:
Congressman Ed Gossett of Texas is
leaving the House of Representatives on July 31. As
a going away present, the members of the House
Judiciary Committee reported out (by voice vote
[where votes were not recorded], of course) his
anti-Negro and anti-Semitic H.J. Res. 19.
This Resolution abolished the electoral
college in national elections, but does not penalize
southern states for denying the ballot to colored
voters. The net effect would be to give the South
greater power in national elections.
The NAACP worked to defeat this measure
in the 81st Congress and won by a vote of
210 to 134. As soon as the 82nd Congress
got started, Gossett was right back with his
He said himself that, if it becomes law,
the major parties would not have to include FEPC in
their platforms to win votes in Harlem. He also said
that it would reduce the influence of New York Jews
in national elections.”
It would be a good idea to ask the following
members of the House Rules Committee to vote against
H.J. Res. 19 when it comes before that group:
Congressman Hugh B. Mitchell
Congressman James J. Delaney
Congressman Ray J. Madden
Congressman Adolph J. Sabath
Congressman Leo E. Allen
Congressman Clarence J. Brown
Congressman Henry J. Latham
Congressman Harris Ellsworth
Also, let your Congressman know that you want him
to oppose it if it reaches the floor. [Newsletter,
7/21/51, MP. For a companion report, see 5/29/51 in
For Mitchell’s summary of the first phase of this
struggle, see 12/21/50; in appendix, 2/50, 5/29/51.
The report, 7/3/51, provided by the Birmingham NAACP
branch, was as follows:
Through 1948, peak of the Dixiecrat
Revolt in the South and the Mid-Year of 1951, there
were listed 52 Negro citizens in Alabama killed by
law enforcement officers. This list may not be
complete because there was no scientific way to keep
a true listing of all the violence in this area. But
those police-slayings listed in this report, taken
from newspaper clippings and NAACP reports, is
Of this 52 police-slayings, 26 were in
the City of Birmingham. In another view, 35 of these
52 police-caused ddeaths were in Jefferson County or
the Birmingham area. All 14 of the police-killings
listed for 1948 were in Jefferson County. This was
the year the Dixiecrat Revolt was organized in July
of 1948 at the City Auditorium one hot Saturday.
Most of these slayings by Law Enforcement
Officers were ruled “justifiable homicide.” In
Birmingham, a police officer was indicted, tried and
freed by a jury in 1949. In 1948 a Negro slew a
deputy sheriff and in turn was killed by sheriff
Presumably, there has not been a careful
study made of this area of violence over the past
This report is hardly more than loose listing of
those reported cases of violent deaths in which law
enforcement officers have been involved. [NAACP II:
Another report, “Mob Violence, Lawlessness and
Law Enforcement,” noted that: “There was no decline
during 1950 from the high level of racial violence
noted in 1949. While there were no killings which
fell within the technical definition of deaths by
lynching as compared with three lynchings in 1949
and one in 1948, there were nine attempted lynchings
and a large number of other forms of violence
stemming from racial or religious bigotry.” The
organized effort to get legal action to end this
violence was led by Ruby Hurley, NAACP Southeast
regional coordinator whose office was then in
At the national level, the legal department, led
by Thurgood Marshall, special counsel, handled these
complaints. As Mitchell said to Marshall, “Where
questions or problems to be referred to the Justice
Department do not involve legal technical problems,
I shall prepare correspondence for your signature
and send it to New York.” Mitchell’s goal was to
avoid duplication of action. Mitchell’s letter to
Marshall, 7/23/51. See also “Minutes of May 15,
1952, Meeting at Birmingham to Discuss Ways of
Reducing Violence in the South Arising from Racial
and Religious Tension,” and other materials in NAACP
This violence was the newest form in the South
that caused the NAACP to continue pushing for
antilyincing legislation in Congress and other
protections from the Department of Justice. See
also, for example, 5/8/52.
See headnote on Struggle Against Jim Crow Travel.
Mitchell came to the conclusion that a lawsuit was
the only remaining alternative to getting the local
D.C. government to end segregation at the
playgrounds after Milo F. Christiansen wrote
informing him that the Recreation Board’s policy was
“to make every possible and realistic effort toward
the removal of racial segregation in public
recreation in such sequence and at such rate of
progression as may be consistent with the public
interest, public order and effective
administration.” Mitchell forwarded a copy of the
letter to Robert Carter, NAACP assistant special
counsel, with the recommendation that “it seems time
that we entered a lawsuit against the Board.” Next,
he organized a meeting of interested D.C. residents
at the Washington Bureau to plan the lawsuit.
Christiansensen’s letter to Mitchell; 5/3/51;
Mitchell’s letter to Carter, 5/8/51, and other
materials are in NAACP IX 226, DLC.
A copy of the letter of 7/19/51 is in NAACP WB-59,
[December 31, 1952]
SPOTLIGHT ON THE NATION’S CAPITAL
The Washington Bureau,
under the direction of Clarence Mitchell, acts as the eyes
and ears of the NAACP in the executive chambers and
legislative halls of our federal government. Alert to all
legislative and proposed legislation, it constantly advances
the position of the Association that civil rights of
minority groups must be safeguarded in any and all bills.
Testimony on behalf of the NAACP is presented at countless
hearings before committees and subcommittees and the Bureau
works closely with executive agencies handling the
administration of the laws. In this time of intense defense
activity, the Bureau is increasingly active in combating
discrimination in areas of activity involving defense
production, the armed forces, the Veterans Administration,
Atomic Energy Commission, and all other federal agencies.
As the year drew to a
close, the chief weapon in the battle of the diehard
obstructionists against passage of civil rights bills--the
filibuster--had still not been conquered.
On January 29, 1952,
after hearings held at the urging of the NAACP and other
organizations, the Senate Rules Committee reported out S.
Res. 203, least effective of all the anti-filibuster
resolutions that the group considered.
Introduced by Senator Wherry of Nebraska (now deceased), S
Res. 203 provides that two-thirds of the senators present
and voting shall be required to invoke cloture. It also
changes the voting date on the cloture petition from the
“following calendar day but one” to the “fifth calendar day
Senator Lehman and
others offered a plan that would permit a majority of
senators present and voting to limit debate after fourteen
days of filibustering. Even thereafter, senators could
still talk one hour each or a total of an additional 96
hours. Senators not wishing to use their time could give it
to others. The Lehman proposal, S. Res. 105, also permits
limitation of debate after forty-eight hours of
filibustering, but only if two thirds of the Senators
present and voting agree. Moreover, it would halt
filibusters against rules changes.
