Imágenes de páginas


an education. We are building up a million or two nomads

that will present a serious problem to us in the next generation.

That is on page 391 of our report.

My next quotation is from page 577 of our report. This statement is from the report of the National Resources Committee, Problems of the Changing Population, of May 1938, page 120 of that report:

The evidence indicates clearly that some States provide relatively adequate support for education with relatively little financial effort involved; others support their schools equally well as the result of great financial effort; and in others education is supported only meagerly, in spite of the fact that a comparatively large percentage of total tax resources is expended for that purpose. States with great economic resources on the whole support their schools adequately and with relative ease; States with limited resources almost without exception rank low in adequacy of financial support even though, in general, they put forth greater effort than the richer States. In those States providing the least adequate support for education the fundamental difficulty lies in lack of financial assets. Even though a model tax plan were put into effect in the poorer States, they would not be able to support their schools adequately.

There is only one other thing that I care to call attention to, and I am not going into it in detail because I am sure that others have presented these facts to you. In 1938 the National Emergency Council prepared a report to the President entitled "Report on Economic Conditions of the South.” In the chapter on Education they had this to say:

In the rural regions of the South, particularly, there is a marked disparity between the number of children to be educated and the means for educating them. For example, in 1930 the rural inhabitants of the Southeast had to care for 4,250,000 children of school age of the country's total, although they received an income of only 2 percent of the Nation's total. In the nonfarm population of the Northeast, on the other hand, there were 8,500,000 children in a group that received 42 percent of the total national income-21 times as much income available to educate only twice as many children.

The southern regions are affected by population shifts more than other sections because the greatest proportion of movers originate there. In the 1920's the States south of the Potomac and Ohio Rivers and east of the Mississippi lost about 1,700,000 persons through migration, about half of whom were between 15 and 35 years of age. These persons moved at the beginning of their productive life to regions which got this manpower almost free of cost, whereas the South, which had borne the expense of their care and education up to the time when they could start producing, suffered an almost complete loss of its investment. The newcomers to the South did not, by any means, balance this loss The cost of rearing and schooling the young people of the southern rural districts who moved to cities has been estimated to be approximately $250,000,000 annually.

The South must educate one-third of the Nation's children with one-sixth of the Nation's school revenues. According to the most conservative estimates, the per capita ability of the richest State in the country to support education is six times as great as that of the poorest State.

But the poor educational status of the South is not a result of lack of effort to support schools. The South collects in total taxes about half as much per person as the Nation as a whole. All Southern States fall below the national average in tax resources per child, although they devote a larger share of their tax income to schools. For the Southern States to spend the national average per pupil would require an additional quarter of a billion dollars of revenue.

In 1936 the Southern States spent an average of $25.11 per child in schools, or about half the average for the country as a whole, or a quarter of what was spent per child in New York State. In 1935–36 the average school child enrolled in Mississippi had $27.47 spent on his education. At the same time the average school child enrolled in New York State had $141.43 spent on his education, or more than five times as much as was spent on a child in Mississippi. There were actually 1,500 school centers in Mississippi without school buildings, requiring children to attend school in large halls, abandoned tenant houses, country churches, and, in some instances, ever in cotton pens.

Mr. Chairman, I do not care to say anything more. I appreciate the opportunity to appear before you. To me it seems to resolve itself into a simple problem, that is that all sections of the country depend upon the productive capacity of the boys and girls from every other section of the country, and just as practically all of our States have, within their own set-up, provided an equalization fund in order to equalize educational opportunities throughout that State, it seems to me that this great Federal Government should seek to equalize educational opportunities throughout the United States. It seems to me it would be desirable from the standpoint of those sections to which these people are going to migrate, because in that way they could expect a better and greater productive capacity. It certainly seems to me only fair to the boys and girls who have to go out there and compete with those other boys and girls that they might have these better opportunities in order to be the better able to compete.

The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Mr. Sparkman.
Mr. Charles H. Houston.



The CHAIRMAN. Will you give your name, your address, and your position, please, and then proceed?

Mr. Houston. Thank you, sir. My name is Charles H. Houston. I am on the national legal committee of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

I wish to apologize to the committee. I understand I was called this morning, but I had to be in court and could not get here.

