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April 09, 1968 - Image 16

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The Michigan Daily, 1968-04-09
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Page Six


Tuesday, April 9, 1968

Tuesday, April 9, 1968



-Daily-Thomas R. Copi
Charles Thomas

environment the lower class child
will also acquire the means of
achieving his goals, retain an orig-
inally high aspiration level, and
achieve at a higher academic level
than a lower-class student in a low-
er-class school. While the evidence
does not draw a direct causal link
between segregation and inferior
academic achievement, it is strong
enough to conclude that'where ra-
cial and social class segregation oc-
cur together, the segregated student
The campaign for "equal educa-
tional opportunity" has not even im-
proved deficient tools of measuring
educational progress. Educational
testing, a growing body of evidence
indicates, does not measure ability
as such, but rather nieasures the
manifestation of that ability apcord-
ing to the standards of one social,
class. Sociologist David Reissman
has found this, and has indicated
that intelligence tests do not meas-
ure native ability, but rather some
degree of proficiency in manipulat-
ing the symbols and idioms of the
,dominant culture. As members of a
sub-culture with its own values and
goals, Negroes are at an inherent ar-
bitrary disadvantage in being com-
pared with whites.
The problems with educational-
testing might drive Negroes intent
on succeeding in school to give up
their oWn values and demonstrate
white cultural goals in order to do
well on such tests. This results not
in integration or assimilation but
As the growing white exodus to
the suburbs and the higher urban
birth rate hasten the blackening of
central cities, any talk of desegrega-
tion within a school district becomes
largely rhetorical. In Chicago and

--Daily-Richard Lee
Luther Weems

-Daily-Richard Lee
Larry -Mann

-Daily-Thomas R. Copi.
Albert Wheeler

"As the growing white exodus tc
and the higher urban birth rate has
ening of central ciies, anytoIkofc
within a school district becomes lrge




Detroit elementary school enroll-
ments are now over half black, and
most big cities will have predomi-
nantly Negro school systems by 1975
or 1980. If desegregation- is a goal,-
then it must be accompanied by a
radical restructuring of the public
education system.
Instead of separate school dis-
tricts for each suburban community
and big city, there should be a met-
ropolitan school district with school
complexes large enough to draw,
their population from all races and
social classes-the concept of an ed-
ucational park. The Detroit area
alone has 96 separate school dis-
tricts. Without going into discussion
of the educational, economic, and
recreational advantages of a system
of educational parks it would be an
effective alternative to the present
inefficient system of 6,604 school dis-
tricts in 212 standard metropolitan
areas in the country. With central-
ized policy-setting and collection
and alfocation of funds, and decen-
tralized control of curriculum, hir-
ing and firing of teachers and all
other educational, and administra-
tive matters, the school could once





again become responsive to local
needs and desires without losing
touch with the larger world around
it. Further, by bringing about the
total desegregation of the schools,
the problems which result from seg-
regation could be largely eliminated.
Some white and black critics point
to the failure of past and current
desegregation attempts as evidence
that desegregation cannot succeed
as long as blacks are at a disadvan-
tage from the time they enter white
schools. Previous attempts at deseg-
regation indicate they are correct.
However, there has been no real in-
tegration of American schools start-
ing at kindergarten. It is quite logi-
cal to argue that by junior high it
is already "too late," but the rela-
tive disadvantage of a five year-old
Negro to a five year-old white is
much less than when the children
are ten or twelve years old. Whether
or not desegregation from kinder-
garten would work is unknown, but
it is unreasonable to condemn de-
segregation on the basis of pre-
vious, half-done attempts.
If black and white children at-
tended school together from age five,
there would be much more chance
for success on the part of the Negro.
When they are put together at the
junior high or high school level, the
results are tragic. Counselors im-
plicitly and explicitly act as though
Negroes are not college-bound, an
assumption based somewhat on sta-

tistical da
are genera
er ability
system" d
dents was
District J
found not
de facto s
equal opp
and Negr(
of their
which agg
lations ar
plicitly th
be a barri
al opporti
school off
prej udicia
ample, de
plinary pI
School, wi
ly betweer
stantly p.
lems, ac
While th
major 'co
also a m
ulty mem
of the ne
tation to
Lincoln a
Faced v
black stue