Senator Ives also had a
resolution before the rules committee. The Ives resolution
requires 49 votes to halt a filibuster. As submitted to the
committee the Ives proposal did not require a change in that
part of the present senate rule limiting debate (Rule 22,)
which permits unlimited filibuster against any proposals to
change the rules. In the majority report, submitted by
Senator Jenner of Indiana, the hearings were described as
the most extensive of any on this subject. Senator William
Benton, who served as chairman of the committee during the
hearings, prepared a minority report. Senator Francis Green
joined him in saying: “We favor Senate Resolution 105. This
would give the Senate a means by which it could operate
effectively in an emergency, where time is of the essence,
and also permit it to follow a procedure to handle needed
legislation other then that of urgent character where time
need not be calculated in terms of hours.” Other objections
to S. Res. 203 were noted by Senators William C. Hendrickson
and Henry Cabot Lodge. The committee report was placed on
the Senate calendar but Congress adjourned without taking
action on it. The Senate is therefore still operating on the
rule adopted by the 81st Congress, requiring the
votes of two-thirds of the Senate membership, or 64
Senators, to break a filibuster.
The only committee of
Congress that held a hearing on civil rights bills in 1952
was the Senate Labor Committee. The NAACP worked very
closely with Senator Humphrey, chairman of the subcommittee
that conducted the hearings. The Executive Secretary
testified for the Association.
During these hearings Senator Humphrey and Senator Ives
developed a bill (S. 3368) which would establish an FEPC
with enforcement powers. The agency carrying out the program
would be called the “Equality of Opportunity in Employment
Commission.” This bill was reported favorably by the Senate
Labor Committee and placed on the calendar.
It would establish a
Committee to handle fair employment problems and would cover
firms engaged in interstate commerce and employing fifty or
more persons. The commission could issue directives,
enforceable by federal courts to halt discrimination in
employment. There is also a new provision which permits, but
does not require, the commission to cede jurisdiction to
FEPC bodies in states with laws that the commission
The Congress adjourned
without taking action on the bill; however, two very
valuable reports were issued as a result of the hearing, one
on State and Municipal Fair Employment Legislation and the
other on Employment and Economic Status of Negroes in the
No Specific Civil
During the 82nd
Congress there were many discussions on possible civil
rights action, but in each case opponents of civil rights
refused to permit bills to come to the floor unless they
were emasculated. Thus there was no action on specific bills
on FEPC, anti-lynching,
or anti-Jim Crow travel.
Bills to give Alaska and Hawaii statehood and to establish
home rule in the District of Columbia were killed.
Fortunately, there also died a resolution which would
abolish the electoral college in presidential elections and
give greater power to the South in the naming of
Immigration bill passed Congress over the President’s veto.
This legislation is extremely complicated and contains
numerous passages which discriminate against immigrants on
the basis of race and nationality. However, some of those
who supported this bill felt that it contained benefits for
certain groups in which they were interested.
Using his power on the
Rules Committee, the late Congressman Cox of Georgia
succeeded in getting a resolution passed on April 4th,
providing for an investigation of foundations and
organizations to determine whether they are “stirring up
class and race distinction throughout the South.” The vote
was 194 to 158.
This committee got $75,000 with which to operate and held
hearings which produced nothing particularly new on
foundations and charitable organizations. Representative
Brooks Hays of Arkansas succeeded to the chairmanship of the
committee upon the death of Mr. Cox.
The Executive Secretary and the Director of
the Washington Bureau sought inclusion of language in the
Mutual Security Bill which would assure dependent overseas
territories of Point IV assistance in public health,
industrial production, economic development and agriculture.
The NAACP supported an amendment covering Western Hemisphere
countries that was adopted. The net effect of these changes
in the law is more direct assistance to colonies in becoming
self-sufficient. The Director and the Executive Secretary
discussed the problem at considerable length with
Congressman Vorys of Ohio before he inserted these changes.
Agreements in the Railway Industry
When the Railway Labor
Act was amended to permit union shop agreements in the
industry, the Washington Bureau asked that adequate
safeguards be included against discrimination by unions that
deny membership to Negroes on the basis of race or shunt
them into Jim Crow unions.
Congress included some
language to this effect, although it was not as strong as
that recommended by the NAACP. The first test of the
effectiveness of this language came in Baltimore, Md., when
employees of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad refused to join
a Jim Crow local of the Brotherhood of Railway Clerks. When
the matter was taken into court by the Baltimore Branch,
union officials promised under oath that Negroes would not
be required to join a separate local as a condition of
remaining on the job. The employer also said that none of
the Negro employees would be dismissed because they refused
to join a Jim Crow local. The plaintiffs in the case were
denied membership in the white local, but no effort has been
made to dismiss them. Two other Negroes were admitted to the
white local but “old guard” employees have continued to
maintain the Jim Crow local.
At the end of the year a
similar case involving Negro employees of the Washington
Terminal and the Brotherhood of Railway Carmen, the
recognized union, was pending. Negro employees refused to
join the union’s Jim Crow auxiliary and sought the aid of
the Washington Bureau in resisting discharge by the
To justify its position
as the Association’s eyes and ears in Washington, the Bureau
carefully checks the records of all representative and
senators. Sometimes in an election year the cry of
partisanship is raised by those who have bad records or by
their selfish supporters. However, the favorable comments
outnumber the unfavorable.
This year the Bureau
prepared narrative records for each state, including each
man’s record sine 1948. Also included was information on
sponsorship of good or bad legislation. Compilation of these
records was done largely by William Pryor, assistant to the
director. In some instances the record cause senators and
representatives to make pledges clarifying previously vague
positions on civil rights questions.
The Director found these
records useful in visits to various states during the
election campaign. The records also played an important part
in the register and vote campaign.
When a new President
moves into the White House many valuable programs get lost
or delayed because of uncertainties surrounding their
future. The Executive Secretary and board members met with
General Eisenhower in November for top level commitments on
civil rights. As a follow-up the Director of the Washington
Bureau submitted a memorandum to Senator Lodge for
consideration by President-elect Eisenhower.
Senator Lodge at that time was serving in a liaison capacity
between General Eisenhower and the executive agencies of
The memorandum asked:
1. That the new administration give
early assurance that the functions of the Fair Employment
Board established in the U. S. Civil Service Commission by
Executive Order No. 9980 will be continued and fully
implemented to prevent discrimination in federal employment.
2. That the Committee on Government
Contract Compliance be continued and
strengthened. This committee, set up
by Executive Order No. 10,308, was established to obtain
compliance with the non-discrimination clause in all
government contracts. Until a Federal FEPC is established by
law, this group will fill an important place in assuring
minority groups of fair treatment by employers holding
The NAACP gave the leadership to the movement which resulted
in the setting up of the Fair Employment Board
and the Contract Compliance Committee.
