JULY 15, 1950
HYDE PARK, Friday—One of the questions most often asked of Americans in Europe is what about the Negro problem in the United States? How is that minority group treated by people and by the government, whether local, state or national in the United States?
The Soviets have done their propagandizing very well and the picture that has been drawn is a black one. They say there is no equality of education, no equality of opportunity for employment, segregation, constant social humiliation, no recognition of learning and only partial recognition for success in the arts, no equality before the law and occasional sad situations in which people of the minority groups are wrongly accused and punished, regardless of the rights or wrongs of the situation.
There is just enough truth in the picture to make the refutation somewhat difficult, and so it is a wonderful thing to be able to cite the changes and the successes that are gradually coming about in this country. The number of states where there is an FEPC law working, where there is no segregation in schools and therefore equality of education is increasing. There is a distinct advance in social equality in many places, or increased representation of the minority races in the political field, and, finally, a great step forward in the area of religious unity.
At Lake Forest College, Chicago, Illinois, August 15th to 20th, a merging convention of the Biennial Council of Community Churches and the National Council of Community Churches will be held. The Biennial Council of Community Churches is an all Negro church movement, and the National Council of Community Churches is a white church group. They will merge into one organization, united in church fellowship which will eliminate racial barriers in this section of the Christian faith.
In a time when there is so much division in the world, and when we think more about the difficulties that keep people apart than about the possibilities of their coming together, it is indeed gratifying to know that among the community churches, which are dedicated to the realization of Christ's prayer "That they all may be one," this merger has been accomplished. It seems to me a significant step in the direction of better racial understanding and cooperation in our United States. I am particularly happy about the movement for unity in the Christian church represented in these community churches. The churches and the people joining in this movement pledge themselves:
A. To help communities with competing or overlapping churches to federate into one vital united church. B. To help communities without any church to form one all inclusive church, serving all denominations. C. To discover, train and provide ministers for such churches: develop a way for multiple ordination. D. Encourage community churches to support recommended home and foreign projects. E. Foster a mighty ground swell movement for a united church that answers the prayer of Jesus. F. Provide printed matter and other materials especially adapted to the local united church.
This is one place where we would seem to be getting together.