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February 23, 1968 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1968-02-23

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Seventy-Seven Years of Editorial Freedom

Alternative to 'U' Negro History Course

Where Opinions Are Free, 420 MAYNARD ST., ANN ARBOR, MICH.
Truth Will Prevail

NEWS PHONE: 764-0552

Editorials printed in The Michigan Daily express the individual opinions of staff writers
or the editors. This must be noted in all reprints.



State Aid to Private Schools

STATE LEGISLATORS must pledge their
support for a program of financial aid
to non-public schools. Failure to do so
can mean only a quickening of the decay
that now grips both our public and pri-
vate school systems.
State aid to non-public education can
help avert the pending financial crisis
facing many of the private and parochial
institutions that educate more than 330,-
000 Michigan school children. The same
aid will stem the overcrowding of public
schools that results from the inability of
private institutions to handle all of the
students desiring to attend.
There Is no reason why aid to non-
public schools would have to be made
without additional aid to public schools.
Under a plan introduced last Tuesday in
the state Legislature, the state would
pay $21 million over the next year in
grants to parents of non-public school
children. These grants-$100 for children
enrolled in non-public secondary schools,
and $50 for children enrolled in non-pub-
lic elementary schools-are certainly far
less than the basic sum of $294.56 per
child the state now pays in aid to public
school systems, at a total cost of more
than $400 million.
In addition, state revenues from the
sales 'tax and the newly adopted state
income tax are expected to soar well
above previous estimates, leaving a com-
fortable surplus from which to draw extra
monies for public education if necessary.
THOSE WHO OPPOSE such aid claim to
do so because they must protect the
"rights of the taxpayer" by maintaining
"the wall of separation" between church
and state. Their arguments suffer from
too narrow a perspective, however, for
while "protecting' some, they are deny-
ing the rights of others to an equal
The state government certainly has
the authority and in fact the obligation
to maintain certain standards of com-
pulsory education for its youth. But it is
not the right of the state to require that
these standards be met in public schools.
Freedom of choice of education is essen-
tial to maintain any sort of intellectual
diversity within our society.
Many citizens of the state pay taxes
earmarked for education of their youth
and send their children to schools meet-
ing the state's academic standards. But
when they seek to add, of their own free
will, religious education to the formal
education of their children, they are dis-
criminated against by the state and cut
off from the list of those eligible to
receive aid.
THE STATE AND the federal constitu-
tions are both explicit in stating that
the religious beliefs of an individual shall
not be grounds for denial of civil and
political privileges offered to any other
Support for public aid to private edu-
cation can help to make it possible to
allieviate the burden on overcrowded
public schools, improve the quality of
non-public education, and encourage
freedom of choice in education by giving
more people an alternative to public
The people of this state must realize
that just as compulsory religious educa-
tion is patently unconstitutional, so is
systematic discouragement of freely

chosen religious education through lack
of equal financial consideration by
public agencies.

THE BILL NOW before the Legislature
to provide parents of private school
children with tuition grants would be a
disasterous blow to the quality of public
education -in Michigan if passed into law.
The traditional arguments against
state aid to non-public schools have cen-
tered around the consequences for the
type of education received by the private
school pupil.
One of these arguments cites the blur-
ring, if not actual erasure of the consti-
tutional line separating church from
state. The precedent would be established
for further state assistance without pro-
viding for reciprocating controls over
curricula and teaching standards.
The sponsors of the current bill, how-
ever, seek to blunt the force of the tra-
ditional opposition by stressing the
grants would provide only for teaching
of secular subjects such as English and
mathematics and that no state aid would
go to parents for any course in religion.
In addition, the grants would be avail-
able to independent private schools as
well as church-supported elementary and
secondary schools.
Two other arguments often marshalled
in favor of state aid are taxation inequi-
ties and freedom of religious choice.
Neither of these arguments as presently
conceived by proponents of state aid hold
much water.
Individuals are taxed for public works
and services which are available to them
whether or not they choose to use the
works or services. The fact that the pro-
posed subsidy is only one-third of current
state per-pupil subsidy in public schools
should not obscure the fact that a public
school education is available to all. Sim-
ilarly, the fact that religious education
is not provided in public schools (a con-
stitutional constraint) does not imply a
restriction on individual religious choice
(a constitutional right). Individuals are
free to send their children to public
schools and to extra-curricular religious
THE TRADITIONAL church-state argu-
ments, however, are not as powerful
as considerations of the practical effects
on public education if the state-aid be-
comes law.
Currently, enrollment in private schools
across the state averages about one-
seventh of the elementary and secondary
school population. In larger urban areas,
however, the proportion of private to
non-private school children is much high-
er. In Bay City and Grand Rapids, one in
every three children attend private
schools; in Detroit, one in every five.
In precisely these larger urban areas
the impact of the state aid to parents of
private school children would be most
disasterous on the quality of education
received in public schools. For sometime
a population shift has been going on in
cities where prosperous, white middle-
class families have been moving out and
lower status, non-white families have
been immigrating into decaying inner-
city slums.
THE CONSEQUENCES for public educa-
tion in the cities have been abysmal.
Educational quality has deteriorated as
the better teachers apply for plush sub-
urban posts. De facto segregation has set
in. The state aid bill will hasten the pro-
cess of tempting remaining white families
to pull their children out of public schools
and place them in newly-created private
The deterioration of inner city educa-
tion quality is not a phenomenon unique