I want to say that we support this bill as a minimum, in its present form, in what we believe is a sincere effort on the part of the Members of the Congress, particularly its sponsors, to try to equalize education throughout the Nation. However, for the purpose of the record and without any lack of support of this particular bill, we should like to place on record four matters which we think are important, so far as the future is concerned.

The first is that there is no equalization of costs because we recognize the paramount necessity of getting the program going. At this particular initiatory stage we are more interested in action and practical justice than we are in holding up the whole program to try to reach a perfect, absolute equality.

We do want to say for the record, however, that the fact the funds are to be divided according to population ratio does not actually produce equality, even as to Federal funds, for the reason that Negroes are so far behind in the matter of education that if equality were to be achieved, of course it would have to be achieved by an expenditure on Negro education of much greater than the population ratio. matter of fact, ultimately we hope that experience will show the way by which the funds for education may be expendable strictly according to public need, which we believe is the only just basis for the expenditure of public funds.

In the next place we hope that there will be a very close administrative watch over these funds, for the reason that we are much concerned that these funds be not wasted. We hear talk, for example, about the

As a


fact that the section of the country which needs education most is least able to carry the financial burden of education, and at the same time proportionately has the largest number of children. I would call attention to the fact, for example, that the very poorest State in the Union indulges in the luxury of three branches of public schools.

I illustrate this by reference to the case of Gong Lum v. Rice (1927), 275 U. S. 78, a decision by Chief Justice Taft, involving the exclusion of a Chinese girl from the Mississippi public schools for whites. As a result, in the town of Greenville, Miss., they have three branches of the public schools; a branch for whites, a branch for Negroes, and a branch for Chinese. Certainly this pump priming by Federal funds of State education should not be the occasion for waste, and we hope that that will be a matter of serious administrative

I understand, however, that I was invited here particularly to discuss the matter of the implications of the recent Federal decisions affecting equality of education. I have had something to do with that problem being counsel of record in the Gaines case, and fairly close to the cases on equalization of teachers' salaries.

In his introductory speech Senator Thomas referred to three of these cases, the Missouri ex rel Gaines v. Canada, the University of Missouri case; Mills v. Board of Education; and Alston v. Board of Education of Norfolk, which are the teachers' salary cases.

I should like to call attention to a fourth case which he did not mention. That case is Bluford v. Canada which appears in 32 Fed. Supp. 707. That Bluford v. Canada case raises the question as to the personal liability of a State officer denying a Negro the right to equal educational opportunities. In the particular instance, Lucile Bluford, a Negro resident of Kansas City, Mo., applied to the University of Missouri for graduate work in journalism. The only graduate work in journalism in the State of Missouri is offered by the University of Missouri. Its school of journalism is the oldest in the world and certainly one of the best. She was denied admission to the school of journalism on account of race alone, and two suits were filed: a mandamus case in the State court, which is now pending in the Missouri Supreme Court, Division No. 1, and a Federal case for damages under the Civil Rights Act (U. S. C., title VIII, sec. 43). I ask leave to check the citation for accuracy,

The CHAIRMAN. That leave will be granted.

Mr. Houston. That damage suit was filed under the Civil Rights Act, which provides that whoever, under color of any State law, regulation, custom or usage, denies to a person a right guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States or any Federal law shall be answerable to such person in an action for damages.

The CHAIRMAN. What is the date of that act, do you know? Mr. Houston. I think it is the act of April 20, 1871 (17 Stat. 13). The judge ruled under the authority of Missouri ex rel Gaines v. Canada, that a State official is liable to a Negro, but he put the condition on that in order to enforce personal liability against the State officer, the State officer must first know there was no other educational facility available and there must be a demand for the work wanted made on any other facility which the State had established, especially for Negroes, as for example the State College for Negroes in Missouri, which did not have journalism. In other words, the Negro has to make a demand upon the existing educational facilities for Negroes; then having made that demand, he has to bring that lack of educational opportunity home to the particular State officer whom he is then trying to hold in damages for refusing to admit him, say to the State university. I think that is a very important matter for consideration of the committee.

The CHAIRMAN. May I ask a question? Your point there is that administration may be greatly embarrassed as the result of these decisions?

Mr. HOUSTON. The point is, the problem affects the individuals themselves, and under these circumstances the individual official is in a quandary. If he admits the Negro student the chances are he loses his job. If he does not admit the Negro he is liable in damages for violation of civil rights, on the implications of the decisions.

