NOVEMBER 13, 1959
NEW YORK—The National Scholarship Service and Fund for Negro Students is starting a new group, called Committee to Salvage Talents. Together with the Community Talents Search this group put on a demonstration program recently at Junior High School 43 and George Washington High School in New York City.
The halfway mark in this six-year project has been reached and it has been found that talented students in the underprivileged group who are working in this project show that, because of the financial aid and the counseling they have received, they advance more rapidly in reading ability and have far less disciplinary problems than in the pre-project years.
As a result, the Committee to Salvage Talents is now formed to enlist the community and professional leaders across the country in a campaign to rescue wasted talent, especially among the minority groups in underprivileged areas. The committee will be headed by eight leaders from the fields of business, education, medicine, sports, the arts and public life.
It is an impressive list headed by Dean Emeritus Harry J. Carman of Columbia College; former Air Force Secretary Thomas K. Finletter; David M. Heyman, President of the New York Foundation; singer Marian Anderson; Senator John F. Kennedy Jr. of Massachusetts; President Roy E. Larsen of Time, Inc; President Branch Rickey of the Continental Baseball League; and Dr. Howard A. Rusk, Chairman of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation of the New York University-Bellevue Medical Center.
I have been saying for some time that one of the ways in which the Soviets were perhaps wiser than we are is in their search for talent through education, and in their efforts not to waste human resources.
Statistics show that more than 100,000 of our able youngsters in this country do not go to college because of lack of funds. In addition, millions of bright students every year drop out of high school without finishing or have not even tried to prepare themselves for college work during their high school years.
We find that the loss is always greatest among the minority groups, who suffer under economic and cultural handicaps, who attend schools in rundown areas, and who are usually not encouraged to aspire to higher education.
Our largest minority is our Negro students, and it is the success of the work of the National Scholarship Service and Fund for Negro Students that has encouraged the formation of this new committee.
It has often been found that, where there were openings in college or even in industry for Negro students, young people with the proper qualifications could not be found because of the poor preparation they had received in grade school and high school.
It is the hope of this new committee that it will have widespread support, because our country needs the help of every intelligent young person to face the future with greater assurance of success in the overall struggle between communism and democracy.