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September 25, 1960 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1960-09-25

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Seventieth Year
Truth Will Prevail STUDENT PUBLICATIONS BLDG. * ANN ARBOR, MICH. * Phone NO 2-3241
Editorials printed in The Michigan Daily express the individual opinions of staff writers
or the editors. This must be noted in all reprints.



DiscussLegal Issues
Involved in Sit-Ins
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Peter Franck graduated from University of California,
Berkeley, in June 1958. He is curreitiy studying law at Columbia University.
He has done extensive research on the legal questions .involved in the sit-ins
for a civil rights organization.)
THE DRAMATIC, exciting and effective thing about the sit-in
movement is its departure from reliance on the technique of
changing social practice by changing law. The civil rights movement
has found the law a slow and cumbersome tool at best, and has
forged its own: direct action. The change will have as profound
effects on the law as on the movement itself.

Y, SEPTEMBER 25, 1960


Continuing Sit-In Struggle
Demiands Respect, Introspection
S. ,what your intellect and reason have to win is something which is not to be measured
or manipulated by scientific tools but grasped by the strength of rational insight arising
from what your hands see and your eyes touch . . . this is the universe of intelligent being
and of the sacred character of truth as such. You will then be able to show the world how
human action may be reconciled with and permeated by an ideal which is more real than
reality, and why it is possible and right to die for liberty,. .
-Jacques Maritain


1ERE ARE TIMES in the life of an in-
- dividual when he must think and act re-
gardless of the perils which may fellow. Less
frequently, perhaps, there are times in the
life of a nation when a whole group of in-
dividuals must behave in such a way. They
are usually stirring times, revolutionary times
-recall, for example, the Boston Tea Party and
revolution of two centuries ago, or in more
recent times, Ghandi marching to the sea to
violate the British salt tax laws.
The southern sit-in movement, touched off
by a tiny incident in Greensboro seven months
ago, is the modern American example of such
individual and group behavior.
The sit-inners have added new dimensions
to the civil rights campaign-moving it from
the courtroom to the restaurant, from legal
action to direct action, from a bureaucratic to
an individualistic process.
TIEY HAVE STRUCK a killing blow at the
institution of segregated lunch counters.
They have baffled police forces and Citizens
Councils in community after community.
They have effectively illustrated America's
social inconsistencies and focussed the nation's
attention on its great domestic problem.
They have shown a confused community
that it is still possible for the individual to
unashamedly speak simple, unconfused truths
about his relation with other individuals;
statements as uncomplex as "Negroes are
human and must be treated as such." Further,
they have shown the hesitant, searching minds
of the twentieth centurytthat individual com-
mitment to action is in fact possible.
They have made their commitments and
taken their actions amidst unbelievable pres-
sures. They have willingly accrued criminal
records, terrified their families, jeopardized
their lives, accepted expulsion from universities,
avoided violence, found time to study, and
all within a community where "law" and "law-
lessness" are often indistinguisable.
AND PERHAPS MORE than anything else,
the sit-inners have shown an unprincipled,
uncourageous, leaderless adult community the
overwhelming American need for brave and
new directions. It is a biting commentary on
American civilization that students have
developed practiced tactics of protest against
Some argue the sit- ins have served their
purpose and should be ceased. For this position
they offer two fairly sound reasons. The first
is that the hatred aroused in the white com-
munity by tht sit-ins will impede future pro-
gress. Such an argument is disturbing in two
ways: it overlooks the continued progress being
made by the sit-inners, both in integrating

