JANUARY 31, 1958
NEW YORK—I have just attended a meeting of the New York Committee Against Discrimination in Housing and it is quite evident, I think, that state legislation must follow the successful campaign which resulted in the passage of the Sharkey-Brown-Isaacs bill prohibiting discrimination in private housing in New York City.
If this city legislation is not extended to include the entire state, there will be the temptation for the colored population to concentrate in the city, leaving the suburbs untouched except for the domestic help that goes out from the city.
It is perfectly natural that although there is no great challenge to the Negro children in the schools, there will be stress in trying to decide what they can and cannot do.
Some areas of our country, even those bordering on the Deep South, have successfully passed anti-discrimination legislation, but they recognize the fact that they know little about the feelings of colored children. Therefore, a study was made and much data was gathered which should make it easier to proceed the farther we advance in education.
There is a pamphlet which many people might find helpful in this cause. It is called "Anna Holden and Others, Clinton, Tennessee" and is subtitled "A Tentative Description and Analysis of the School Desegregation Crisis."
Another pamphlet, "A Guide to School Integration" published by the Public Affairs Committee, 22 East 38th Street, New York, N.Y., suggests community action preparatory to integration and points out the responsibilities of the schools themselves in easing the transition from segregation to integration.
One suggested preliminary step is, I think, important. It is the formation of a community planning group on a nonpartisan, integrated basis to help the school board prepare for integration.
There are many other things, on a much broader scale, that can be done to bring about these changes more easily. The books read by children and the pictures they see, for instance, might well begin to paint life as it really is—not a world of only the white race but one of many races.
A little magazine called "American Unity, an Educational Guide" has many articles which also will be helpful to those working for integration.
In the meantime, it would be well for New York state citizens to support the campaign for a state anti-discrimination housing law similar to that in New York City, for if we in the North don't set an example in housing integration, we have failed to take the one step which will make it possible to live up to the Supreme Court order on integration in the schools.