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STATEMENT OF DR. HOWARD H. LONG, CHAIRMAN, LEGISLATIVE
COMMITTEE, AMERICAN TEACHERS ASSOCIATION, AND CHAIRMAN, COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC POLICY, ALPHA PHI ALPHA FRATERNITY
Dr. LONG. Mr. Chairman and members of the Senate Committee on Education and Labor, I speak specifically on behalf of the American Teachers Association with a membership and affiliation of approximately 20,000 and for the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, a fraternity of college and professional Negro men with a membership of 7,500 in practically all the States in the Union. In addition, I wish to submit for the record statements from other organizations expressing their approval of this bill. These organizations are national in character and command the respect of a very large following. The statements are appended hereto.
The attitude of the American Teachers Association and the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity upon this legislation is well known. For several years these organizations have given their approval to bills substantially the same as this one. They are again indicating their approval of Senate 181 as it now stands. We are interested in this measure because it favorably affects all the people in areas where reasonably adequate education is not provided and apparently cannot be provided otherwise. The members of these organizations, as members of a minority group, however, are especially interested in the safeguards providing for "just and equitable" distribution of the Federal funds which it attempts to provide for education, where separate schools are maintained by law for minorities. We are especially requesting, therefore, that these guarantees be not weakened in any way by amendment or revision. The reasons for our solicitude in respect to these guarantees are on record with this committee and it would seem unnecessary to repeat them at this time.
We wish to express our thanks to this committee for favorably reporting out Senate bill 637 last year, and for the statesmanship shown in its provisions. We hope that you will report similarly Senate 181 to the floor of the Senate this year.
The following statements from national organizations are submitted for the record. These organizations are:
1. Conference of Presidents of Negro Land Grand Colleges.
2. National Association of Collegiate Deans and Registrars in Negro Schools.
3. The National Medical Association. 4. The Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools for Negroes.
5. The Improved, Benevolent, and Protective Order of Elks of the World.
6. The National Bar Association.
Fort Valley, Ga., January 27, 1945. Dr. HOWARD H. LONG,
Washington, D. C. DEAR DR. LONG: As president of the Conference of Presidents of Negro Land Grant Colleges, permit me to express in this letter my hope that Senate bill 181 will become the law of this land.
I could write you an extensive statement in behalf of this bill; but the facts are so well known that I desist, apart from the merest summary :
FEDERAL AID FOR EDUCATION
I think all of the members of the conference of which I have the honor of being president favor Senate 181 for the following reasons:
1. We believe that the right to an equal education is the natural right of every American citizen.
2. We know that existing inequalities in the distribution of the national income so effect taxable resources that it is an impossibility to achieve the ideal of equal educational opportunity within the present framework of local and State support.
3. We know that the present situation is producing uneducated citizens who will as adults people every State of this Federal Union; and we know that their educational inadequacies will for generations continue to be a reproach to a Nation conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
4. We know that with the best of good will, apparent everywhere in our section, it is not to be expected that areas of the Nation unequally favored by the concentration of industrial wealth, or by the presence of taxable wealth in the form of natural resources, will soon be able to provide for children of whatever race that which is their natural right-a decent, standard, American education.
We therefore favor Federal aid to education, as embodied in Senate 181.
HORACE Mann BOND.
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF COLLEGIATE DEANS AND
REGISTRARS IN NEGRO SCHOOLS,
Charlotte, N. C., January 25, 1945. Dr. HOWARD H. LONG,
Washington, D. O. DEAR DR. LONG: In reply to your letter of January 22 regarding Senate bill 181, Federal aid to education, I am writing to advise as follows:
The National Association of Collegiate Deans and Registrars in Negro Schools joins other organizations in endorsing and approving Senate bill 181 (formerly Senate bill 637), Federal aid to education. The association some time ago went on record as approving the bill, and is in agreement with the provisions as contained in the original bill, which would provide full and fair educational opportunities for Negroes. The association urges the Senate Committee on Labor and Education to report this bill out favorably. Sincerely yours,
S. HERBERT ADAMS, President.
NATIONAL MEDICAL ASSOCIATION, INC.,
Washington, D. C., January 30, 1945. SENATE COMMITTEE ON LABOR AND EDUCATION,
Senate Office Building, Washington, D. C. GENTLEMEN: The National Medical Association, an organization of the colored physicians in this country, wishes to go on record as approving Senate 181, a bill providing for Federal aid to education. We believe that this measure, if enacted into law, will be very helpful in those parts of the country which now are unable financially to provide adequate education for their citizens. We wish to urge, however, that the provisions for "just and equitable" distribution of the funds be not weakened in any way. Respectfully submitted.
