Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

case.

Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia. But the United States Supreme Court, in holding that the fourteenth amendment requires equal protection of the laws within the State borders, outlawed the State scholarship provision, so far as it professes to compel the Negro student to go outside the State for the same education offered to white students within the State.

Missouri, in 1939, changed its scholarship law from the compulsory feature to an optional feature, making it optional on the Negro student as to whether he would aceept the scholarship or whether he would apply to the State university at home. The point is, out-ofState scholarships may no longer be considered an acceptable device to ease the pressure of increasing demand for a higher level of education on the part of Negro citizens. I should like also to point out another implication of the Gaines

A very distinguished southerner has asked the question: What good is the Gaines case? On the ground that Negro students still are not accepted in the State university. The answer is that the Gaines case did two things: First, it raised the ceiling over Negro education because until the Gaines case was decided, the ceiling over Negro education in the South was the bachelor's degree. There was no Southern State which provided a master degree or doctor of philosophy degree or professional degree in a State institution for Negroes. The Gaines case raised the celing over Negro education, so that the celing over Negro education now is at the same level as the celing over white education.

In other words, what we might say is this: The Gaines case did not break down a horizontal segregation, but it certainly did break down a vertical segregation.

In addition the Gaines case did something else. The Gaines case served notice on the North that the North could not establish segregation except at a prohibitive expense; and it perhaps would do very much to discourage States like Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, particularly Ohio and Illinois where there are great numbers of Negro students at the State universities where, for example, the questin has come up in the court, State ex rel Weaver v. Board of Trustees of Ohio State University, concerning the question of facilities offered to Negro students.

Also I think that the Gaines case, to a certain extent, has destroyed the idea of regional universities for Negroes as distinguished from whites. Regional universities may be the answer in the South for highly specialized education where the demand is not sufficiently large to maintain a body of students-and that applies, of course, to white as well as to colored. Certainly the Gaines case has settled the question that if there is a regional system set up it must either be set-up for all the people or you must have two branches for both sets of the people.

I think also that all types of educational services are affected by these Federal court decisions, and I would like to call your attention to the fact that in Greenville County, Va., a suit has already been instituted by a Negro parent and the Negro parent's child, a student, looking to the question of equalization of bus transportation for elementary school children.

Now as to the methods of campaign which have been lodged against the inequalities of education. First, there has been no attempt to lower the standard of education for whites. As a matter of fact, we

unreservedly subscribe to the proposition that the problem is not to give whites less education but more education, and that the foundation of a democracy must rest upon the intelligence of its citizens. We believe, as a minority group, that our own fate is much more secure with an intelligent body of citizens than with citizens who are benighted through ignorance. Therefore, regardless of the proposition of law, we have never taken the position that we want to curtail education. Our whole efforts have been to expand it.

In this regard we might, for example, call attention to the problem of the matter of equalization of teachers' salaries. From a legal standpoint it was perfectly plausible to argue that inasmuch as the States gave the same certificate to Negroes and white teachers, and inasmuch as it was able to get educational services from Negro teachers at less salary than white teachers, that it would be a waste of taxpayers' money to pay white teachers more than Negro teachers, and that the salary level should be the salary of Negro teachers. We believe that would be a step backward and lower the standard of living, and our effort has been to make the salaries of Negro teachers rise to the level of salaries of white teachers, and then to carry the teachers' salaries equally up to a place where the salary scale would give them complete security and also tenure.

In that respect, let me say that at the outset of the campaign we met with the difficulty that in the South, school teachers, white and colored, do not have tenure. That is a thing which we deplore, which we think is bad educational policy.

In Maryland, when we brought our first case on equalization of teachers' salaries, the Gibbs case, we at least had a plaintiff who would be in school as long as the case took to go through the court, but in the first case brought in Virginia, the case of Black v. Board of Education in Norfolk, under the circumstances that the Norfolk school teachers, white and colored, simply had a year's contract, the school board refused to renew the contract of Miss Black, and the case became moot. That aroused a tremendous amount of public resentment on the part of the local daily press, on the part of many spirited citizens, and in the next case that was brought the Board of Education did not dare to employ the same tactics.

