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II. DESEGREGATION OF SCHOOLS In my message of February 28, while commending the progress already made in achieving desegregation of education at all levels as required by the Constitution, I was compelled to point out the slowness
I of progress toward primary and secondary school desegregation. The Supreme Court has recently voiced the same opinion. Many Negro children entering segregated grade schools at the time of the Supreme Court decision in 1954 will enter segregated high schools this year, having suffered a loss which can never be regained. Indeed, discrimination in education is one basic cause of the other inequities and hardships inflicted upon our Negro citizens. The lack of equal educational opportunity deprives the individual of equal economic opportunity, restricts his contribution as a citizen and community leader, encourages him to drop out of school and imposes a heavy burden on the effort to eliminate discriminatory practices and prejudices from our national life.
The Federal courts, pursuant to the 1954 decision of the U.S. Supreme Court and earlier decisions on institutions of higher learning, have shown both competence and courage in directing the desegregation of schools on the local level. It is appropriate to keep this responsibility largely within the judicial arena. But it is unfair and unrealistic to expect that the burden of initiating such cases can be wholly borne by private litigants. Too often those entitled to bring suit on behalf of their children lack the economic means for instituting and maintaining such cases or the ability to withstand the personal, physical, and economic harassment which sometimes descends upon those who do institute them. The same is true of students wishing to attend the college of their choice but unable to assume the burden of litigation.
These difficulties are among the principal reasons for the delay in carrying out the 1954 decision; and this delay cannot be justified to those who have been hurt as a result. Rights such as these, as the Supreme Court recently said, are "present rights. They are not merely hopes to some future enjoyment of some formalistic constitutional promise. The basic guarantees of our Constitution are warrants for the here and now
In order to achieve a more orderly and consistent compliance with the Supreme Court's school and college desegregation decisions, therefore, I recommend that the Congress assert its specific constitutional authority to implement the 14th amendment by including in the Civil Rights Act of 1963 a new title providing the following:
(A) Authority would be given the Attorney General to initiate in the Federal district courts appropriate legal proceedings against local public school boards or public institutions of higher learning-or to intervene in existing cases--whenever
(1) he has received a written complaint from students or from the parents of students who are being denied equal protection of the laws by a segregated public school or college; and
(2) he certifies that such persons are unable to undertake or otherwise arrange for the initiation and maintenance of such legal proceedings for lack of financial means or effective legal representation or for fear of economic or other injury; and
(3) he determines that his initiation of or intervention in such suit will materially further the orderly progress of desegregation
in public education. For this purpose, the Attorney General would establish criteria to determine the priority and relative need for Federal action in those districts from which complaints
have been filed. (B) As previously recommended, technical and financial assistance would be given to those school districts in all parts of the country which, voluntarily or as the result of litigation, are engaged in the process of meeting the educational problems flowing from desegregation or racial imbalance but which are in need of guidance, experienced help, or financial assistance in order to train their personnel for this changeover, cope with new difficulties and complete the job satisfactorily (including in such assistance loans to a district where State or local funds have been withdrawn or withheld because of desegregation).
Public institutions already operating without racial discrimination, of course, will not be affected by this statute. Local action can always make Federal action unnecessary. Many school boards have peacefully and voluntarily desegregated in recent years. And while this act does not include private colleges and schools, I strongly urge them to live up to their responsibilities and to recognize no arbitrary bar of race or color--for such bars have no place in any institution, least of all one devoted to the truth and to the improvement of all mankind.
III. FAIR AND FULL EMPLOYMENT Unemployment falls with special cruelty on minority groups. The unemployment rate of Negro workers is more than twice as high as that of the working force as a whole. In many of our larger cities, both North and South, the number of jobless Negro youth-often 20 percent or more--creates an atmosphere of frustration, resentment, and unrest which does not bode well for the future. Delinquency, vandalism, gang warfare, disease, slums, and the high cost of public welfare and crime are all directly related to unemployment among whites and Negroes alike--and recent labor difficulties in Philadelphia may well be only the beginning if more jobs are not found in the larger northern cities in particular.