C. HERBERT MARSHALL, M. D.,
Chairman, Board of Trustees.
Scotlandville, La., January 26, 1945. Dr. HOWARD H. LONG, Chairman, Legislative Committee, American Teachers Association,
Washington, D. O. DEAR DR. LONG: The Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools for Negroes is tremendously interested in and desirous of passage of the Federal-aid bill on education, formerly Şenate 637, now Senate 181.
We hereby designate you to represent us in any manner to make possible the enactment of this legislation. Sincerely yours,
F. G. CLARK, President, Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools for Negroes.
ElKS DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, IBPOEW,
OFFICE OF COMMISSIONER OF EDUCATION,
Washington, D. C., January 28, 1945. To the Senate Committee on Education and Labor.
STATEMENT IN SUPPORT OF SENATE BILL NO. 181
Mr. CHAIRMAN AND GENTLEMEN OF THE COMMITTEE: This statement is presented by William C. Hueston on behalf of the Improved, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks of the World, a fraternal organization in operation in 40 of the 48 States, embracing more than 3,000 units with a total membership of 300,000 active and reserved. This organization's membership is drawn from the colored citizens of the United States. It has for 20 years conducted an educational department committed to the assistance of indigent students at the college and secondary level and, when possible, schools and students at the primary and intermediate levels. Since 1925, when this effort was inaugurated, the order here represented has provided the means and supported through to college graduation, 406 students. The order has assisted many students in the secondary schools and assisted local and rural schools in paying teachers and repairing school buildings. In many of the States, it has also conducted several surveys for the purpose of ascertaining the needs of the several communities in the public enterprise of operating our school systems. In the pursuance of these efforts, the fraternal order here represented has spent of its own funds more than $400,000.
The foregoing part of this statement is for the purpose of having the committee know that the organization on whose behalf this statement is made, has for many years studied the question which is before it and greatly feels the need of the legislation which this honorable committee has under consideration. The writer of this statement, known as the Elks commissioner of education, has occupied that office for 20 years and, hence, all of the activities above set out, were carried out under his supervision.
In making this general statement, the writer has in mind that experts in the field of education will present and explain to the committee all techincal information required for the full consideration of the bill and will not burden the record with further discussion of the details of the bill, with the exception that he desires to call attention to the fact that his investigation throughout the years warrant the statement that unless this or similar legislation is adopted by Congress at a very early date serious damage will be done to our school system because of the financial inability in several of the States to provide the proper teaching staff and other necessary facilities.
Further, with no intention to criticize either by statement or implication, we make reference to that part of the bill which has to do with the allocation of the funds appropriated in the several States and Territories, wherein separate schools are maintained, and we urge the passage of the proposed legislation with this special provision therein contained. Very respectfully submitted by
W. C. HUESTON,
Benevolent, and Protective Order of the Elks of the World.
THE NATIONAL BAR ASSOCIATION,
January 24, 1945. Mr. HOWARD H. LONG, Chairman, Legislative Committee, American Teachers Association,
Washington, D. C. DEAR MR. LONG : The National Bar Association desires to join with numerous other organizations in endorsing and urging support of Senate bill 181, known as the Federal-aid bill on education. I believe that Senate bill 181 will bring about full and fair educational opportunities for the Negro citizens of the several States in the South where there are glaring inequalities of educational opportunities.
I sincerely trust that the Senate Committee on Labor and Education will give favorable consideration to this far reaching, liberal, and progressive legislation. Very sincerely yours,
C. W. ANDERSON, Jr.
Dr. Long. Now, Mr. Chairman, I wish to present Mrs. Mary Bethune, who is president-emeritus of the Bethune-Cookman College, in Florida, and the president of the National Council of Negro Women.
I know of no one more abundantly capable of reflecting to this committee the attitude of the colored people of the United States with reference to major problems like the one under consideration before you now.
Senator ELLENDER. We will be glad to hear from her. Proceed, Mrs. Bethune.