The case of Alston v. Board of Education went through to a final decision before the circuit court of appeals and as writ of certiorari was denied by the United States Supreme Court, however, holding that a differential in teachers' salaries based solely on account of race was, in substance, a denial of equal protection of the laws. Even in the Southern States, which do not have tenure, under the procedure adopted in the Alston case of a declaratory judgment we believe we can reach all those inequalities as may be called for, in order to wipe out the differential base entirely on account of race.

I should like to read some of the cases which have been brought and show their scope and their range, to demonstrate the fact that this is not just what you might call agitation induced by an outside organization, but is a grass roots spontaneous movement. For example, I will list four cases from Maryland in Montgomery, Calvert, Prince Georges, and Anne Arundel Counties. Those are cases in which litigation over equalization of salaries has actually gone at least to the point of suit and answer. There are many other cases in Maryland which have reached the question of equalization of

salaries by voluntary arrangement. I should like to say, so far as tactics are concerned, that our procedure has always been to let the counties reach the matter of equalization by what you might call such graduated steps as might be easy for the county or for the local board of education, and any other measures which the local board of education and the citizens of the community themselves could accept gracefully and willingly.

For example, the Alston case, which was cited by Senator Thomas in his introductory speech, terminated in this way, that once having reached the principle of a declaration of equality of teachers' salaries as a constitutional requirement by a consent decree, the Board of Education was given 3 years within which to attain equalization of salaries, one-third the first year, another third the year following, and full equality the third year. The proposition is that if a local community voluntarily facilitates the process of raising educational standards, it leaves a better community effect than if it was involuntarily forced to do it; I mean to say unwillingly through the courts. Our position has always been, as far as possible, once the principle of no differentials in salary based solely on race, has been recognized, to let the local community work equalization out in its own way, as long as there was a conscientious approach toward reaching the actual equality as far as possible and practical.

In Virginia I mention again the suit in Norfolk. In Kentucky there is a suit in Louisville, Abingdon v. Board of Education. În Chattanooga, Tenn., there is a petition pending now before the local school board. In New Orleans there is a petition now pending before the local school board for equalization of salaries. In Birmingham, Ala., Columbia, S. C., Atlanta, Ga., Fort Worth, Tex., Oklahoma City, Okla., there are all petitions, and other steps have already been taken which are concerned with Negro teachers' contention for equalization of salaries for the same certificate, same qualification and same work.

Likewise, so far as university cases are concerned, there are six cases now pending in the Chancery Court in Knoxville, Tenn., affecting the University of Tennessee. There are applications, at least there were recently applications pending before the University of South Carolina. There is the Bluford case which is now pending before the Missouri State Supreme Court in the State of Missouri. So that all along you do not have just isolated instances of Negroes coming up for an increase of educational opportunities, but you are having a dynamic, ever growing movement.

In that respect, I should like to call the attention of the committee to the argument made in the Gaines case, that the country is really in just about the fourth generation of Negro education. The first generation of Negro education was probably the freed slaves who were limited to the task, after reaching maturity, of learning their A B C's. The second generation of Negro education probably came with the children who were born right after the Civil War, who went through the elementary school, and high school. At that time, even in my own father's time, you had many Negro teachers who had nothing more than a high-school education teaching in high school. In my own time, which might be called the third generation, the average top level of Negro education was an A. B. degree. The Negro in those days was considered an educated man when he had a

[ocr errors]

college degree, but at the present time, in the fourth generation, the level is much higher. For example, in the Washington public schools, no Negro teacher is appointed in the public high schools in Washington without a master's degree. So that you have here a gradual swell and an increasing demand, a markedly increasing demand on the part of Negro citizens for greater educational advantages which certainly must be met, and if the only way to meet it is by aid from the Federal Government then, in order to get started we will have the Federal Government institute the last step.

Finally may I point out something which is very vital to us. I think it is fundamental to our thinking on this bill, add to the whole picture as to the type of society we want to produce, and that is this: We are profoundly disturbed by the development of Western Hemisphere defense and the general international situation. We are particularly disturbed with the question, I might say, as to the status of the British West Indies and whether the people there are going to be reduced to a still more subordinate status.