Employment opportunities, moreover, play a major role in determining whether the rights described above are meaningful. There is little value in a Negro's obtaining the right to be admitted to hotels and restaurants if he has no cash in his pocket and no job.
Relief of Negro unemployment requires progress in three major areas:
(1) More jobs must be created through greater economic growth.-The Negro--too often unskilled, too often the first to be fired and the last to be hired-is a primary victim of recessions, depressed areas, and unused industrial capacity. Negro unemployment will not be noticeably diminished in this country until the total demand for labor is effectively increased and the whole economy is headed toward a level of full employment. When our economy operates below capacity, Negroes are more severely affected than other groups. Conversely, return to full employment yields particular benefits to the Negro. Recent studies have shown that for every 1 percentagepoint decline in the general unemployment rate there tends to be a 2 percentage-point reduction in Negro unemployment.
Prompt and substantial tax reduction is a key to achieving the full employment we need. The promise of the area redevelopment
program--which harnesses local initiative toward the solution of deep-seated economic distress--must not be stifled for want of sufficient authorization or adequate financing. The accelerated public works program is now gaining momentum; States, cities, and local communities should press ahead with the projects financed by this measure. In addition, I have instructed the Departments of Labor, Commerce, and Health, Education, and Welfare to examine how their programs for the relief of unemployment and economic hardship can be still more intensively focused on those areas of hardcore, long-term unemployment, among both white and nonwhite workers. Our concern with civil rights must not cause any diversion or dilution of our efforts for economic progress-for without such progress the Negro's hopes will remain unfulfilled.
(2) More education and training to raise the level of skills.-A distressing number of unemployed Negroes are illiterate and unskilled, refugees from farm automation, unable to do simple computations or even to read a help-wanted advertisement. Too many are equipped to work only in those occupations where technology and other changes have reduced the need for manpower--as farm labor or manual labor, in mining or construction. Too many have attended segregated schools that were so lacking to adequate funds and faculty as to be unable to produce qualified job applicants. And too many who have attended nonsegregated schools dropped out for lack of incentive, guidance, or progress. The unemployment rate for those adults with less than 5 years of schooling is around 10 percent; it has consistently been double the prevailing rate for high school graduates; and studies of public welfare recipients show a shockingly high proportion of parents with less than a primary school education.
Although the proportion of Negroes without adequate education and training is far higher than the proportion of whites, none of these problems is restricted to Negroes alone. This Nation is in critical need of a massive upgrading in its education and training effort for all citizens. In an age of rapidly changing technology, that effort today is failing millions of our youth. It is especially failing Negro youth in segregated schools and crowded slums. If we are ever to lift them from the morass of social and economic degradation, it will be through the strengthening of our education and training services—by improving the quality of instruction; by enabling our schools to cope with rapidly expanding enrollments; and by increasing opportunities and incentives for all individuals to complete their education and to continue their self-development during adulthood.
I have therefore requested of the Congress and request again today the enactment of legislation to assist education at every level from grade school through graduate school.
I have also requested the enactment of several measures which provide, by various means and for various age and educational groups, expanded job training and job experience. Today, in the new and more urgent context of this message, I wish to renew my request for these measures, to expand their prospective operation and to supplement them with additional provisions. The additional $400 million which will be required beyond that contained in the January budget is more than offset by the various budget reductions which I have already sent to the Congress in the last 4 months. Studies show, moreover, that the loss of 1 year's income due to unemployment is more
than the total cost of 12 years of education through high school; and, when welfare and other social costs are added, it is clear that failure to take these steps will cost us far more than their enactment. There is no more profitable investment than education, and no greater waste than illtrained youth.