Reflections at the the end of National Negro History Week

It was not the kind of gathering you
would normally expect to see on a Sun-
day afternoon.
High in an otherwise desertedMason
Hall, 30 young people were crowded into
a classroom,having an intenselyemo-
tional discussion with few smiles and
fewer laughs. Some of the people taking
part were students, others were members
of the faculty, others were local towns-
people. All, however, had one thing in
common: their -skin was black.
They were pondering whether the
University was "turning them white".
There were slight differences of opinion
on this, but the consensus was clear.
"For all intents and purposes we are
white by the time we get here. After all,
for 17 years we've been living in a white
society," said one student. "Maybe what
we have to do now is to learn how to
become black."
The discussion came at the end of a
three-day University program in a con-
junction with "National Negro History
Week." There had been speeches, sym-
posiums, and group discussions. Now, in
a small classroom some conclusions were
being formulated.-
"We're just going to have to create
within each one of us a system to evalu-
ate the system . . . that's the real lesson
of all this."
"People have thrown out integration ..
It's not an obvious value any more."
"What we need new is unity among
ourselves . . we must work together
against the common evils facing us all."
Grill's "Second Room", looking into the
very black face of Charles Thomas. one
senses the depth of emotion underlying
the race problem in 1968 America.
His blackness just keeps going.
Whether rising to the heights of
hysteria, or delving to the depths of
despair, his voice is in tune with the
meaning of his words.-
In a very real way, he comes over to

the listener. Thomas knows how to make
his points.
"Black Power is going out and talking
to black folks. We are saying, 'Hey, you're
black. You have power. You can and you
gotta do something for yourself. Nobody
else is ever going to do it for you.'
"At the same time, we are trying to
reach white people. We are acting for
white people; we are burning for white
people. We are saying: 'Hey, listen to us
before it's too late. You are headed
for a catastrophe',"
Charles Thomas ("the name is Charles,
not Charlie") is a tall, bearded leader in
the local chapter of the Direct Action
Committee (DAC).
'The local DAC group, which Thomas
helped organize several years ago, is not
a student organization; there are very
few student members in it. Nevertheless,
the DAC has great influence on campus.
This is mainly due to Thomas. When he
is not working, he frequents the Union
But a good deal of Thomas' time-is de-
voted to work for the DAC. "We go out
into the surrounding communities -
Willow Run, Ypsi, Ann Arbor. We try to
get the oppressive powers off our backs.
"DAC also has an international per-
spective . . . we have sympathy for the
oppressed peoples all over the world:
South America, Asia, Africa."
In 1965 Thomas went to Africa. He
now often harries a book entitled The
New Nations of Africa, which the Liber-
ian ambassador to Mauritania gave him.
On an inside flap, a map of Africa is
marked with the route he traveled: down
from the north, along the western coast,
then back up through Nigeria to the cen-
tral part of the continent.
Thomas says that in- one village he
visited there was an enlarged picture of
a police dog attacking an Alabama black
man. He describes the scene as terrible,
pitiful, but realistic. "They (the Afri-
cans) know all about what's going on
over here in America, much better than
you do," he says.
"Whites over here have to care about
what the Africans think. The resources

