JULY 28, 1960
NEW YORK—This is nearly August 1, and on February 1 of this year, in Greensboro, N.C., four Negro college students touched off the first demonstrations against lunch-counter segregation in the South.
On Monday of this week, in the city where these demonstrations first took place, segregation ended quietly at the counters of two variety stores, Woolworth's and Kress's.
The interesting thing is that this non-violent but persistent activity has, since February, swept through the South and brought down the color bar at lunch counters in at least 14 states. There have been hundreds of arrests and Southerners will say racial tension has increased, but without these activities this form of segregation perhaps would not have been removed. So perhaps we ought to be extremely grateful, and the Negroes themselves feel they have won this battle for their own rights.
Wallace Westfeldt, a Nashville, Tenn., reporter, said that the lunch-counter drive by Negroes was successful because it "carried the threat of economic boycott." This is quite true, for it is evident that if Negroes refuse to buy from any of these stores, it would have a tremendous effect on the stores' sales.
This reporter also noted that the Negroes participating in this movement are "neatly dressed, quiet-spoken, articulate and determined." This augurs well for the victory they have worked for and shows that those involved have both education and good training.
Roy Reuther has agreed to serve as deputy chairman of a new Democratic voter-registration drive, taking a leave of absence from his job in the United Auto Workers Union. This is, of course, a nonpartisan activity because registration is important to every citizen in this country, whether Republican or Democrat.
I have heard for a long time that while unions provide education on citizenship and campaign issues to their members, this education frequently does not seep through to the wives, sisters and children of voting age. Therefore, it has been suggested that both parties work for a greater registration on a nonpartisan basis, with the respective political parties responsible for putting the issues before the voters as each side sees them.
I have been watching the Republican convention on television and I can't say that I have heard anything that I didn't expect to hear. I will continue to listen to it whenever I have the opportunity, but I cannot help feeling that the fight over the civil rights plank is the only spice that has been added to what otherwise would be dull proceedings.