lunch-counters and in bringing American at-
tention to the issue, and it also "blames" the
sit-inners for arousing the hatred of some
THE SECOND ARGUMENT usually offered
for the discontinuation of the sit-ins is that
terrible violence is liable to erupt if the student
demonstrations persist. It is true that many
a southern community is already armed and
on the brink of battle. It is also true that
violence would be catastrophic for the nation.
But as one integrationist has asked, "Should
fear of violence keep a person from non-
violent protest of an injustice? Should a per-
son who does not strike back be blamed because
he is struck? I simply fail to understand why,
if the presence of Negro students sitting quietly
is so infuriating to a mob that they resort
to violence, the students should be blamed for
the sickness of the mob." Even in the face of
threatened aggression, one cannot deny the
validity and justice of the Negro'e cause. One
may only hope that the sit-inner maintains his
peaceful dignity and that he meet any and
all violence with such an attitude.
Others will argue the sympathy picketing,
and boycott in the Northern states should be
discontinued, not because of potential violence
but either because or latent frictions which
develop in northern communities or because
picketing is ineffective in the north. But again,
objections must be raised: hasn't the northern
student helped dramatize a problem which is
essentially national, hasn't he placed effective
pressure on national chain stores, hasn't he
demonstrated empathy for the cause of his
southern counterparts? One should actually
argue that the northern student should not
only engage in "sympathy" protests but should
turn his serious attention to discrimination in
the north. As an encouraging example, the Ann
Arbor Direct Action Committee is now shifting
its energies to the "rule 9" controversy and to
newspaper advertising.
rJHE SIT-INS may or may not continue
through this year. They may or may not
find new forms. Whatever the next event,
however, the warning to the south should be
clear-that they must build into their com-
munities those practices which meet the needs
and aspirations of a new order of Negroes
and a new order of students.
Finally, the warning should extend beyond
the southern states and into the head and
heart of every man. The American community
should watch the sit-ins with respect, compas-
sion, and perhaps some trepidation. Then must
come the time for introspection, national and


Southern Community Awakens

Editorial Director
Provoking response and respon-
sibility among American students,
the desegregation issue has led
them to define and commit them-
selves as citizens.
The issues implicit in the ten-
sion between traditional prejudi-
cial treatment of one bloc of the
nation's population by another
are being made painfully clear by
protestors who publicly and un-
equivocally declare their motiva-
tion and goals. The Southern
white has never been inhibited
from stating his position, and the
Southern Negro has recently de-
veloped a voice both eloquent and
When last February in Greens-
boro, N.C., college students initiat-
ed non-violent direct protest as
an effective lever to move the seg-
regated society of the South by
sitting-in, the nation's student-
citizens were galvanized to think
and act.
The Greensboro protest and
those that followed it, in the South
and elsewhere, demonstrated self-
recognized concern of students as
citizens rather than as members

of a cloistered, ingrown academic
community. As Americans who
had committed themselves to an
attempt to influence their social
milieu for the good of the many,
they commanded widespread sym-
pathy and respect.
Some students taking part in
the National Student Congress last
August had participated in non-
violent demonstrations. John
Baker, delegate to the Congress
from Fisk University, Nashville,
was a softspoken authority on the
anatomy of a sti-in.-,
"Before we went to sit-in, we
would meet in the University
chapel," he related. The students
-previously familiarized with the
principles and history of passive
protest from Ghandi on-were re-
minded of the spirit in which they
had organized and warned of the
possibilities of violent retaliation
by. townspeople.
As some group monitors spoke,
others mingled with the prospec-
tive sit-in participants. "They
talked to us the way objectors
to the sit-in might-'What you
doing there,, black boy?'-and
roughed us up a bit. If anyone
showed that it bothered him, he

Today's Page: An Open Forum

TODAY'S editorial page comes closest in for-
mat to bringing The Daily's version of the
open forum into reality. As such, it both sym-
bolizes and contributes to the University com-
munity, which shares the effort to become a
forum for free expression of opinion.
When a newspaper maintains no established
editorial policy, it becomes imperative that
that newspaper clarify its position regularly, so
that its reading public will be brought to
awareness and perhaps sympathy with the
goals this position implies.
The Daily is one such newspaper. On the
editorial page, interpretation and opinion are
presented. In keeping with the quote from
John Stuart Mill borne at the top of the page,
The Daily here seeks to preserve the freedom
of an open forum of ideas.
IN KEEPING WITH Mill's. classical liberal
position, The Daily chooses to assume that
no single or collective mind is the best possible
judge, and that no single or collective voice
should articulate the only opinions the Daily
- presents to its readers.
It follows from this assumption that the loose
criteria on which editorial expressions of
opinion are judged worthy of printing should
be reason, responsibility and good taste, rather
than arbitrarily defined "truth"-since any
attempt to define truth must be more or less
It also follows that the Daily shall not set
up an editorial board to resolve the Daily's
policy on issues, be they political, social, edu-
cational, and trust its judgment alone to
determine what the community should read.
NOTHING on the editorial page goes un-
signed; all ideas, opinions and value deci-'
sions may be attributed only to the writer.
This of course means that anything appearing
on the page is open to challenge by letter-
writers or by other staff members.