An NAACP complaint resulted in a board decision establishing
the principles that appointing officers must be able to
prove that all appointments made in accordance with the
Civil Service “rule of three” are made solely on the basis
of merit and fitness and that the appointment of members of
minority groups on a quota or percentage basis is not in
accordance with selection on the basis of merit and fitness.
3. That segregation in schools
maintained on military posts for the children of military
personnel be halted and that the Navy policy of allowing
local commanders to establish segregation facilities for
civilian workers in shore establishments be rescinded.
4. That the policy of the Housing
and Home Finance Agency of giving federal assistance to
segregated private and public housing be stopped by
executive action, to bring federal policies in line with
decisions of the U. S. Supreme Court.
5. That the U. S. Department of
State continue the employment of a consultant to help
identify and eliminate the factors that have prevented the
employment and upgrading of qualified Negroes and members of
other minority groups.
Other activities of the
Washington Bureau included the handling of problems with the
Atomic Energy Commission,
the Veterans Administration,
discrimination in certain private companies,
and segregation in airports.
The Director visited
approximately twenty states during the year for speaking
engagements or other Association business. He continued a
weekly newspaper column for the Washington edition of the
Afro-American and contributed articles to The Crisis
and the Nation magazines.
In preparation for another attempt to change the
filibuster rule on the opening day of Congress in
1/53, Mitchell and Walter White held three meetings
with a number of senators in 12/52 to develop
strategy, but those attempts, too, failed. Mitchell
letter on the meetings to White, 12/22/1952, and
NAACP Washington Bureau telegram to a group of NAACP
leaders, 12/31/52, stating the Senators Ives and
Lehman would make bi-partisan effort to end
filibusters when Congress opened on 1/2/53 and
urging them to organize support, both in NAACP
WB-111, DLC. See also 6/15/53 for Mitchell’s report
on the failure of the attempts in January.
White, with Mitchell, 4/17/52, Hearings,
141-61. See also 2/4/53.
“The only Congressional action on civil rights in
1952 was approval by Senate committees of FEPC
legislation and of a proposal to relax the Senate
cloture rule. Neither was debated on the floor.”
Congress and the Nation, 1619. CQ Weekly
Report, 4/11/52, 351; 4/18/52, 371; 4/25/52,
394; 5/9/52, 455; 7/5/52, 710.
The introductory note to the Employment and Economic
Status report explained that the material was culled
from, a wide variety of sources to highlight the
major facts. Two general facts seemed to emerge, it
noted. The first was that in almost every
significant economic and social characteristic that
could be measured – including length of life,
education, employment, and income – African
Americans, as a whole, were less well off than white
citizens. The second was that in almost every
characteristic the differences between the two
groups had narrowed in recent years. Employment and
Economic Status of Negroes in the United States,
Staff Report to the Subcommittee on Labor and
Labor-Management Relations of the Committee on Labor
and Public Welfare. U.S. Senate, 82nd
Congress, 2nd sess., 2/18/53.
second report, the introductory note explained that
this and others that would be issued were designed
to contribute to the understanding of the problems
that impelled the subcommittee and the Committee on
Labor and Public Welfare to recommend for favorable
action the federal equal opportunity for employment
bill and to promote reasoned and informed attitudes
toward that measure. State and Municipal Fair
Employment Legislation, Staff Report to the the
Subcommittee on Labor and Labor-Management Relations
of the Committee on Labor and Public Welfare. U.S.
Senate, 82nd Congress, 2nd
sess., 2/20/53. The chairman of the Subcommittee on
Labor and Labor-Management Relations was Hubert H.
Mitchell’s optimism that prospects for early
consideration of FEPC legislation in the 83rd
Congress appeared “very bright” was based on his
conversations with senators and representatives and
a pledge from Sen. Robert A. Taft that he was
contemplating holding hearings on the Taft-Hartley
law as soon as the Senate was organized, but after
that he knew of nothing would take priority over
FEPC. NAACP WB press release, 12/10/52, NAACP
WB-111, DLC. See also headnotes on Struggle for
Federal FEPC and Struggle for State FEPCs.
See headnote on NAACP Struggle for an anti-Lynching
See headnote on Struggle to Abolish the Poll Tax.
See headnote on the Struggle against Jim Crow
See, among others, 12/28/51; and, in appendix,
See, most immediately, 6/5/52; in appendix, 5/28/52,
6/3/52, 9/30/52; NYT, 1/11/53, 4-E.
See, among others, 6/5/52; in appendix, 7/31/52.
Congress passed the Mutual Security Act of 1952 on
5/28/52. CQ Weekly Report, 5/30/52, 546.
Making a strong argument for the adoption of the
Point IV program, White said:
With the exception of the amendment that benefits
Western Hemisphere colonial countries, most areas
under the rule of the major powers can receive
assistance from the United States only in connection
with plans for deense of the North Atlantic Area.
This means that the colonial people in Africa
and Asia come in solely as fifth wheels to the
Eruopean war machine.
The colonial people of the world are determined
to have freedom and they may become the enemies of
anyone who even appears to stand between them and
liberty. The Association’s amendments would help to
show clearly that the United States does not intend
to have its foreign aid program used to support the
colonial system. [Report of the Secretary for May
1952, 6/9/52, EC.]
See, among others, 10/6, 11/5, 12/3/52, 2/4/53; in
appendix, 6/7/50; and 5/18/50, Hearings,
242-309; 6/7/50, Hearings, 242-309.
Mitchell explained the importance of the summary of
the voting records on congressmen and senators to
the Board. He said when he presented it at a one-day
state-wide conference in North Carolina, most
delegates at first did not realize how bad the
records of their congressmen were. “But when the
district representatives were permitted to stand up
and speak about the voting records of their
representatives, it became clear to the people how
bad the situation was.” Minutes, 4/14/52, EC. See
Mitchell letter to Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., 12/4/52,
listing the matters they discussed during their
meeting that day. NAACP II: A-200, DLC. For details
of the items Mitchell discussed with Lodge and
related developments, see Watson, Lion in the
In another letter to Dwight Palmer, chairman of the
President’s Committee on Government Contract
Compliance, on 12/4/52, Mitchell informed him of his
meeting with Lodge that day, specifically noting
their discussion of “Item 2,” which urged
strengthening of the committee and stressed the need
to see that it did “not go out of business by
default.” Mitchell told Palmer that Lodge assured
him of General Eisenhower’s interest in the
committee and that his administration wished to give
“considerable attention” to the problems it was
considering. Mitchell letter to Palmer, 12/4/52,
NAACP II: A-208, DLC.
