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Mr. RANDOLPH. Yes. The hard core of Negro unemployment is increasing and one of the reasons for that is that the revolution of automation is displacing Negro workers because they are largely unskilled.
Now, this is a major problem, because these workers have no training, have no skills, and many of them do not have the ability to acquire training, and consequently you have a problem here of increasing unemployment which is of a group that are virtually unemployable, for this reason we have suggested that there should be massive public works to provide employment for Negro workers and other minority groups.
Senator JORDAN. Thank you.
Senator Clark. Mr. Randolph, I would like to particularly stress what I believe is the validity of the statement that we will not have full employment until we have fair employment and that Government must take the leadership in manpower and employment problems.
Actually, you know, it is the function of this Subcommittee on Manpower and Employment to develop a program for full employment, and that is why we are here.
We consider fair employment practices legislation to be one of the cornerstones from which a full employment policy can be devised. I want to thank you for bringing those matters to our attention.
Mr. RANDOLPH. Thank you, Senator.
Senator CLARK. Our next witness is Mr. Whitney M. Young, Jr., the executive director of the National Urban League.
Mr. Young, we are very happy to have you here.
Again, I do not want to impose my views on yours. I have read your statement, which I believe is excellent. But we have to adjourn in 32 minutes. There is another panel of witnesses to be heard after you. If you felt you could permit me to put your statement in full in the record and summarize it, I should be grateful. But if you feel the continuity of your thought would dictate it should be read, please feel free to do so.
Mr. YOUNG. The statement is about 10 minutes long, Senator. I think I can get through in 8 minutes. Senator CLARK. You handle it in your own way. Mr. Young. Thank you.
STATEMENT OF WHITNEY M. YOUNG, JR., EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR,
NATIONAL URBAN LEAGUE
Mr. Young. My name is Whitney M. Young, Jr. I am employed as the executive director of the National Urban League with headquarters in New York City:
Our agency appreciates your invitation to present testimony before the subcommittee. The information and evidence we offer has been accumulated over the years by experts seeking to secure equal employment opportunities for our Negro citizens.
The National Urban League has affiliates in 65 cities and 30 States and the District of Columbia. In each of these major industrial areas, a trained staff of more than 500 full-time professional employees conducts the day-to-day activities of the Urban League. Their efforts are reinforced by the 6,000 volunteers who bring their knowledge, leadership, and experience to the task.
The Urban League, since its very beginning 53 years ago, has given top priority to the question of equal employment opportunities, believing as we do that the right to work at one's highest skill is not only important to the acquisition of food, clothing, and shelter, but it is also basic to a feeling of self-respect and the ability to perform a most constructive parental role.
While throughout its history to the present the Urban League has utilized the tools of convenience, negotiation, and persuasion with spotty successes here and there, we still fell far short of meeting our goal of matching the qualified Negro citizen with the job which could best utilize his skill.
In recent years, our efforts have been noticeably accelerated in those States and cities where there exist fair employment practices legislation, and it is because of both the before-and-after experience which we have had that prompts us to strongly endorse the present S. 773.
The problem of employment discrimination and the full utilization of the available skills found among Negro workers is still with us. In fact, there is evidence to show that the economic gap between the average income for Negro citizens as compared to white citizens has actually increased in the last 10 years.
In 1952, the average family income for Negro citizens was 57 percent of that for the average white family. In 1962 it was 54 percent. It is also a fact, which I understand has already been established in this committee, that the Negro unemployment rate at present is 212 to 3 times larger than that for white workers, and that in the case of youth between the ages of 16 and 21 who are out of work and out of school, close to 50 percent of these are Negro citizens though they represent no more than 11 percent of the population.
The gains we have made in employment are largely those that call for very high skills and qualifications, such as engineers, chemists. skilled stenographers, where the labor supply among white citizens is extremely limited.
At the level of beginning jobs and traineeships, where the supply of white workers is more plentiful, the Negro worker still faces great difficulty in being placed. The Negro in America today all too often faces the choice, therefore, between being a highly skilled technician or professional, or being unemployed; between living in a luxurious home in the suburbs, or a tenement in the slums; between sending his children to a fashionable prep school, or to an overcrowded ill-equipped public school in a deprived neighborhood.
The great value of this legislation, therefore, will be to do some thing about that large group of Negro workers, some 80 percent, who range from below average to the level of a potential genius who, unless something is done about them face a midnight of horror and disillusionment unaparalleled in our history.
Because the Negro has faced generations of denial and discrimina. tion, we now ask that the same conscious deliberate effort be made tu include him in employment that for so many years was used to corsciously exclude him.
The high proportion of Negro citizens who are dependent uses welfare, or who commit crimes, can be directly traced to either a con. dition of unemployment or the equally frustrating position of beine underemployed
It is a sociological fact that the rate of social disorganization among white citizens in the low economic groups is identical with Negro citizens also in the low economic groups, and that there is less actual social disorganization among Negro citizens in the upper income groups than among white persons similarly situated. Our choice today is quite clear:
(1) We either help citizens become constructive consumers or they will be destructive dependents.
(2) We either provide resources for correction, prevention, and rehabilitation, or we spend our money for crime and welfare. Experience has shown us that most employers basically want to be fair in their employment policies, but ofttimes feel restrained by what they feel are community attitudes and employee resistance. The existence of a law solves this problem by relieving them of the choice. The right to operate a business does not give one the right to jeopardize the public welfare, and the withholding of jobs from some citizen solely on the basis of color does definite harm not only to the public welfare but to the world image of our democracy and our way of life.