BUT THE DAILY must not come to a con-
clusion for its readers. It may not, by the
liberal stand it has taken, impose a general
bias on its editorial content. It may not come
to a conclusion for its readers, although any
individual staff member may present his con-
clusion providing it is reasoned, responsible
and in good taste. The Daily believes it is
the reader's right and responsibility to arrive
at his own conclusion or to refrain from doing
so. The Daily may not interfere by the overt
pressure of bias with this decision. But neither
may it neglect to cover any side of any issue
the omission of which might inhibit the form-
ing of individual opinion on the issue.
USE OF THE pro-con editorial or editorial
feature is one of the Daily's means of
covering issues adequately; the reader has two
conflicting arguments to weigh against each
other and against his own.
Topical editorial pages, in which highly
controversial or deeply complex issues may
be discussed from a number of aspects, give
further opportunity for depth of coverage. In
either the pro-con editorial or the topical page,
The Daily may present extreme positions and
moderate ones, balancing off, for instance, the
argument of a segregationist against that of
a strong supporter of the sit-ins and their
goals. Gathering these arguments into a col-
lective presentation frees the Daily from the
accusations which might occur if one of them
were run by itself.
IFN SUCH a collection, for instance, a given
article taken by itself might justifiably be
esteemed irresponsible, illogical or in poor
taste. No one can disagree that ideologies
which do not, in all minds, meet these criteria
sometimes significantly influence decisions on
major issues in the minds of many people. As
an individual, I feel that the minority report

USNSA Resolution
Ont Desegregationt
FACT: On February 1, 1960, four students of North Carolina
Agricultural and Technical College in Greensboro, N.C., took
seats at the lunch counter of F. W. Woolworth's. Their purpose
was to protest, by non-violent direct action, the digcriminatory
practices which deny Negro citizens complete equality.
From that date the protest movement has spread to over 80
cities in the South; over 1,700 students have been arrested as a
result of their participation in the movement; over 50 students
have been expelled for their actions. In many of these cities,
student participants have been denied police protection, have
undergone mistreatment by the police and have been subject to
widespread injustice in the courts.
The student protest movement and the mistreatment of its
participants evoked a nationwide response. Over 800 colleges and
universities outside the South held sympathy demonstrations, boy-
cotts and pickets, and sent Communications of support to stu-
dents in the South. They also began fund raising campaigns for
bonds, fines and scholarships.
PRINCIPLE: Whereas USNSA, as a confederation of student
bodies, feels restrained from committing its membership to
the practice of mass civil disobedience because of the very per-
sonal kind of decision such action entails, USNSA does wish, how-
ever, to express its. appreciation of this position as taken by
many students in their protest against injustice and does wish to
exprtss a profound respect for the non-violent dignity with which
it has been performed.
Indeed, in a larger sense, USNSA can heartily agree with the
argument that when a segment of the population is denied the
right of representation, the process of legislation ceases in effect
to be democratic and the laws thus created cease to be just and
right with respect to our democratic ideals and principles.
USNSA, in like terms, reiterates its impatience with the in-
verterate traditions of injustice which are elevated to the stature
of legal mandates as mask for their immutability.
DECLARATION: USNSA affirms is belief in the inherent dignity
of students who have chosen to work for the rectification
through non-violent protest of such inequality and injustice per-
ceived by him to be present in the services offered to him as part
of the general public. USNSA strongly believes that in this protest
each man must be guaranteed, both in theory and in practice,
due process of law and protection from intimidation no matter
what its source or sanction. USNSA strongly regrets that violence
and lack of due process have occurred.
USNSA deplores the lack of thorough, impartial, objective
and interpretive press coverage of the protest movement. USNSA
is disturbed by the propensity of many major newspapers to
emphasize the violence and sensational nature of certain aspects
of Southern racial relations. At the same time almost no coverage
is given peaceful integration which has taken place.
USNSA, realizing the deep moral committment involved in
individual participation in the student protest movement and the
non-violent protest actions, urges each individual member to con-
sider the implications of participation in or abstention from such
action in his own life.
ACTION: In keeping with the principles embodied in the Model
Educational Practices Standards, the Basic Policy Declaration
on desegregation, and the stated principles on this resolution, the
13th National Student Congress recommends tha all member
schools assume the responsibility of translating these principles
into positive effective action on all levels.