to this state. But rescuing the public
schools from their plight will not be made
any easier by passage of the state aid to
private schools bill.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The following
article, written and researched by
Richard H. Ross, Grad, chairman
of the Committee for a course
on the "History of the Negro Amer-
ican,"; was submitted by members
of four University Negro fraterni-
R. W. B. WILLCOX, chairman
of the history department,
made several false statements and
omissions in his articles about the
initiation of a course on the
"History of the Negro American"
(Daily, Jan. 17). He still man-
ages to omit several important
facts in the article titled "Freeh-
ling to teach Negro history class"
(Feb. 16).
We became interested in the
fall of 1966 in advancing the edu-
cational objectives of the history
department by incorporating a
course on the "History of the Ne-
gro American" into the curricu-
lum. We feel that a truer under-
standing of the history of the Ne-
gro American would bring about
a better understanding by the,
white man of the Negro and a
better understanding by the Ne-
gro of himself.
We now, seemingly, have
achieved a degree of success.
However, the history department's
proposal to offer a course in "Ne-
gro History" announced Feb. 16,
1968 does not seem designed to
meet our criteria.

WE BELIEVE that the course
should be called the "History of
the Negro American" and taught
as a separate course in the his-
tory department. It should be
titled this because of the confu-
sion caused by the multiplicity of
titles. The course has been called
"History of the South, Black His-
tory, Afro-American History and
Plantation American History."
Prof. John Hope Franklin, the
"most noted scholar" on the His-
tory of the Negro American today,
has selected to call it the "History
of the Negro American" which
conceivably covers over 400 years
of history. We would like for this
title to be used not only for the
petition, but for further documen-
tation of the course in the curric-
ulum, thereby, giving honor to
the "most noted scholar" in this
We believe that the new course
should be offered August, 1968, at
the very latest. There is no obvious
reason for delaying it until the
winter of 1969.
Mr. Willcox stated that "to wait
for the long run requires patience
which these days are in short
supply." This obviously is not true.
vice president of the University,
spoke at the Alpha Phi Alpha
Graduate Chapter's meeting Dec.
10, 1966, where he discussed and

answered questions concerning
the issue of the "Rich, White Uni-
versity" (the 16-point Green Re-
port). The question was raised
about the possibility of incorpor-
ating a course on the "History of
the Negro American" into the his-
tory department curriculum in or-
der to promote better understand-
ing between the races. He felt
that it was a good time to offer
this course to, the student body.
Mr. Willcox was first inter-
viewed on Dec. 14, 1966 about the
addition of this course to the cur-
riculum. He indicated that the
University hired practically all of
its professors from universities
like Harvard and Yale. He - fur-
ther indicated that there was no-
one interested in teaching such a
I obtained from Prof. Terry M.
Banks, of the zoology department
of Howard University, a list of
names which were recommended
to him by Howard University his-
tory department. Prof. John Hope
Franklin was recommended as the
"most noted scholar' on the "His-
tory of the Negro American."
I interviewed Prof. Franklin in
mid-January, 1.067, who recom-
mended a 1st ot 14 well qusJified
men who are interested in teach-
ing a course on the "History of
the Negro Ameican". This list of
names was submitted to Mr. Will-
cox on Februaty 1, 1967 ai'er in-