See 8/31/48 and, subsequently, related documents.
See 12/5/51 for report on E.O. 10308 creating the
President’s Committee on Government Contract
Compliance, related texts throughout, and Mitchell’s
statement, 6/9/52 in appendix.
See 10/6, 11/5, 12/3/52, and, most immediately,
One problem involved discrimination in employment by
the du Pont Company at Savannah River, and
segregation in the schools of Oak Ridge, about which
complained to the AEC. Gordon Dean, AEC chairman,
told Mitchell that regarding the reported assertion
by a representative of the du Pont Company that it
was not bound by the nondiscrimination clause, he
had instructed the company’s Savannah River office
to make an investigation of the matter and to
provide an early report.
Regarding the employment of African American
scientists by the company, it was the AEC’s
understanding the the company had offered technical
positions to four blacks and that one of them had
accepted a position and was scheduled to report for
work in the summer.
Regarding segregated schools at Oak Ridge, the AEC
had “had this matter under study for some time in
view of the cases before the Supreme Court.” Dean’s
letter to Mitchell, 4/10/53, NAACP WB-171, DLC.
In the Senate, the Ives-Humphrey
FEPC Bill, S. 692, has been introduced and contains
enforcement powers. In keeping with previous discussions
between themselves and other persons, Senators Ives and
Humphrey have not called this bill an FEPC proposal.
Instead, it is titled “Federal Equality of Opportunity in
Senator Dirksen has introduced a
bill, S. 1, which would provide for investigation of
discrimination in employment and other civil rights
problems. It contains no enforcement powers, although it
sets up a commission to make inquiries on discrimination.
The commission would have subpoena powers.
Other civil rights and related
measures include three proposals to change Rule 22, an
Anti-Lynching bill, Anti-Poll Tax Bill, Anti-Jim Crow Travel
Bill, a bill strengthening and expanding civil rights
functions for the Department of Justice, a proposal to
approve and strengthen Federal civil rights statutes, an
anti-peonage bill, a bill to protect servicemen from
mistreatment by civilians in the United States, a proposal
to establish a human rights commission, a bill to outlaw
segregation in the District of Columbia, and the Alaska and
Hawaii Statehood Bills.
As has been reported in the press,
southern Senators have introduced a Constitutional Amendment
to outlaw the Poll Tax.
In the House, the civil rights
proposals are very numerous. There are five proposed FEPC
Bills with enforcement powers, five Anti-Lynching Bills, six
Anti-Poll Tax Bills, three anti-discrimination proposals,
three bills outlawing segregation in the Armed Services, two
designed to strengthen the Federal civil rights statutes,
two Anti-Jim Crow Travel Bills, two proposals to establish a
Federal human rights commission, one bill to outlaw
segregation in the District of Columbia, one anti-peonage
bill, one proposal to strengthen the civil rights functions
of the Department of Justice, a bill forbidding Federal aid
to national guards which discriminate on the basis of race,
a bill forbidding discrimination in administration of
Federal funds, a bill for fair education practices and a
bill for fair housing practices.
We have had a number of discussions
with Senators and Congressmen about proposed amendments to
the Taft-Hartley Law. Chairman McConnell of the House
Committee has discussed the problem at length and has agreed
that the Association’s testimony will be held in March.
We have requested the advice of the legal staff on language
which would outlaw segregation in unions. In this
connection, it is interesting to note that the language used
in the Railway Labor Act, together with supplemental
statements in the Committee Reports on this legislation, has
brought about the admission of colored persons to Local 364
of the Brotherhood of Railway Carmen at the Washington
We have mentioned this problem in
However, in a formal hearing on January 28, where William T.
Scott, an employee of the Washington Terminal, was
threatened with dismissal for failure to join the
Brotherhood under the union shop contract at the Terminal,
Mr. Edward Hickey, Jr., lawyer for the Carmen, stated that
on Monday, January 26, the union had decided to admit
colored people into their white local. The request for
dismissal of Mr. Scott was withdrawn by the union when he
offered his membership and it was accepted for the formerly
all white local.
The men admitted on January 26 had applied for membership in
the white local after talking with the NAACP.
Since the constitution of the Carmen
provides that colored people should be members of the
separate locals except where such separation is in violation
of the law, Mr. Hickey stated that he was authorized by the
organization to say that the international officers of the
union did not desire to interpret or apply the constitution
in any way which would be incompatible with any civil law.
Mr. Joseph Waddy, Washington, D. C.,
attorney, and the Director of the Washington Bureau had
appeared on Mr. Scott’s behalf to contend that the action of
dismissing Mr. Scott for failure to join the Jim Crow union
was a violation of the Railway Labor Act as amended in 1950
following NAACP testimony and efforts of others, including
Mr. Waddy, to have safeguards included in the law.
We have never been satisfied with the language but it does
appear that it can be used effectively against segregation.
The Interstate and Foreign Commerce
Committee headed by Representative Charles A. Wolverton
invited sponsors of Anti-Jim Crow Travel legislation to
testify at brief hearings on January 28.
Later, the committee will schedule hearings on these bills
and witnesses other than Congressmen will be permitted to
testify. The committee heard Congressman Adam C. Powell,
Jr., on January 28.
Congressman William L. Dawson was also invited to testify
but postponed his appearance temporarily. It will be
recalled that following the November elections, we urged
Congressman Wolverton and Senator Charles Tobey, Chairman of
the Senate Committee, to make an early start on bills to end
segregation in interstate travel.
Segregation in Schools and
Senators Duff, Henrickson, Ives,
Morse, Humphrey, and Lehman have joined us in urging that
the Department of Defense conclude action designed to outlaw
segregation in schools on military posts. We had discussed
this matter extensively with top Defense officials of the
After considerable discussion, the
Department of Defense and the U. S. Office of Education
finally admitted in writing that there were no legal
barriers preventing them from admitting children of all
service personnel to schools on military posts, even though
such schools were run by local authorities.
We made an unsuccessful effort to
have an order to implement these findings sent out just
before Assistant Secretary Anna Rosenberg left her post in
the Department of Defense. Unfortunately, she did not do
this and we have placed the matter before Dr. John Hannah
who will succeed Mrs. Rosenberg.
Also unresolved in the Department of
Defense is the question of segregation in certain Naval
establishments. It is interesting to note that Mrs.
Rosenberg sought to clear up this problem but
Under-Secretary Whitehair of the Navy Department did not
answer her inquiries on it until January 22, two days after
she had left the Pentagon. In his memorandum to Mrs.