The whole proposition of having separate schools for white and colored is based upon existing educational facilities, that is facilities actually in existence. That is illustrated by the case of Pearson v. Murray. The Murray case was the first case to reach the appellate courts on the exclusion of Negroes from State universities. It is found in 169 Maryland 478 (1936). University v. Murray is the way I think it is reported in the book. In that case a Negro boy applied to the school of law of the University of Maryland and was denied admission solely on account of race. The Maryland State court ordered his admission, and in its opinion said that the compliance with the Constitution cannot be indefinitely postponed.

In the Gaines case, Missouri had a law which provided for the expansion of the State College for Negroes to give the added courses that Negroes might desire, but the legislation gave the board of curators a discretionary power as to when these facilities should be offered. The United States Supreme Court said that performance under the Constitution could not be indefinitely postponed.

After the Gaines case had been decided in the United States Supreme Court, it went back to the Missouri Supreme Court for a second hearing, and pending the time between the decision of the United States Supreme Court and the second hearing in the Missouri Supreme Court, Missouri amended its legislation by making it mandatory on the curators of Lincoln University, that is the Negro school. (I should like to pause here to pay a tribute to the fact that Lincoln University was founded by regimental funds of two Negro regiments that fought in the Civil War. I think that should be mentioned that here were Negro soldiers fighting for freedom who had recognized the necessity of education for their children.) Two hundred thousand dollars was appropriated to implement the mandatory legislation for expansion. Well, the Missouri Supreme Court in the second decision of the Gaines case, that is 344 Missouri 1234, said that if there was not a separate law school established by Lincoln University, the Negro school, by September 1939, Gaines should be admitted to the law school of the University of Missouri. In other words, that the maintenance of segregated schools depends upon the actual existence of equal but separate educational facilities for Negroes.

In that respect I should like to also call attention to Gong Lum v. Rice, in which Mr. Chief Justice Taft said that it did not appear in that case that there was no school to which this Chinese girl could

[ocr errors]

conveniently go. If such was the case, if it appeared of record, it would present an entirely different question, no matter what the policy of the State might be. So the very first thing if the States want the principle of segregated institutions to apply, there must be the actual application of adequate funds for these institutions.

Second, on the question of raising the educational standards by equalizing teachers' salaries, I wish to say that our chief interest was not simply in trying to raise the standards of teachers as teachers, in other words, not simply to obtain a more favored class of whitecollar workers. The situation we were trying to improve was Negro education, and we have found in every instance where the standards of wages have been equalized further improvements have been obtained by way of increase in transportation, increase in building facilities, and generally an increase in the level of education in the community.

We have found also that some of the local boards of education have been perfectly content not to examine Negro teachers credentials too critically so long as they were paying great differentials in salaries. Just as soon as salaries were raised, however, the local school boards became much more interested in teacher qualifications. As an example, the very first case for equalization of salaries ever begun was the case of Gibbs v. Board of Education in Montgomery County, Md. After salaries were equalized the superintendent and county board checked on Gibbs and found he did not have the proper teacher's certificate. As a result, he was forced to take a leave of absence without pay from his job in order to qualify.

. I should like to say one other thing about the matter of raising salaries, and that is this: In each instance in which salaries have been raised we have found that the teachers have put the money back into the community. We made a rough survey in Montgomery County about a year after the decision under which, by a stipulation, salaries were raised. We found that out of forty-odd teachers approached about 10 teachers had started new bank accounts in the county banks, 4 teachers had begun to purchase homes, 3 teachers had bought automobiles, and all of them had bought them from agencies within the county, and, in general, all the teachers reported that they were spending more money locally than they had spent prior to the time the salaries were raised. So the incidental effect of this program of raising salaries is to spread a general benefit throughout the community.

Another feature of these Federal decisions which has a profound effect, it seems to me, upon the local educational situation and the necessity of this bill is the fact that the Gaines case practically outlawed the matter of the out-of-State scholarships. One of the devices that the Southern States had been using in order to provide graduate and professional education for Negroes where there were no graduate or professional schools established within the States was to provide what was known as out-of-State scholarships whereby the Negro student could take a money benefit and go beyond the State's border to some State which admitted Negroes to the State University and there obtain, at that out-of-State institution, the courses which were offered to the white students and all other students, foreign as well as native born, within the State borders. Some of the States having those scholarship laws are: Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri,

« AnteriorContinuar »