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August 31, 1965 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1965-08-31

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Washington Ghetto -Seat of Future Racial U


major American city, Washington
holds in the crowded streets of
its Negro slums the ingredients
of racial explosion, a group of
civil rights leaders agreed Friday.
They spoke out in interviews
with The Associated Press after
President Johnson warned "the
clock is ticking, time is moving"
toward possible trouble in the
District of Columbia and other
major urban centers.'
But most of them believe the
nation's capital has a better-than-
average chance of avoiding the
kind of racial rampage that swept
Los Angeles' Negro district.
More Negroes
Washington is the only major
U.S. city with more Negroes than
whites. Its population is made up
of some 470,300 Negroes and 337,-
3o6 whites. These figures apply
to the city itself-most of the
surrounding suburbs have only a
small percentage of Negroes.
"The time to listen to the Ne-
gro leadership is now," warned
Sterling Tucker of, the National
Urban League. "If a riot broke
out here it wouldn't be one riot,
it would be a series of them.
"We have scattered pockets of
Negro ghetto here, not a Harlem
or a Watts."r
"I'm not predicting a riot,"
Tucker added, "I'm trying to pre-
vent one."
Ford Dissent
Soon after Johnson warned of
4 f
possible trouble in the capital,
House Republican leader Gerld
R. Ford of Michigan accused him
of extending "what amounts to
an invitation to trigger terrorism
in the streets."
Johnson, signing a $3.3-billion
Public Works and Economic De-

The Curse of the Ghetto

velopment , Act, spoke Thursday working together in the political
about the Los Angeles violence. arena."

"When people feel that they
don't get a fair shake," he said,
''when they feel that justice is
not open to them, you always see
these things occur;"
Clock is Ticking
Then he added:
"Those of you here in the Dis-
trict of Columbia, I want to warn
you this morning, that the clock
is ticking, time is moving, that
we should and we must ask our-
selves every night when we go
home, are we doing all that we
should do in our nation's capdital,
in all the other big cities of the
Later, Johnson said the prob-
lems that could cause trouble
exist elsewhere-in New York,
Boston and even his little home
town of Johnson City, Tex.
Ease Tensions
Clarence Mitchell, Washington
representative of the National
Association for the Advancement
of Colored People, said home rule
would help ease tensions in the
I "I think people are always less
tense when they feel they have a
means of getting redress for their
grievances," he said. "Even the
white community lacks this now."
"Home rule will be a step to-
ward a more stable racial situa-
tion," said Joseph L. Rauh Jr., the
Washington Democratic chairman,
"because all the people will be

Any City
Paul Rilling, executive director
of the commissioners' Council on
Human Relations, said he agreed
with the President-"not because
I see any particular indication of
trouble here, but because the kind
of problems the President has in
mind exist in any city.
The problems are those of basic
social and 'economic conditions.
There is a considerable effort un-
der way in this city to overcome
Tucker said the city has a long
way to go; that 25 per cent of
Washington's Negroes live in pov-
No Exception
"The seeds of riot are in every
major city," he said. "The prob-
lems are there, and Washington
is no exception;"
Slum housing and joblessness
are the most critical problems
facing the capital, Tucker said. He
said Washington Negroes repre-
sent 62 per cent of the population
but are crowded into 44 per cent
of the housing units. And, he said
6.2 per cent of the city's Negroes
are jobless, as against 4.8 per
cent of the total population.
In some Negro areas, Tucker
said, up to 50 per cent of the
Negroes 16 to 21 years old are

Washington has a major advan-j Rilling said his agency han
tage that was not present in Los some Negro complaints of po
Angeles. "We have healthy lines mistreatment, but the numbe
of communication between the decreasing.
decision makers and the Negro He said 22.8 per cent of
community," he said. police force is Negro.
"I'm not sure it reaches into Some Tension
the ghetto." Carl Moultrie, president of
Trouble between police and Ne- NAACP Washington chapter,;
groes has been a common ingre- there is some tension betw
dient in racial turmoil in other Negroes and policemen.
big cities. Tucker said the atmos- "But I think as long as
phere of Washington's Police De- door of communication is o
partment is good, but it does not for redress, this will retard
always reach into the Negro dis- kind of explosion," he said. M
tricts. trie said that door is open.
Live ON CAMPUS in a
apartment. Your bedroorr
furniture, individual close
person. teds hove built-u
are completely carpet
i 4 . . . . . . . . . . ... . ...........:::.............,::. . . . . . . ..::. ..:::S .

dles Deputy Police Chief Thomas
olice Rasmusen, who is in charge of
r is the department's community re-
lations unit, had this reaction:
the Nothing Derogatory
"We know of nothing deroga-
tory here, or anything likely to
the happen in Washington, from the
said, standpoint of law enforcement,"
Moultrie called for a reassess-
the ment of Washington's programs in
open housing, employment, training
any and other fields where Negro con-
oul- ditions are below par.
If Los Angeles is to mean any-


Zing," he said, "we must re- would not discuss Johnson's state-
sess our situation."N ment.
Washington has had riots In-
Good Position volving Negroes, but few incidents
Rauh said Washmgton is in a that could be termed racial in
od position to maintain racial origin. Three years ago, fightig
armony. He said the Negro com- broke out during a high school
unity has more stability than football championship game e-
ose in other cities because a tween supporters of a predomn-
gh percentage of its people are inantly Negro school and fans of
mployed by the federal govern- the other team, mostly whte.
ent. And he added Washington About 40 people were injured.
as made greater effort than have Police said it did not appear to
me other cities to achieve racial be strictly a racial incident, but
nderstanding. most of the fighting involved at-
The Washington Board of Trade tacks by Negroes on white people.

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Major Advantage
At the same time, Tucker


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