Likewise I might say that the people of the Western Hemisphere, Central and South America, are very much concerned as to whether the United States is engaged upon a policy of Yankee imperialism, Perhaps the best way to ally the fears, both internally and externally, is to make sure that the Nation extends the fullest measure of democracy at home.

We believe that democracy rests fundamentally upon the education and intelligence of the citizenship, and for that reason we support this bill as the necessary first step toward what we believe and hope will be the final and ultimately complete program of equality, both as to State funds and as to all local Federal funds which go into the public education of the citizens.

The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Mr. Houston.
Mr. Howard D. Woodson, please.

STATEMENT OF HOWARD D. WOODSON, CHAIRMAN, FAR NORTH

EAST COUNCIL OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Woodson, I believe that you have something to add in regard to the District of Columbia schools. Is that right?

Mr. Woodson. I have; yes, sir. I thank you for the opportunity of appearing. My name is Howard D. Woodson. I am chairman of the Far Northeast Council of the District of Columbia, which represents that area east of the Anacostia River and the District of Columbia. We have five citizens' associations, three parent-teachers' associations in that area, which is largely, oh, probably about 95 percent colored.

In the past the colored citizens have not been getting their full share, that is the proportionate share of the appropriations, and as was stated by the assistant superintendent in a broadcast very recently, there is an accumulation of deficiencies of about $1,000,000 in the last 10 years. That brings us up to this national emergency with congested schools for our colored children. They have a far greater overload of pupils per teacher than the whites have. They have an average of close on to 50 pupils per teacher. The schools are crowded.

For instance, as to the high schools, we only have three senior high schools at the present time in the District of Columbia, and there is an overload. That is, the capacity is a deficiency of probably 1,200 over the enrollment, and there are now before the Appropriations Committee in the House recommendations for a central high school at Twenty-fourth and Bennings Road to partially relieve that situation.

There is a high school that teaches trades. There are 1,700 pupils in a school with the capacity of only 900, exclusive of four portable wooden buildings that are now there, and they are the only portable buildings for senior high schools in the District of Columbia. That is at Armstrong Technical High School.

: In the far northeast we have 3 schools, elementary schools. There is a housing project under way for approximately 3,000 families on Kenilworth Avenue near the old race track, where they are demolishing now for an F. H. A. project for 500 families, and immediately to the north there will be an Alley Dwelling Authority housing project for 500 families, and plans are now being prepared on Kenilworth Avenue, just immediately to the east of the power plant there, for Alley Dwelling Authority housing project for about 300 families. On å tract of land that is bounded by Sheriff road and Division Avenue, Forty-ninth Street, and Hayes Street, there are now under construction projects for over 200 families, and that 63 acres in that tract will be ultimately developed for over 1,000 families.

The Board of Education has recommended to the Commissioners, and the Commissioners have recommended to the Congress for deficiency appropriations for a school at Forty-ninth and Hayes Street to partially relieve that situation, which is in that same area as this housing project. But in addition to that, we will have to have schools on Kenilworth Avenue to take care of about 1,300 pupils that will come there, I mean 1,300 families that will come there from the projected housing there, and out on Central Avenue, between Fifty-first and Fifty-third Streets, in the new subdivision, out there we will have to have another school. That is in accordance with the recommendations that we have talked about with the school officials.

On Central Avenue and Bennings Road, there is a firm there that has been building houses, about 100 every year, and now they have increased their rate of building, and so we figure that in the next couple of years there will be at least provision made for 3,000 additional families.

There are nearly 600 children from this far northeast that are now attending Brown Junior High School near Twenty-fourth and Bennings Road. They have to walk from 3 to 5 miles every day. That is a very great hardship. That school has nearly 1,500 pupils, in a school of the capacity of only 900. The Board of Education and Commissioners have recommended to this same committee for deficiency appropriations in Congress for a junior high school at the corner of Forty-ninth Street and Washington Place.

Senator ELLENDER. How long has that condition existed?

Mr. Woodson. Well, we have been asking for appropriations for this school for the last several years, probably 5 years.

Senator ELLENDER. Has it been aggravated in the last 4 or 5 months ?

Mr. Woodson. Yes, sir; it is getting worse constantly. The principal of the school at Smothers School, which is in our area, says

« AnteriorContinuar »