Rosenberg, Under-Secretary Whitehair said, “Although our
concern over this problem is mutual, the approach of a
military establishment will naturally differ from that of
the officials of the NAACP. . . . A direct order from the
Secretary of the Navy, no matter how forceful, would not
only fail to eliminate the basic social causes of the
problem but would only antagonize the opposing forces
At the time Mr. Whitehair signed
this communication, he was Acting Secretary of the Navy
replacing Dan Kimball.
See also 6/1, 6/15, 12/31/53, 2/28, 3/9, 12/31/54;
and headnote on Struggle for Federal FEPC.
Mitchell informed the Board that while Senator
Everett Dirksen had introduced a weak FEPC bill
without enforcement powers, Irving Ives and Hubert
Humphrey had introduced strong bills. He said he had
concluded that there would be “a strong disposition
to get out Sen. Dirksen’s bill or some variation of
it as an administration sponsored plan of action in
this field.” Minutes, 2/9/53, EC. A year later at
the beginning of the second session of the 83rd
Congress, Dirksen provided a very important window
into his philosophy on civil rights that presaged a
dramatic confrontation with Mitchell in 1964 during
the struggle over the scope of Title VII of the
civil rights bill. See 2/54, where Dirksen’s
philosophy is noted.
In his recommendations on a legislative program to
Walter White, Mitchell said that, in addition to
seeking hearings on the various proposals to amend
Senate Rule 22, the NAACP should seek others on FEPC
legislation. Mitchell memorandum, 2/6/53, to White,
MP. See also 3/3, 5/4/53.
See headnote on Struggle to Abolish the Poll Tax.
In a comprehensive letter to senators that covered
all of this section, Mitchell urged them to take
action on civil rights legislation.
“positive and effective civil rights program” the
NAACP was advocating, he explained, was provided in
the statement, “These Are the Issues,” which was
published in the Crisis, 10/52. Furthermore,
the Senate Labor Committee’s report, “Employment and
Economic Status of the Negro in the United States,”
provided a “compelling argument on the need for
action.” The committee reported that although the
annual income of African Americans had risen from
$364 in 1939 to $1,295 in 1950, the income of whites
had risen from $956 in 1939 to $2,481in 1950. He
explained further that, whenever the Federal
Government considered social legislation, such as
federal aid to education, housing, or matters
affecting the armed services, the civil rights
question arose because those programs were
frequently marred by segregation, which affected
blacks living in the South, as well as blacks and
whites from the North. Blacks and whites from the
North, he said, as civilians were often sent below
the Mason-Dixon Line to perform “duties vital to the
national defense.” Mitchell’s letter, 1/9/53, NAACP
II: A-183, DLC.
same time, Mitchell called Walter White attention to
a page 1 WP story that said southerners were
backing a compromise civil rights bill (S. 535) that
their friend Senator Hubert Humphrey had introduced
as a “starter” measure in the desperate hope of
getting some action on such legislation in Congress.
Mitchell explained that Senator Hubert Humphrey had
said that he did not mean to imply in any way that
his bill would “take the place of FEPC legislation.”
Mitchell said he had not taken a position on such
legislation, so he asked White for his opinion.
Mitchell’s letter, 1/26/53, to White, and WP
article, 1/26/53, NAACP II: A-185, DLC.
More specifically, the NAACP amendment sought to
prevent any employees from being excluded from
membership or placed in a separate union or denied
adequate representation solely because of race,
religion, or national origin. 3/31/53, Hearings,
2055-78. See also 3/3, 4/3, 4/30, 5/4, 6/1/53; and
headnote on the Taft-Hartley
No court decisions were rendered in either the B and
O or the Washington Terminal cases because the
unions themselves ended segregation. Mitchell’s
letter to Elias G. Burnett, 4/7/53, NAACP IX: 197,
DLC. See also 5/18/50, Hearings,
285-302; and, in appendix, 6/7/50; and materials in
NAACP IX: 196, DLC.
See 5/31/50, where Mitchell reported that a strong
effort had been made to amend the act to permit
establishment of the union shop and dues check-ff
system in the industry.
See 11/5/51, 10/6/52 and, in appendix, 6/7/50; and
materials in NAACP IX: 196, DLC.
See also 5/31, 7/17, 8/31, 12/21/50; 6/7/50,
Hearings, 285-302. The testimony of Mitchell’s
former FEPC colleague, Theodore E. Brown,
representing the International Brotherhood of
Sleeping Car Porters, precedes the statement (pages
273-85.) See also 5/18//50, Hearings,
See, most recently, 12/31/52, Mitchell’s
“Recommendations on Legislative Program;” as well as
Alexander, “Recent Trends in the Law of Racial
Segregation on Public Carriers,” 401-13; and
headnote on Struggle against Jim Crow Travel.
No published record of Powell’s closed session
testimony of 1/28/53 on Jim Crow Travel was found,
but see his public testimony at 5/13/54, Hearings,
55; as well as Mitchell, 5/13/54, Hearings,
This was a direct continuation of the efforts
Mitchell reported at 12/4/52.
In a letter of 1/10/53, Rosenberg advised Earl J.
Mcrath, commissioner of Education, that:
The fact that segregation has been practiced in
schools which are on military installations has been
a matter of concern to the Department of Defense .
. . . I know that, in exercising your discretion
under this Act, you may wish to take this important
matter into your consideration and I would
appreciate your letting me know whether you consider
it proper that children be required to attend a
segregated school on a Federal installation under a
program financed to a considerable degree by Federal
money. It is our feeling that this practice is
unsatisfactory and is violative not only of the
policyof the Department of Defensebut also
contravenes the policy set forth by the President.
On 1/15/53, McGrath replied that:
If it is the policy of the Department of Defense
not to permit segregatededucation on any property
within its control, whether that education be local
school agencies under Section 3 (Public Law 874) or
y the Commissioner of Education operating under
Section 6 (Public Law 874), this agency would, of
course, be guided by such a policy . . . . In any
case,in which the local educational agency is not
able to provide education on an integrated basis,
the Commissioner would then be under the necessity
of making other arrangements for education of such
From these exchanges, Mitchell told John A.
Hannah, it was clear that there remained “only the
necessity of taking the mechanical action needed to
end racial segregation in all schools on military
posts. Mitchell’s letter to Hannah, 1/21/53, and
other materials are in NAACP WB-171, DLC; and in OF
142 A 4 (1), DDEL. See also 12/31/52, 2/4, 4/3, 5/4,
6/15, 10/6, 12/7/53, 2/17/54.