Specifically, I now propose:
(A) That additional funds be provided to broaden the manpower development and training program, and that the act be amended, not only to increase the authorization ceiling and to postpone the effective date of State matching requirements, but also in keeping with the recommendations of the President's Committee on Youth Employment) to lower the age for training allowances from 19 to 16, to allocate funds for literacy training, and to permit the payment of a higher proportion of the program's training allowances to out-of-school youths, with provisions to assure that no one drops out of school to take advantage of this program;
(B) That additional funds be provided to finance the pending youth employment bill, which is designed to channel the energies of out-of-school, out-of-work youth into the constructive outlet offered by hometown improvement projects and conservation work;
(C) That the pending vocational education amendments, which would greatly update and expand this program of teaching job skills to those in school, be strengthened by the appropriation of additional funds, with some of the added money earmarked for those areas with a high incidence of school dropouts and youth unemployment, and by the addition of a new program of demonstration youth training projects 'to be conducted in these areas;
(D) That the vocational education program be further amended to provide a work-study program for youth of high school age, with Federal funds helping their school or other local public agency employ them part time in order to enable and encourage them to complete their training;
(E) That the ceiling be raised on the adult basic education provisions in the pending education program, in order to help the States teach the fundamental tools of literacy and learning to culturally deprived adults. More than 22 million Americans in all parts of the country have less than 8 years of schooling; and
(F) That the public welfare work-relief and training program, which the Congress added last year, be amended to provide Federal financing of the supervision and equipment costs, and more Federal demonstration and training projects, thus encouraging State and local welfare agencies to put employable but unemployed welfare recipients to work on local projects which do not displace other workers.
To make the above recommendations effective, I call upon more States to adopt enabling legislation covering unemployed fathers under the aid-to-dependent children program, thereby gaining their services for "work-relief” jobs, and to move ahead more vigorously in implementing the manpower development and training program. I am asking the Secretaries of Labor and HEW to make use of their authority to deal directly with communities and vocational schools whenever State cooperation or progress is insufficient, particularly in those areas where youth unemployment is too high. Above all, I urge the Congress to enact all of these measures with alacrity and foresight.
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For even the complete elimination of racial discrimination in employment-a goal toward which this Nation must strive (as discussed below)-will not put a single unemployed Negro to work unless he has the skills required and unless more jobs have been created—and thus the passage of the legislation described above (under both secs. (1) and (2)) is essential if the objectives of this message are to be met.
(3) Finally racial discrimination in employment must be eliminated. — Denial of the right to work is unfair, regardless of its victim. It is doubly unfair to throw its burden on an individual because of his race or color. Men who served side by side with each other on the field of battle should have no difficulty working side by side on an assembly line or construction project.
Therefore, to combat this evil in all parts of the country,
(A) The Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity, under the chairmanship of the Vice President, should be given a permanent statutory basis, assuring it of adequate financing and entorcement procedures. That Committee is now stepping up its efforts to remove racial barriers in the hiring practices of Federal departments, agencies, and Federal contractors, covering a total of some 20 million employees and the Nation's major employers. I have requested a company-bycompany, plant-by-plant, union-by-union report to assure the implementation of this policy.
(B) I will shortly issue an Executive order extending the authority of the Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity to include the construction of buildings and other facilities undertaken wholly or in part as a result of Federal grant-in-aid programs.
(C) I have directed that all Federal construction programs be reviewed to prevent any racial discrimination in hiring practices, either directly in the rejection of presently available qualified Negro workers or indirectly by the exclusion of Negro applicants for apprenticeship training
(D) I have directed the Secretary of Labor, in the conduct of his duties under the Federal Apprenticeship Act and Executive Order No. 10925, to require that the admission of young workers to apprenticeship programs be on a completely nondiscriminatory basis.
(E) I have directed the Secretary of Labor to make certain that the job counseling and placement responsibilities of the Federal-State Employment Service are carried out on a nondiscriminatory basis, and to help assure that full and equal employment opportunity is provided all qualified Negro applicants. The selection and referral of applicants for employment and for training opportunities, and the administration of the employment offices other services and facilities, must be carried on without regard to race or color. This will be of special importance to Negroes graduating from high school or college this month.
(F) The Department of Justice has intervened in a case now pending before the NLRB involving charges of racial discrimination on the part of certain union locals.
(G) As a part of its new policy on Federal employee organizations, this Government will recognize only those that do not discriminate on grounds of race or color.
(H) I have called upon the leaders of organized labor to end discrimination in their membership policies; and some 118 unions, representing 85 percent of the AFL-CIO membership, have signed