was told he might serve the move-
ment in some other way, but that
his reaction was too strong to
make him an effective sit-inner."
After the students organized,
John Baker explained, they usual-
ly prayed together and then walk-
ed down to the local Woolworth's,
which maintained a segregated
lunch counter.
Students sitting-in have pre-
pared themselves to face baiting
and taunts with equanimity. De-
scribing one experience for a Con-
gress of Racial Equality (CORE)
booklet on the sit-ins, a partici-
pant said, ...white teenagers
and others stood in the aisles in-
sulting us, blowing smoke in our
faces, grinding out cigarette butts
on our backs and, finally, pull-
ing us off our stools and beating
us. Those of us pulled off our seats
tried to regain them as soon as
possible, but none of us attempted
to fight back in any way."
Tension over the issue is snow-
balling in the South. It has not
always been possible to avoid vio-
lent clashes between Negroes and
An encouraging trend seen at
the National Student Congress,
particularly if it can legitimately
be expanded to characterize the
larger community, is the increas-
ed willingness of, Southern stu-
dents to talk abot the problem.
Mary Stewart Baker, editor of
the University of North Carolina
Tarheel, represents perhaps the
most delicate position on the is-
sue: She is Southern, liberal,
walking a tightrope.
Mary believes interracial equal
rights will come, and that this is
a good thing. She is less willing
to commit herself to the "free-
dom now" effort of the student
protest movement.
Her position is not extreme and
she articulates it tactfully. She
appreciates the Southern tradition
which is a part of her family's
way of life, and although she has
given them uneasy moments, they
respect the independent thinking
which has contributed to her lead-
ership capacity.
Like most Southerners, Mary
believes her closeness to the im-
mediate fact of segrgation gives
her fuller comprehension of the
technical and emotional complex-
ities of the situation. Southern
students have reacted diffidently
to Northern comments or state-
ments about desegregation, They
feel that the pervasive clash of
attitudes is understandable only
in part for anyone but the in-
digenous Southerner.
"If you lived in the South you'd
have grown up with an under-
standing of the disgraceful social
conditions the Negroes have to
endure," she says. She disagrees
with the method of sit-ins, think-
ing that social and economic im-
provements are most urgently
needed. Equal legal status need
not be pressed, Mary says, until
Southern Negroes are rid of the
unfair social conditions that cur-
tail their opportunity for a bet-
ter living standard.
Other Southern students have
chosen to take such strong posi-
tions regarding the present need
for equal rights that they have
antagonized fellow students and
These people often find them-
selves standing alone for what
they believe. Some choose to ar-
gue, to plead their case, to exhort
those that surround them in hopes
of persuading them to reconsider
the claims of tradition and jus-
Others assume the existential
position of purely personal com-
mitment, and this may be most
effective in communicating their
view. Sandra Cason of University
of Texas spoke once, and elo-
quently, from this position at the
"I cannot say to a person who
suffers injustice, 'Wait.' And hav-

ing decided that I cannot urge
caution I must stand with him.

The sit-in technique raises a
"privately" owned restaurant has
the legal right to discriminate.
The courts have clearly said that
Constitution only prevents the
state from discriminating, that the
private person can have any policy
he pleases unless there is some
state law against it. A number of
northern states do have laws
against discrimination in what are
called "places of public accomoda-
tion." This would include lunch
counters and restaurants in most
places. None of the southern states
have this form of civil rights law,
however, and in their absence
owners are legally free to dis-
« «*
WHAT DOES THE law do, then,.
when the Negro students sit-in?
They, are at the lunch counter,
the property owner says they are
not wanted there, tells them t9
leave, and they don't? Are they
guilty of trespassing? The police
tell them they are under arrest,
or to move on, are they guilty
of resisting arrest of refusing to
obey an officer (both are crimes)?
A crowd of white hooligans col-
lects and the situation gets ugly,
there is danger of a riot, are they
guilty of inciting to riot, of dis-
turbing the peace (the sit-in stu-
dents have been arrested for these
crimes too)?
The problem is that in an or-
dinary situation these acts would
probably be quite properly con-
sidered against the law, and it is
ordinary situations the law is
written to cover. A sit-in demon-
stration in the American South in
1960 is no ordinary situation, and
some extra-ordinary legal doc-
trines get tangled up with the
seemingly simple ideas of trespass-
ing, resisting arrest, refusing to
obey a police officer, inciting to
riot, disturbing the peace, etc.
* * *
something which a lot of other
people don't like, or saying some-
thing a lot of people violently ob-
ject to there is likely to be a
dangerous situation. The courts
have been faced with the problem
in the past and have let the par-
ticular situation govern their de-
cisions. Sometimes they have said
that it's the duty of the police
to protect the rights of the un-
popular against the intolerance
of a majority; in other cases they
have said it amounts to disturbing
the peace to get up and say things
you know will make a crowd dan-
The case of a sit-in demonstra-
ton is unique; on the one hand it
amounts to a militant demand for
rights made in the midst of a white
population which is violently op-
posed to the granting of these
rights. On the other hand it is
part of a regional movement, na-
tionally supported, which is re-
flecting the aspirations of a whole
people, equally fervently felt, for
freedom from segregation now.
How does the law resolve such a
clash of interests? So far it hasn't.
Local courts, intimately tied to
the white community, have given