terviewing Proi Bradfor i Ferkins,
of the University on January 31,
1967 as recommended by Prof.
Mr. Willcox stated in his ar-
ticle Jan. 17; 1968 that, "the
graduate education of Negroes is
so poor at least in history that
well qualified PhD's are vir,,ually
unobtainable - a fact that is a
disgrace to our educational sys-
tem but still a fact."
MR. WILLCOX has avoided
hiing a qualified Negro by sud-
denly discovering that, Mr. Wil-
liam Freehling who has been in
the history department for three
years is an authority in Negro
History. It appears then that Prof.
Willcox intentionally sent us on
what he thought would be a "wild
goose chase". He has further tried
to worm his way out of teaching
a real course on the "History of
the Negro American" by institut-
ing a course with the major em-
phasis on slavery which seem-
ingly supports his thesis of sep-
arateness and assimilation (Daily,
Jan. 17).
Let us take a look at the list of
names that Mr. Willcox has called
"unqualified" and "a disgrace" to
the educational system. John Hope
Franklin, chairman of the history
department at University of Chi-
cago; Joseph Harris, University
of North Carolina; Benjamin
Quarles, Morgan State Univer-
sity; St. Clair Drake, Roosevelt
University at Chicago; Otey
Scruggs, University of California,
Santa Barbara; Edwin A. Toppin,
Virginia State; Nathan Huggins,
history department ,Massachusetts
U ni1ve rs it y: George Woolfol,
Prairie View College, Texas: Au-
gust Meier, Roosevelt University.
It might be further pointed out
that Professors Franklin,. Harris,
Quarles, and Drake are listed in
Who's Who in America, 1966 and
1967 edition. Mr. Willcox must
know, if he uses "Who's Who in
America" that Franklin and Har-
ris have more accomplishments
than could be included in the
original 1966/67 edition.
Mr. Willcox is apparently not
well versed in his field. He has
been in the history department -
off and on - for 27 years and
chairman of the department since
1965. He has had more than a
year and the resources to check
out- and write the list of people
submitted to him, Feb. 1, 1967..
MR. WILLCOX must be famil-
iar with the American Council on
Education's 1964 Report. He must
.know that the University history
department is listed tenth in the
"leading departments rated by
quality of graduate faculty" on
the ACE report, but drops to 11th
in the "rated effectiveness of the

graduate program". He must also
know that the University of Chi-
cago is listed as 7th in "leading
department rated by quality of
graduate faculty" and rated 8th
by "leading department in effec-
tiveness of graduate program."
The important point is that
Prof. Franklin is the eminent
chairman of the department at
the University of Chicago.
Mr; Willcox has also argued
that his department gets their
faculty from universities like Har-
vard and Yale. This obviously is
not true. He must know all of his
professors in the University his-
tory department do not come from
universities like Harvard and
Yale. He must know that Prof.
Sidney Fine got his PhD from the
University, and one professor list-
ed as a fulprofessor in the cata-
log does not have a PhD accord-
ing to the 1966/67 edition of
"Who's Who in America."
AT THIS POINT we must raise
the question more strongly whe-
ther Mr. Willcox has committed
the greatest "academic sin," by
getting caught manipulating and
omitting facts by slandering qua-
lified Negro scholars who are in-
terested in teaching courses on
the "History of the Negro Amer-
ican." Is this a man of goodwill?
Is he competent and biase:, or
is he simply incompetent?
Whether or not Mr. Willcox's
statements and apparent position
resulted from the lack of knowl-
edge or bias must be judged by
those who know him best.
Mr. Willcox might still argue
that these older scholars fire too
costly to appoint to the Univer-
sity faculty. Therefore, we have
obtained a list of five younger
scholars who have completed their
education within the lastfew
years and who have two or three
publications 'to their credit.
These people are John Blassin-
game, PhD, Yale University;
Mary Berry, PhD from the Uni-
versity, now studying in the Law
School; Leticia Brown, PhD, Rad-
cliffe at Howard University; Vin-
cent Harding, PhD, University of
Chicago, at Spelman College; and
Loren Rout, PhD, University of
Minnesota at Michigan State.
ACCORDING to Prof. Franklin,
these two lists of names do not
exhaust the number of people who
are interested in teaching a course
in the "History of the Negro
American." (Feb. 20).
A petition will be circulated for
approximately two weeks begin-
ning -February 23, 1968. We are
asking those students who are in-
terested in taking this course or
supporting our position to sign
the petition:

-~ * ,- ~ ~r
". ~-~ .~- : U S g tffK'1 ('



Petition:'History of American Negro'

". . .No, I don't feel any draft . . !"
New Politics: Checkered Future

MICHIGAN New Politics Party's
attempt to make an effective
coalition of white radicals and the
black community seems in danger
of foundering.
The events of last Saturday's
state convention show clearly that,
while the white radicals are ready
and willing, New Politics has yet
to bring any effective represent-
atives of the black community into
the fold.
Without comprehending that
New Politics is undertaking noth-
ing short of a radical reorganiza-
tion of the American political sys-
tem, it is impossible to appreciate
the full significance of the con-
New Politics decries the racism
and imperialism evident in our
domestic and foreign policy and
asserts that the record of the two-
party system shows clearly it is in-
capable of remedying the problems
that beset our society.
The convention not only pledged
itself to the destruction of the
Democratic party (the worst of the
parties holding out patently false
hopes to the nation's poor), but
also condemned men like Mc-
Carthy and Kennedy for being
coopted by the Democratic party
and allowing their principles to be
THE PARTY platform is aimed
not only at eliminating these ills
but also to draw the labor move-
ment into the New Politics Pale.
The platform calls for the elim-
ination of taxes which place finan-
cial burden on the poor; supports
labor in its efforts to organize;
stands firmly against anti-riot
legislation; supports the right of
the black community to self-de-
termination; demands the with-
drawal of the U.S. from Vietnam;
demands an end to U.S. financial
influence and support of reaction-
ary countries; and supports draft

ire of the more traditionalist-
minded laborites, including all the
Negroes at the convention. They
strongly objected on the grounds
that the report would anger the
union rank and file causing New
Politics to be completely alienated
from the labor movement.
THE ARGUMENTS s e e m e d
motivated not from a desire to in-
sure New Politics' appeal to the
movement, but out of a fear of at-
tacking a powerful figure like
Reuther. One of the report's sup-
porters said, "We're not telling the
rank and file who to support, and
we aren't going in to the unions
to campaign, we are just saying
that we support their efforts to
secure leaders who are really re-
sponsive to their needs."
The labor fight indicated a split
that the perspective committee's
report proved to be much more
fundamental than it first appear-
ed. The dispute revolved around
the same issue that plagued the
Chicago New Politics Conference
last fall-equal representation of
the black community. This time
however, the problem wasn't over
voting rights, but whether New
Politics would support every can-
didate put up in the black com-
An addenda proposed by Eric
Chiester, Grad, stated that New
Politics would support Democratic
candiates only as a tactical meas-
ure, and only if they were genuine-
ly nominated by grass roots organ-
izations. Any other candidates
would be unacceptable for the
group's support.
The resolution was clearly an
attempt by the white radicals to
withhold support for such Negro
Congressmen as Charles Diggs and
John Conyers, who aspires to be
the first Negro mayor of Detroit,
and, many of the radicals feels,
has sold out to the establishment.
THE NEGROES objected to the

As Lucy Karabenick, wife of the
Ann Arbor New Politics chairman,
put it: "I object to this kind of
reverse racism.'
By adopting the addenda, the
convention took an important step
toward achieving an effective rad-
ical organization, but at the same
time the fight over it revealed the
group's greatest weakness.
EVERYONE recognizes that if
New Politics is to be successful it
must gain broad support from the
Negro community. The well springs
of American radicalism cannotbe
effectively tapped without the
black community; and a party
consisting entirely of white rad-
icals is unthinkable, not to men-
tion highly ineffectual.
The convention proved quite
clearly that the Negroes now in-
volved in New Politics are not
representative of the radical black
Claims were circulating at the
convention that the Negroes there
used to be involved in the Com-
munist Party. This is noteworthy
only in showing that the Negroes
who claim to be leaders of the
community are actually out of
touch with what is happening in
the ghetto. And their policies
evidenced in their fear to strike
out at the labor unions) are rem-
iniscent of another day.
Moreover not one of the 10
Negroes lresent was under 35.
Though much of the radicalism
of the black community resides
in its youth, none were represented
at the convention.
The fact that the faction has
no support in the Negro com-
munity is also shown by their in-
ability to pack the open conven-
tion in Detroit with supporters
and insure the passage of their
NEW POLITICS must solve this
problem soon. If they don't come