STATEMENT OF MRS. MARY MCLEOD BETHUNE, PRESIDENT,
NATIONAL COUNCIL OF NEGRO WOMEN
Mrs. BETHUNE. May I repeat that I am Mary McLeod Bethune, founder-president emeritus of Bethune-Cookman College, Daytona Beach, Fla.
For 40 years I have served in the educational development of Negro youth in the South. For 8 years I administered the work of the National Youth Administration to the Negro youth of America. From the experiences of this background I am appearing.
I am also founder-president of the National Council of Negro Women which consists of 32 affiliated organizations, including 18 na-, tional Negro women's organizations and 14 metropolitan councils covering strategic locations throughout America. Our membership is well over 800,000 and represents Negro women in civic, religious, fraternal, business, educational, labor, and political groups. For these groups I now speak.
The National Council of Negro Women strongly urges the passage of Senate 181, a bill “to authorize the appropriation of funds to assist the States and Territories in more adequately financing their systems of public education during emergency, and in reducing the inequalities of educational opportunities through public elementary and secondary schools."
The passage of this bill would greatly aid the States in raising their educational standards by providing every child with adequate educational opportunities as regards both facilities and instruction. A unique example of the need of the passage of Senate 181 is indicated in the State of Mississippi where, during our recent experience with the National Youth Administration, we found that because of the maldistribution of funds for Negro education through an agreement between the State Department of Education and the NYA Administrator funds normally allocated for the high-school student work program in Mississippi were made available for the training of teachers in order to elevate the standards of instruction. We found that there were very, very few high schools for Negroes in the State of Mississippi and that the money that we had available to appropriate to the high schools there could not be used in that direction because there were no Negro high schools to use it.
In a tabulation of the training of Negro teachers in a selected group of 9 counties in Mississippi in 1940 by the State Department of Education, a vivid picture of the low status of the training of the leadership of over a million people in Mississippi was presented. Out of a survey made of the qualifications of the teachers in the public schools, it was found that the majority had only junior and senior high-school education and that there were even some with only a third-, fourth-, fifthand sixth-grade education.
Not only is the passage of Senate 181 of great importance to the Negro people but to Americans generally. This has been amply demonstrated during the war by Selective Service reports which reveal that because of unbelievably low educational standards for Americans in many sections of our Nation thousands of our citizens were declared ineligible for military service. In addition, trends in industry show that in order to qualify for employment, a much higher minimum of education is essential and necessary.
The National Council of Negro Women firmly believes that if this bill in its present form is passed, it will effectively curtail the enormous turn-over of teachers because better economic standards will be provided.
Essentially, the bill provides an added constructive safeguard for not only building but preserving the democracy for which the world is now embattled.
Senator ELLENDER. Are there any questions? Thank you very much.
I desire to state that I have a note here from Maj. Gen. Amos A. Fries, who desires to be heard.
(Discussion off the record.)
Senator Hill. Mr. Chairman, if you are not going to hear General Fries today, I understand that Dr. Richard B. Kennan, formerly executive secretary of the Maine Educational Association, who was born in Massachusetts, and who also taught in Vermont, is in the room and he might, in 4 or 5 minutes, briefly give us a picture of the need for this legislation in New England. We have heard a good deal about the South and other States, and if we could hear a few words from Dr. Kennan at this time I think it might be very helpful.
Senator ELLENDER. All right, Dr. Kennan.
ASSOCIATION Dr. KENNAN. My name is Richard Barnes Kennan, and I am just completing my fifth year with the Maine Teachers' Association and am about to join the staff of the National Education Association.
By the way, to add to what Senator Hill said a moment ago, I have taught in Massachusetts, in New York, in New Jersey, and in Delaware. I have spent 3 years in the State of Vermont and 442 years in the State of Maine.
I would like to say a word about this Northeast section of the country that has been spoken of at some length before this committee.
Of those States that I mentioned, I think Delaware is about the only one that comes near to providing an adequate system of education, and even in that State I have visited schools that were far from what I believe a good American school should be.
Senator Aiken could tell you—or I believe he could—of a school up in the larger of the Brothers Islands outside of Burlington Vt., which I visited not so long ago. The entire grounds for the school were not as large as half the size of this room, they were surrounded by barbed wire, and the building was very small and completely inadequate.
I asked why it couldn't be increased and improved, and they told me that it was a "log school.” That was in the State of Vermont.