number of basic legal issues. A
first place to maintaining order
bk preventing demonstrations
likely to disrupt it.
the higher courts, and in parti-
cular the United States Supreme
Court, another principal of law
can be expected to come into play.
When there is an even conflict of
legal doctrines the courts fre-
quently will have recourse to the
general policy of the law on the
matter. There can be no question
that the basic posture of the law
today is in support of civil rights'
and against segregation. This
"public policy" may step in to
tip the balance. Order is one thing,
and it is a prime function of the
state to preserve it, but justice
too is a major social goal of the
state, and the legal system has
defined segregation and justice as
incompatible ideas.
The First Amendment to the
Constitution which guarantees the
rights of freedom of speech, free-
dom of assembly, and the right to
petition for redress of grievances
(among other things) comes into
play here too. These rights, taken
together, could be said to amount
to a right to go after social change
by demonstrations of the sit-in
type, as well as preserving the
right to advocate change theoreti-
cally, which is the situation in
which the First Amendment is
usually cited as authority. What
courts will say about the relation
of this right to the right of the
state to keep order is anybody's
guess, but they will have to choose.
regationists to stop the sit-in
movement with the use of law
are most likely to be defeated by
an idea which has come into the
law in the last fifteen years. Start-
ing with a case which simply said
that the courts won't enforce a
provision in a contract banning
resale of a house to non-whites,
the doctrine that the Constitution
prohibits the state from taking
part in any discrimination has
become a part of our law. This
means that discrimination involv-
ing "state action" is unconstitu-
tional. There can't be any question
that to arrest people who sit-in
is "state action." To prosecute
them for trespass, or for any other
crime is state action, and under
the civil rights laws passed after
the civil war this is not only un-
constitutional when it's done to
promote segregation, but it gives
the people involved the right to
sue those responsible for damages.
* * *
the sit-ins, then, may be expected
to come to this: Woolworths (and
the other stores involved) has the
right to discriminate at its lunch
counter, but it does not have the
right to have the state's help in
enforcing segregation. It can re-
fuse to serve Negroes, but it can't
call the cops to take them aayv
when they refuse to leave without
being served.


Reject Integration

(EDITOR'S NOTE: The following
statements are taken from the
Democratic Convention Platform
Committee's minority report on
the civil rights plank of the Demo-
cratic ,platform.)
FOR six years and two months
there has been a rising de-
mand that the South should obey
the law of the land, so-called, and.
establish systems of public schools
unsegregated as to race or color.
This clamor overlooks the fact
that never has any Court decided
that any State should be com-
pelled by anyone to set up a sys-
tem of integrated schools.
But thosewho have so chided
the South for its alleged breach
of the law of the land now foster
not only breaches of the law of
the land, but breaches of the,
peace. They condone and even
sanction trespassings upon pri-
vate property.
Their encouragement and ap-
proval of "sit-in demonstrations"
on a specious moral principle
flout the declaration of the law
of the land promulgated by a
Court, one of whose members is
a distinguished former Solicitor
General of the United States.

nation be ended in public educa-
tion." All that the Courts have
said on this subject is that IF a
State chooses to establish and
maintain a public school system,
the children in the schools of that
system may not be segregated by
the standard of race or color. If
the people of any State choose to
abandon their public schools rath-
er than integrate them, no Court
or Congress may compel the sub-
mission of any plan of compliance
with "the Supreme Court's school
desegregation decision."
And we the undersigned are
here to say that the States of
the South will not be bribed with
"technical and financial assist-
ance," held out as bait in this
platform, into sacrificin their
children upon the altar o politi-
cal expediency.
The Daily Official Bulletin is an.
official publication of The Univer-
sity of Michigan for which The

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