dents, of the University of
Michigan respectfully request that
the University of Michigan his-
tory department alter its decision
to offer a course on the "History
of the Negro American" an-'
nounced on Feb. 16, 1968, in the
following manner:
-1. We believe that the course
should be called the "History of
the Negro American" and offered
as a separate course, because it
has been effaced from the history
textbook in the. United States of
America, therefore, we ask that
the University of Michigan de-
partment of history concede the
"History of the Negro American"
and teach the course for several
decades until the "History of the
Negro American" is totally inte-
grated into American history text-
-2. We believe that the course
should be offered beginning Aug-
ust, 1968, at the very latest. There
is no reason to delay it until the
winter of 1969, by January, 1969,
the history department will al-
ready have had over two years
to prepare for the course.
-3. We believe that the course
should be a three or four hour
non pre-requisite course opened
to graduate and undergraduate
students for credit toward a de-
-4. We urge that the history
department take the opportunity
to add a qualified historian to the
f aculty who has specialized in the
"History of the Negro Ametican "
-5. We urge that the history

department take this opportunity
to comply with the Greene report
and appoint a qualified Negro
professor from the list of 14 (9
Negroes and 5 ivhites) names sub-
mitted to Dr.-W. B. Willcox by
Richard H. Ross February 1, 196".
-6. We believe that the Uni-
versity could procure the services
of one of the young scholars
(PhD's) from a list attached here-
to, if the University is unable to
recruit someone from the list pre-
viously submitted to the history
department Feb. 1, 1967.
-7. We believe that ih an ef-
fort to recruit a Negro professor,
we expect the University to. offer
a salaryand statusvcommensurate
with what other professors are re-
ceiving in the history department.
-8: We believe that the history
department should admit that
there are well trained Negro his-
torians available, and disavow the
disparaging remarks made by
Prof. W., B. Willcox about Negro
historians in the Jan. 17, 1968
edition of The Daily.
The original list given to Prof.
Willcox (Feb. 1, 1967) is as fol-
lows: Negro historians: Profes-
sors Franklin, Harris (Poll. Sci.),
Quarles, Drake, Scruggs, Toppin,
Huggins, Woolfolk, and Meier.
White historians: Professors Ken-
neth Stampp, Berkeley; Leslie
Fischel, Wisconsin; Dwight Du-
mond, Howard (formerly Michi-
gan); Louis Harlem, Maryland;
and Gilbert Osofsky, Howard. A
list of recent young scholars in
history: Blassingame, Rout, Hard-
ing, Miss Berry and Miss Brown.



Letters to the Editor
Athletic Dept. Ignores Students
To the Editor:
O YOU KNOW a guy in high school who wants to come to the
University? Let me tell him what he can expect from the athletic
department. If he is destined to become a varsity athlete, he can
expect to be, well-cared for. If he is just a guy who likes to play
sports, he can expect . . .to be ignored.
He will have accesi to the identical IM building that was the pride
of the Big 'len (4t years ago)-where the roof leaks so badly that
the pool ceiling fell in this yeas, and the basketball court is closed
on rainy days ("Closed: Too Much Water"); where you acquire a
season locker within the first two, days of school, or you don't get one

Fall and winter subscription rate: $4.50 per term by
carrier ($5 by mail): $8.00 for regular academic school
year ($9 by mail).
ThegDaily is a memner of the Associated Press and
Collegla-e Press Service.
Daily except Monday during regular academic school
Daily except Sunday and Monday during regular
Klmo At. afnn

ANDY SACKS . . . . .Photo Editor
ROBERT SHEFFIELD ............... Lab Chief
NIGHT EDITORS: w. Rexford Benoit, Neal Bruss,
Wallace Immen, Lucy Kennedy, David Knoke, Mark
Levin, Patricia O'Donohue, Daniel Okrent, Steve
DAY EDITORS: Marcy Abramson, Rob Beattie, Jill
Crabtree, Aviva Kempner, Carolyn Miegel, Walter
Shapiro, Lee Weltzenkorn.
Sports Staff
CLARN ORTwN . Shorts Editor


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