Roger W. Jones, assistant director for legislative
reference, however, showed another possible reason
why Rosenberg did not act. Unlike the obfuscatory
reasoning of McGrath, he flatly concluded that under
Public Law 874, “Schools located on non-Federal
property and operated by State and local authorities
are segregated or non-segregated as the State law
prescribes. No authority exists to require such
schools to be non-segregated.” Regarding schools
located on Federal property and operated by federal
agencies, he said, existing law contained
administrative discretion as to whether they should
be segregated. The law, he said, also contained
discretion as to whether locally operated schools on
federal property should be segregated. The policy
then was that they were segregated or non-segregated
depending on state laws for regular state and local
schools. Roger W. Jones memorandum for Mr. Shanley,
on “Segregation issues involved in temporary
extension of Public Law 874, 81st
Congress, O.F 142 A 4 (1), DDEL.
next 4/3, 11/4/53.
Mitchell pressed this concern by telling Robert B.
Anderson, secretary, Department of the Navy, that
the segregation at the yards in Norfolk, Virginia,
and Charleston, South Carolina, was approved by
Secretary Francis P. Whitehair in a memorandum of
1/22/53, to Rosenberg. Since Rosenberg retired on
1/20/53, Mitchell said, there had been no response
to the memorandum, so it had become official Navy
policy. As Anderson knew, Mitchell told him,
President Eisenhower had strongly repudiated “this
kind of injustice in his press conference on March
19. He therefore asked that all racial segregation
be ended at the Navy yards. He also asked that “a
general policy statement be issued by the Navy
Department ending racial segregation wherever it
existed in naval establishments.
Mitchell next reminded Hannah that, although the
president had said “forthrightly that he was opposed
to racial segregation where federal funds” were
spent, the secretary of the Navy had revealed that
the chief executive’s wishes were not being
implemented at the Norfolk and Charleston Navy
yards.. Mitchell followed up this complaint with a
letter to Maxwell Rabb, assistant to Governor Adams
at the White House, in which he said that he had
learned that Marvin J. Ottllie in the Office of
Industrial Relations in the Navy Department, was the
“real author of the various Navy communications
endorsing segregation at these yards. He therefore
urged Rabb to “act to see that the answer to this
letter clearly supports a policy of no segregation
in all Navy establishments, including the yards at
Chrleston and Norfolk.” Mitchell’s letters to
Anderson, 3/30/53, Hannah, 5/4/53, and Rabb,
5/28/53, and other related materials are in NAACP
See 11/2/53 for the successful results of this
Desegregation by Presidential Order
Records of 1954 Candidates
[ca. June 29, 1954]
The executive branch of government
has played a vital role in desegregation of various
government facilities. This program was started under the
Roosevelt and Truman Administrations, but it has been
accelerated considerably under the Eisenhower
Administration. For their accomplishments in this field, the
three Presidents deserve the warmest praise.
There is no doubt that some of the
important road-blocks to integration have been removed
solely because the Chief Executive, in response to the
continued protest of the NAACP and other allied forces, has
instructed that a change be made.
It is not possible to list all of
these charges, but, for this discussion, we have selected
typical cases in order that the role of the executive branch
in this field may be illustrated by practical examples.
This presentation also deals with
the incredibly shabby record of the legislative branch of
the government. The record demonstrates the complete failure
of President Eisenhower to urge that the Congress take any
positive action in the field of civil rights.
There is strong evidence that this
Administrative has deliberately blocked possible action by
the legislative branch in the field of civil rights.
It should be added that dismal
record of the Republican Party in legislation seems to have
the full cooperation of the Democrats. There is no reason
for believing that the result would have been any different
if the Democrats had been in control of the 83rd
Congress. There is no reason to believe that the present
leaders among the Democrats will do a better job in the
civil rights field, if they control the 84th
SEGREGATION OF CIVILIANS IN NAVY
The NAACP campaign to end
segregation in the shore establishments of the Navy was
started by branches in Norfolk, Virginia, and Charleston,
South Carolina. The Washington Bureau initiated action on
complaints by these branches in 1951.[i]
These complaints charged that
civilian employees were required to use segregated
rest-rooms, drinking foundations, and restaurants. We asked
for the ending of segregation in the two establishments
where we had specific complaints. We also asked that the
Navy adopt a policy that would forbid racial segregation in
any of its operations..
The Navy Secretary, under President
Truman, refused to abolish segregation because “local
customs must be followed in situations of this kind.”
One of the strongest telegrams of
protest coming from our Convention in Oklahoma City in 1952
urged President Truman to correct this discrimination. No
corrective action was taken and the matter remained
unsettled until the Secretary of the Navy, following
President Eisenhower’s policy, ordered the end of
segregation in all Naval establishments.
On November 11, 1953, the President
reported that “of sixty (Navy) installations on
Federally-owned property” in the South only one had not
completed the program of eliminating segregation. The one
exception was the Charleston Navy Yard which had ended
segregation everywhere except in the wash-room facilities.
This was ended later. On May 18, 1954, the Director of the
Washington Bureau and representatives of the Charleston,
South Carolina, branch made a tour of the Navy Yard in that
city. We found no segregation in facilities.
In his official statement, the
President said this is an “accomplishment of which we all
can be proud and I congratulate the Secretary of the Navy
and his Department on a job very well done indeed.” The
Director of the Washington Bureau wishes to be on record as
sharing the President’s view on this matter.
It should also be noted that these
Naval establishments are located in the states of Alabama,
Georgia, Florida, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina,
The President’s November
announcement showed that facilities in Kentucky, Tennessee,
and Texas were listed as integrated when first reports were
made in August 1953.[ii]
SEGREGATION IN SCHOOLS ON
The Washington Bureau has prepared a
statement on the ending of segregation in the Armed Services
which will appear in the Journal of Negro Education,
published by the Bureau of Educational Research, Howard
University, on July 15, 1954.[iii]
One of the important aspects of
discrimination in the Armed Services is racial segregation
in elementary and high schools on military posts. These
schools are divided into two groups. One group is operated
by the Military under Section 6 of Public Law 874 and the
other group is operated by local boards of education under
Section 3 of the same law.
The President formally requested
elimination of the segregation practice in 1953.[iv]
At that time, sixty-three military posts offered school
facilities to children of parents either living on or
working on Federal property.
Under previous Administrations,
segregation had been banned in all of the Section 6 schools,
except the school at Fort Benning, Georgia. In 1953, there
were twenty-one posts where Section 3 schools were
segregated. In addition, colored children, were barred from
certain schools in the Canal Zone. The Canal Zone school
system includes 17 elementary schools, 5 junior high
schools, and 2 high schools.
The Department of Defense has
announced that all segregation will be ended in schools on
military posts by September 1955.
Segregation was abolished in the
school at Fort Benning, Georgia, in September 1953. Of the
twenty-one posts, only Fort Belvoir, Virginia has publicly
announced that it will end segregation in September 1954.