We have no illusions that a complete absence of employment discrimination will immediately solve the problem of employment for many Negro citizens since many failed to secure the skills needed in a modern work world because they felt it was useless and because of economic reasons. Nothing could provide the incentives, however, and motivate the young Negro youth to remain in school and adequately prepare himself for the modern work world that the kind of assurance of employment which this legislation will provide.
We are confident that the masses of Negroes so employed will provide a tremendous boost to the economy as they represent a consumer resource long ignored.
Almost without exception, all of the original fears around fair employment practices legislation have been proven unfounded, and the more enlightened employers today honestly desire this type of legislation. There is less coercion in this than the coercion which they previously felt from the majority community with respect to their policies.
The present statistics which this committee has had presented to it showing the disproportionate number of Negroes in the skilled, technical, and professional categories are dramatic testimony to the continued existence of discrimination. The passage of this legislation will serve notice that we in this country truly believe in equality of opportunity, and it will do more than any single thing to eliminate the existence of a second-class citizen in our society.
The National Urban League stands ready to assist employers in the intelligent implementation of a policy of fair employment, and we appreciate the invitation of this committee to appear before it and in this way convey the hopes and aspirations not only of Negro citizens today but of generations yet unborn who must have in this society a chance in the race of life un fettered by the accident of birth.
Senator Clark, I should like to add to this formal statement the fact that we do support the bills that have been introduced by Senrator Case, and the more affirmative and positive kinds of declarations that are included in Senator Humphrey's bill.
We also want to indicate that where we have not stressed our concern with the discrimination practice in the labor movement, we are equally disturbed, particularly in the building trades unions, and the Urban League has offered to cooperate with labor in the changing of this situation.
Senator Clark. Thank you very much, Mr. Young.
Senator JORDAN. That is a fine statement, Mr. Young. I share your concern. Not only does this great bulk of the working force which is 80 percent who will not go oni to technical schools and colleges and universities occupy our attention, it would also be the clerical white. It is a tremendous challenge to the whole duties of this subcommittee to try and find adequate ways of finding employment and encouragement to that group, regardless of race or color. It is a problem of automation and a problem of the ages.
Mr. Young. It just so happens there is a much larger percentage of Negro youngsters.
Senator JORDAN. That is true.
Mr. Young. One of the things that concerns us, it has been mentioned today in testimony, and Secretary Wirtz has mentioned, the fact that we do not wish to displace white workers and the answer to the problem rests in full employment.
My concern about this is that I do not think anybody can honestly promise any time in the foreseeable future that we will have full employment or that we will even approach the 3 or 342 percent that we call prosperity:
My concern is that in the absence of full employment does this mean or will this mean that that 3 percent, if we ever get to that point, will be largely representated by Negro citizens, and what are the implications for the country?
So, while I do not want to replace white workers, I do not want to see Negro workers either bear the brunt of the failure to achieve full employment. I want to see qualified workers who are working, and I want to see the people who are not qualified fall in that 3 percent. But I am disturbed about the notion that we have got to have full employment in this country, which I do not think is possible in the immedate future, before the problem of Negro unemployment is resolved.
Senator JORDAN. I would agree with you.
You use the phrase social disorganization. Does that mean crime, or what does it mean?
Mr. Young. Yes; I refer to crime, dependency, illegitimacy, family breakdown. I think there is a popular misconception that these things are inherent in the racial group, because they are highly disproportionately represented at this point.
I thought it was important to establish that this is a socioeconomic phenomena, and not a phenomena of race.
Senator PELL. I was particluarly struck by your statement that there is less of this among Negroes in the upper income groups than among white persons similarly situated.
Mr. Young. We refer here, and I will give you data to back this up, that on the question of divorce, delinquency, this kind of social disorganization, alcoholism, suicide, that among Negroes of the middle income groups there is less than among whites in the middle income number.
Senator PELL. And appearance in court, criminals?
Senator CLARK. Mr. Young, what is the purpose of the Urban League_has been traditionally to assist the Negro to adjust to the urban—the problems of the urban society as they move from the rural areas; it is largely an educational program designed to do research on what are the problems, acquaint the community with the existence of the problems, explore the availability of resources to do something about the problem and acquaint the Negro citizen with those resources.
Mr. Young. Today our problem is even more pressing, our problem is one of seeing that freedom and equal opportunity do not become empty, hollow words, because of the failure of the people who are prepared to take advantage of new opportunities that arise, so while we are not a direct action group our program works more in the area of career guidance, retraining programs, in a speech I made the other day I pointed out that we must help people as they move from the picket lines around the 5 and 10, its youngsters must go to the libraries, as they move
Senator CLARK. Do you have a national board of directors and also boards in each of these 65 cities?
Mr. Young. We do, sir, and all of these are interracial boards, 50-50.
Senator Clark. That would be my next question, they are all integrated and they are 50–50? Is that right?
Mr. Young. That is right. And I think it is significant that in the 12 southern cities where we have urban leagues, desegregation has been accomplished this year without any fanfare, or without any publicity, or without any disorder.
Senator CLARK. Now, are your 500 full-time professional employees also integrated ?
Mr. Young. I would say approximately 20 percent are Negroes.
Senator CLARK. Our next witnesses are representatives of the National Catholic Welfare Conference, the Synagogue Council of America, the National Council of the Churches of Christ, represented primarily by Rabbi Irwin Blank, of the Synagogue Council of America, accompanied by Dr. Eugene Carson Blake, of the National Council of Churches of Christ, and Father John Cronin, of the National Catholic Welfare Conference.
Gentlemen, we are happy to have you with us. We have picked up a little time. You have 19 minutes which you may use at your discretion. If you desire to come back later, we will arrange for a later meeting but perhaps at this time my suggestion is we put your statement in the record and then allow you to say what you want to particularly emphasize which would enable you to get through on time. That, again, I will leave to you.