are in Africa, huge resources, and white
Americans will never get them if they
kill American blacks.
"In DAC, we are educating -our broth-
ers, here and in Africa.
We're saying to them:
"You're black,
"You have power,
"You can and you must do something
for yourselves,
"Nobody's going to do it for you."
Is Black Power catching on? "Nation-
wide it's moving . . . in Detroit it's mov-
ing . . . in Ann Arbor it's moving. We
represent the blacks ...we move."
To Charles Thomas, Black Power is
much more than just a symbol or a term.
"To me, the words are real. We changed
the name from Negro to Black. There's
nothing wrong with Black. That's good!"
But the system is bad. Thomas has un-
derstood Marx's principle. "Black Power
means black folks determining' their own
fate by owning the means of production.
"Who owns the means of production?
Who makes.the law? Are there going to
be riots? I don't know-ask these people.
White people cause riots, not blacks.
What causes riots? Ask the police, ask
the men who make the laws, ask the
corporation heads - they cause the riots.
Ask them if there will be riots this sum-
mer - they determine that. The trouble
is, they don't even know it."
LUTHER WEEMS is a psychology in-
structor. His home state is Florida, the
Sunshine State. He has felt the effects
of the white racism noted by the Presi-
dent's Commission on Civil Disorders.-
But he's still in America.
"I've gone through a complete cycle-
during the last nine months. Last August
I was fed up, I felt that we might as
well burn it all down . . . burn the whole
damn country down. All I wanted then
was to get my degree from this place
and get the hell out of here.
"By last December, I was in the middle
somewhere, I didn't know what I wanted.
"But now I feel differently-I look at
the realistic aspects' . . . Burning cities
was unrealistic-we know we can't do
this. But the impulse to do it is based
in reality.
"Now I feel that something can be
done: maybe I can get through to some
white students. There has been some
satisfaction through my experience as a
teacher, having come in contact with 150
"I think there's some hope now. Vio-
lence in the .North did more than the
sit-ins ever did in the South-it's been

the only effective device up here. It's.
served a valuable purpose-it has awak-
ened the white community."
community. To Ann Arbor professional
people present at the Mason Hall dis-
cussions, the Universityastudentsrepre-
sented a new hope. One young Negro
woman, a teacher at a local high school,
explained best perhaps why they had
"The reason older people are search-
ing for a group now is that you get tired
... you need a group. You get tired of
fighting by yourself. We are watching
the students and we are interested in
getting involved."
The students themselves are searching
for methods of involvement-in the Uni-
versity, in the community, in the coun-
"What, I'm worried about is what we
are going to do now, not what we are
going to do later ... "
"What we need is some kind of unity
. . . at times, Negroes have betrayed
Negroes just as much as whites have
betrayed Negroes . .
"The black students on this campus
are divided into three groups: the ones
'turning white', the ones who are apa-
thetic or afraid, and the ones left that
are worrying about what we can do ... "
LARRY MANN, 21-year-old chairman
of the Afro-American Liberation 'Move-
ment, is one of the students in the third
group. "We're trying to activate black
students. We're trying to tune them in
to the atmosphere in Detroit, Harlem
and all over the nation. It's happening."
Mann explained the difficulty in con-
fronting the apathy of some black stu-
dents on campus. "It's a defense mecha-
nism. Sometimes they can only take so
much. They want to escape, stop reading
papers, instead of getting into it.
He helped establish the Afro-American
Liberation Movement last October as a
student organization "designed to study
the heritage and history of the colored
peoples of the world."
The Movement's purpose, as stated in
the Preamble to the Constitution, is "to
<educate the student populace on its role
. in the revolutionary struggle for
human rights and to activate and involve
(it) in constructive and beneficial activi-
ties that will enhance the struggle for
(these)" rights."
Being a black student activist can at
times be difficult. There are always two
roles to be played. "I can never com-

KENNETH MOGILL, chairman of Joint Judiciary Council,
is a senior in political science who spent much of this year
searching for equal opportunity in Detroit-area high schools.

DAVID WEIR, a junior in journalism, is
sports editor of The Daily.
ALISON SYMROSKI, also a junior in journalism, is
associate editor of The Daily Magazine.


Students of Detroit's Northern High School returned to class after a week-long bo:
protesting poor school facilities and what was called inferior teaching.

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