However, we are awaiting an official report which may show
that others in this group are planning to end segregation
New schools at Fort Myer, Virginia,
and the Craig Air Force Base in Alabama will open on a
non-segregated basis in September 1954. However, these
schools and the schools at Fort Belvoir will be operated by
the Federal Government because the local authorities have
declined to run them if colored children are admitted. All
schools in the Canal Zone will be open to colored children
in September 1954.
There was no evidence that any
Cabinet officer sought to block the program of integration
in schools on military posts under the Truman
Administration. However, there is ample evidence to
demonstrate that Mrs. Oveta Culp Hobby, Secretary of the
Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, did request a
delay in the school integration program under the Eisenhower
The Veterans Administration has
officially declared that segregation must end in its
hospitals and domiciliary facilities. The NAACP has long
pressed for realization of this objective.[vi]
Within the Veterans Administration,
Mr. George Holland, Assistant to the Administration, has
consistently urged and worked for the abolition of all
racial segregation in the facilities of this agency.[vii]
Mr. Harvey Higley, the Eisenhower
appointed Administrator, is the first chief of the Veterans
Administration to give full personal backing to the policy
of no segregation.[viii]
Scrutiny of the cost of operating
Veterans Hospitals shows that, aside from the moral
liability of racial segregation in these hospitals, the
financial waste caused by separation of the races is
enormous. For example, we list the cost of building similar
VA hospitals in six cities. All hospitals listed below are
It will be noted that the hospital
in New Orleans which was built on a plan to maintain racial
segregation is more expensive than any of the other five
which were not built on a plan to keep racial separation.
Fortunately, even the New Orleans hospital has now been
instructed to end racial segregation.
On the basis of the above figures,
it would be fair to say that the saving would run anywhere
from $100,000 to over a half million dollars in each
hospital of this kind. Factors taken into consideration in
computing the cost difference are plumbing, recreation
rooms, dining-rooms, and other wasteful dual facilities.
A survey in 1946 revealed that
approximately 65 hospitals practiced some form of
segregation or total exclusion by race. Forty-seven of the
65 were in the South. Of the 47 in the South, 14 excluded
colored people completely. Northern hospitals having colored
wards in 1946 were Wood, Wisconsin, Coatesville,
Pennsylvania, and Hines, Illinois.
In April 1949, the V.A. said:
“It is our policy to avoid
segregation of patients wherever this can be done without
creating a situation, or a mental condition, which might
presumably retard the recovery of the patients.
“In providing hospitalization under
the laws administered by V.A. our first and all important
consideration is for the welfare of the hospitalized
veterans. The V.A. is not, and will not become, an agency
for social change.
“In those instances where it has
been determined that the integration of white and colored
patients would work a hardship upon the patients or
interfere with their recovery, exception has been made to
the general policy and local custom has been followed.
“We shall continue our efforts to
provide equally and impartially for every veteran,
regardless of his race, creed or color, the finest service
The official program of ending
racial segregation in all VA hospitals and domiciliary
facilities began in September 1953.
It is important to remember that the
specific instances of departures from the top policy must be
constantly exposed if we are to obtain complete adherence to
the national policy. Branches are urged to investigate
conditions at any Government facilities in their areas and
to report to the Washington Bureau on whether racial
segregation is practiced in these facilities.
FAIR EMPLOYMENT BOARD AND
COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS
The Bureau reminds the branches
that, because of the Association’s efforts, we have two
Federal agencies which are charged with the responsibility
of eliminating discrimination in employment. These are the
Federal Fair Employment Board, located in the U.S. Civil
Service Commission, Washington, D.C., which operates under
Executive Order No. 9980 and the Committee on Government
Contracts, located in the U.S. Department of Labor,
Washington, D.C. which is established to police the
non-discrimination clause which is in all Government
contracts under Executive Order No. 10,479.[ix]
Neither of these committees can be
considered as a substitute for a Federal Fair Employment
Practice Law under any circumstances. However, they can
perform valuable functions if we insist that they act on
specific problems and complaints which we present.
As frequently happens in the
executive branch, these committees are sometimes blocked by
powerful Government officials who for one reason or another
wish to prevent fair employment.[x]
We now have a specific case on this
point involving the Treasury Department and the Bureau of
Engraving and Printing. The Treasury Department apparently
with the sanction of the White House permits continued
discrimination against apprentice-trainees by denying them
opportunity to continue their instruction in this field of
employment. A Federal Fair Employment recommendation that
this discrimination be corrected has been suppressed.[xi]
In recent years, Federal executive
policies in housing have been the greatest single factor in
promoting residential racial segregation. This is still
The record of Federal practices is so bad and so extensive
that it cannot be compressed into a few paragraphs.[xiii]
It should be noted that on January
25, 1954, the President made the following statement in his
Housing Message to Congress:
“It must be frankly and honestly
acknowledged that many members of minority groups,
regardless of their income or their economic status, have
had the least opportunity of all of our citizens to acquire
good homes. Some progress, although far too little, has been
made by the Housing Agency in encouraging the production and
financing of adequate housing available to members of
minority groups. However, the administrative policies
governing the operations of the several housing agencies
must be, and they will be, materially strengthened and
augmented in order to assure equal opportunity for all of
our citizens to acquire, within their means, good and
well-located homes. We shall take steps to insure that
families of minority groups displaced by urban redevelopment
operations have a fair opportunity to acquire adequate
housing; we shall prevent the dislocation of such families
through the misuse of slum clearance programs; and we shall
encourage adequate mortgage financing for the construction
of new housing for such families on good, well-located
Nothing has been done by the Housing
Agencies to implement the promise made in this message.[xv]
THE LEGISLATIVE RECORD
The only record to date of the
Republican controlled Congress’ views on civil rights is
that of January 7, 1953, when, as a matter of Party policy,
the Republicans voted solidly with the southern Democrats to
continue Senate rules which permit filibusters.[xvi]
The only Republicans who voted in
favor of changing the rules were Senators Duff (Pa.),
Hendrickson (N.J.), Ives (N.Y.), Kuchel (Calif.), and the
late Senator Tobey of New Hampshire.
Since that time, the President and
the leaders in the House and Senate have systematically
ignored all pleas for action on civil rights legislation.
The nearest we have come to getting
officially endorsed action has been in a bill to penalize
segregation in interstate travel.[xvii]
Hearings on this bill have been held in the House, but the
House Committee has not reported out the bill at the time
this statement is written because the executive agencies of
Government, which must obtain clearance from the Bureau of
the Budget before submitting reports on pending legislation,
have not sent in their reports.
The conclusion is inescapable that
these reports are being held up by the White House. In
addition, the Senate Committee has refused to act on the
bills because the House Committee has not acted.
The Senate Labor and Public Welfare
Committee has reported out S. 692, a Federal Fair Employment
Practice Bill with enforcement powers. However, the House
has no plan for considering this bill in committee and it is
obvious that under the present rule S. 692 would face a
filibuster in the Senate.[xviii]
Perhaps one of the worse sins of the
83rd Congress is the passage of a hospital
construction act which permits segregation in public
hospitals that receive Federal aid. Northern Senators and
representatives have flatly refused to support the principle
that safeguards against segregation in such hospitals should
be incorporated in this bill. The fact that this legislation
was passed after the Supreme Court decisions outlawing
segregation shows the grim problem facing us in the future
as we continue the battle against Government endorsed
Generally speaking, the grants to
states for social welfare and other programs that benefit
large numbers of people have the support of a coalition of
liberal northern and “less conservative” southern members of
Congress. The members of this group believe that inclusion
of non-segregation provisions in such legislation will force
the southern group to vote against the entire bill - no
matter how beneficial it may be. Hence, the northern
liberals (both Republicans and Democrats) usually oppose
including non-segregation clauses in such measures.
The one bright spot so far in the
record of the 83rd Congress is the defeat of an
amendment by Senator Maybank of South Carolina which would
have struck out public housing from the Housing Act of 1954
because of the Supreme Court decision outlawing segregation
in California public housing. The Maybank amendment was
defeated by a voice vote on June 4.
The only Senators who made
statements for the record on the date this vote was taken
were Senator Maybank, who spoke in favor of his own
amendment, Senator Knowland, the Majority Leader, who urged
the Maybank amendment be defeated, and Senator Lehman, who
expressed his opposition to the Maybank amendment. However,
the overwhelming nature of the vote shows that it was
heavily supported by many Senators, and, in this instance,
the Congress was prevented from going on record in favor of
defying the Supreme Court.[xx]
We must publicize and stress the
records of members of the Senate and House if we are to
overcome the present stalemate in Congress on civil rights.
We are now at the place where our steadily increasing voting
strength will effectively persuade members of the House and
Senate to support civil rights, if they believe that the
voters at home are carefully following what happens in
One of the finest illustrations of
an effective use of voting records comes from the State of
Oklahoma where Mr. Roscoe Dunjee, editor of the Black
Dispatch, has published the record of Senator Kerr, who
is up for reelection this year. We have asked Mr. Dunjee for
a folio of his printed statements on Senator Kerr, and now
have that available for distribution at the Convention.
The NAACP does not endorse
candidates for election, but it is under a mandate from its
constituents to supply the record of office-holders. We have
these records in the Washington Bureau, but they will serve
no useful purpose unless they are given the kind of
publicity and attention that Mr. Dunjee has provided. It is
strongly urged that his example be followed throughout the
We have at the Convention the
individual records of the Congressmen and Senators. We also
have samples of mimeographed records which we prepare in the
Washington Bureau. Many of these have been distributed in
state and regional conferences. We have not prepared a new
supply for this Convention because it is anticipated that
Congress will adjourn July or early in August. At that time,
a record on each state will be prepared embracing the entire
83rd Congress and it will be available upon
The foregoing statement was presented at the
NAACP National Convention in Dallas, Texas, June 29 to July
Although this report
contains some of the information that is in other
reports, it is published because it is the most
For initial mention of, and report on this problem
involving civilians at Navy yards, see,
respectively, 5/1/50, and 6/5/52.
For Mitchell’s initial reaction to the Federal Fair
Employment Board’s recommendation, see 3/3/50. For
detailed backgrounders on the ending of the
apprentice program, see letter, 7/9/53, from A. W.
Hall, director of the Bureau of Engraving and
Printers, to a Mr. Longhorn, and another from Hall
to Raymond F. Cooke, 4/23/54, in NAACP WB-18, DLC.
See also, among others, 3/9, 9/29/54.
See, in appendix, 2/1/49, and 1/11/52; and headnote
on Segregation in Federal Housing Programs. See
also, most immediately, 6/4, 5/5/54.
Mitchell recommended to Walter White that the Board
request a joint meeting with the President, attorney
general and the Housing administrator to obtain a
“definite agreement that in the future the
Government will give no aid of any kind in the
Housing program unless there is an assurance that
housing and/or facilities will be open to qualified
persons without regard to race. Mitchell memorandum
to White, 5/7/54, NAACP WB-91, DLC.
[xiv]NYT, 1/26/54, 1, 12; “Special Message to the
Congress on Housing.” 1/25/54, Public
Papers of the Presidents, 1954, 193-200.
At Eisenhower’s news conference on 5/5/54, Ethel
Payne of the Defender Publications repeated her
question of 4/7/54 to the president “as to whether
the several housing agencies had issued any
regulations to implement the statement in your
Housing Message to Congress, that everything should
be done to assure good and well located homes for
all citizens.” As far as she had learned, she told
Eisenhower, “no such specific regulations have been
forthcoming.” She cited Levittown in Pennsylvania as
an example of communities where members of minority
groups had been barred. The president responded that
the “only hope of getting a detailed report” was to
go to the F.H.A. itself. NYT, 5/6/54, 18. See
also Walter White’s assertion that Eisenhower had
“assured him personally that no Federal moneys would
be used for segregation.” NYT, 5/18/54, 16.
[xvi]CQ Weekly Report, 1/9/53, 43-44. On 1/18/54,
Sen. Clinton P. Anderson (D-N.M.) proposed in a
Senate speech that the cloture rule (Rule XXII) be
changed so that debate could be terminated by a vote
of two-thirds of all senators voting, ranther than
two-thirds of all elected senators, as was then
required. Senator William F. Knowland (R-Calif.),
Republican floor leader, said he respectfully
declined the invitation “for a double filibuster,”
instead of a single filibuster, “prior to a vote on
Hawaiian statehood.” Knowland said the Republican
Policy Committee might consider the matter at some
future date, but in the interest of expediting the
President’s program, he would not do so before
February. CQ Weekly Report, 1/22/54, 97. See
also 4/30/53 and materials in NAACP WB-111, DLC.
4/21/54, Hearings, 847-56; Shelly v.
Kramer; See also Watson, Lion in the Lobby,
“During consideration of the Omnibus Housing Act of
1954, the House by non-recorded votes rejected
anti-discrimination and anti-segregation amendments.
No such amendments were offered in the Senate, but a
move to delete the public housing features of the
bill in view of the Supreme court’s anti-segregation
decisions never reached the floor.” Congress and
the Nation, 1616.