Ten O'Clock News
The 10 o'clock news is made possible by grants from New England telephone serving New England's communications needs for 100 years by Shawmut banks providers of financial services and over 170 locations throughout Massachusetts by Nimrod press printers and engravers to business industry and education and by contributions from you our viewers. Good evening I'm Christopher Lyden. A special edition of the 10 O'Clock News Tonight marks the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. It's a holiday that will be official and national from next year on what. The. Martin Luther King Jr. was born on. 19 20. He gave his. Black civil rights movement in the great drive of the 1950s and 60s. And poverty racism.
And the American dream and. Dream. Running. On the. Screen. To be a. Young Baptist preacher who won the Nobel Peace Prize and to be recognized as America's. Leader. For 13 years beginning in one thousand fifty five King fought for desegregation public facilities for voting rights and for economic power for black people. Was he. Can. We move on now
to degenerate again and again. We're going to. Meeting him for his strategy in the segregated South was passive resistance to realize his dream. He died a martyr's death. He was assassinated by sniper shot on April 4th 1968 as he stood in a hotel balcony in Memphis Tennessee. He'd come to Memphis try and calm the violence rising out of a strike by black sanitation workers. Tonight we recall Martin Luther King Jr. dream and we review his unfinished agenda. Our guests are Dr. Virgil Wood who was among Dr. King's closest associates north and south but specially in Boston and with historian and author Dr. Helen Edmonds. We'll hear also from the 10 O'Clock News reporter Kelly Crossley who was herself a teenager growing up in Memphis when King was shot. First we have three special
reports on the civil rights of Boston blacks today in employment housing and education. I'm Paul Solman. Well Massachusetts and Boston are booming economically these days and white unemployment is down near its 970 level. Black unemployment is up 40 percent statewide since 1970 in the early 60s half of all black high school dropouts had a job within a year. Today fewer than one in six does consider 19 year old Fred Macklemore whose family moved to Boston from Alabama in 1970. My father my mother brought me here when I was small. And no idea where they can have but I'm glad it came as a lot happened here. What kind of attitude. Why can't I do something about that which I haven't been out of filing yet but I think it's obvious and so I've decided that as a case. The father is now back in Alabama. The son can't find a job for people like the Macklemore is Boston maybe even less economically hospitable in 1985 than it was when they arrived. For some blacks in Boston however there's more opportunity than ever.
Tom Jones for example is second vice president to John Hancock and a successful real estate investor. The society is very comfortable with what's been done that makes it possible for individuals like me. My dad had given me a great head start. He was a nuclear physicist. He taught me about hard work education personal morality and discipline. That's what you need in this society. Fred Michael Moore's upbringing was more typical as was his notion of what he wanted to be when he grew up. I didn't know there was so many things to do. You see the five men using the policeman you seeing and he's just seen the types of things a person can be. I want to be rich but I think that would be a little one to be rich and I could ask but I want to be able to do what was being
rich like in your butt having fancy cars and nice clothes and anything you wanted. And funny you know I'm back you wherever it was if you wanted it. Tom Jones's rise to prosperity entirely in Boston is the kind of story that hardly ever happened here in the days before Martin Luther King. But in 1985 black college graduates have the same expected earnings as their white counterparts. The data suggest that Boston does now provide a measure of equal opportunity for blacks. But one of those who don't have the tools to capitalize on it. We showed our interview with Fred Macklemore to Tom Jones and asked if he thought Fred had a chance under the current rules of the game no he doesn't have much of a chance. An individual like him who's now dropped out of school. He's getting older. He's pretty much foregone the opportunities to punch the typical tickets. In fact without a diploma Macklemore statistical future is grim. A 35
percent chance of being officially poor at any given time a 40 percent chance of being unemployed a 21 percent chance of being convicted of a crime. These projections are far worse than they were for people like Macklemore in the 70s. Michael Moore has been buckling down going to school part time while looking for work. Recently he got an interview for a stockroom job at filings basement. To be honest that has been the doubt I got to interview but I did and. Just talking to myself I wasn't there. It could be that Fred doesn't do himself any favors by wearing a ring in his ear. It could be that Fred does not put on a jacket in a time when he goes for a job interview. Yeah yeah it's pretty neat. I don't know the extent to which he makes people feel comfortable with himself. These are things that a person would normally be taught to do if they were taught to go for job interviews.
But of course they're not the aunt with whom Fred lives is frustrated by his lack of success. The jobs are probably there but they're not there for blacks. Basically I mean you know especially if you don't have an education. There are only about twenty five hundred kids like Fred in Boston. Teenage black dropouts without jobs but most vocational programs pass them by and there are fewer such programs than ever under Reagan. While the Boston job market is emphasizing ever greater technical skills unless we teach Fred Macklemore the skills Boston industry needs he won't have a job and we may not have enough skilled workers. In other words in the years since Martin Luther King Boston has provided economic opportunity but not necessarily the means to take advantage of it to the extent that the society sees people like me be successful. Everybody's happy or at least the white majority is happy and they say well any black person who's like that will do fine but that that begs the question because Whose responsibility is Fred
at the moment in Boston. The answer is no ones for the 10 O'Clock News this is Paul Solman reporting. I'm Gail Harris. Most blacks in Boston live in Roxbury pan or Dorchester but it is Roxbury that is poised on the brink of the biggest changes. Best of times that could become the worst of times for some of the poor people who called it home for had been pushed out. But once they get it straightened up all around us and they begin to Florence. That. They will you know push back. Who knows we had some theory is that something like that you know. There's a reason for her concern in the mile and a half around Dudley Station there are 7000 public housing units in various stages of disrepair. The closest is Orchard Park where an empty apartment offers an open invitation to squatters drug attics and thieves. I want you back to me is like you know the station and in it's one of the things I think that is probably prevented more
development taking place. Because you just can't miss the thing it's like a campground almost And if you drive through it it really is depressing. But a few blocks away there are signs of a reawakening Roxbury around a deadly station that will change dramatically in the next couple of years. That's when the BTA will move its trains to the southwest corridor and the elevated tracks along Washington Street come down. Raising property values in the process. In fact it's already started. We've got to convince the professional developers that there is a dollar to be made here in the area and some of them are beginning to realize that now if you can take the Ferdinand building when we first went in and bought part of the Ferdinand building three years ago nobody else wanted it. And today they even outbid us and the rest of the parcel. It shows that something's happening here and a true developer knows where to look to have things happen. Most of us will see this as just another vacant lot. Heaven knows there are enough of them on this section of Dudley Street. But a developer would see this as a potential gold mine and minority
developers in Roxbury see this as a key to the future of Roxbury. The question in their minds is why speculators be allowed to come in and make the money that's to be made here. Or will those who stuck it out during the bad times in Roxbury also be able to share in the good times come everything like tearing down the aisle and all that kind of stuff you have to say. Why do you want the place to be better. And then who do you want to place me better. You can answer those questions. Those are fair questions for the community to ask. It is the eternal question How do you improve a poor neighborhood. How do you do there without making it too expensive for poor people to remain.
Speculators point of view or from people to downtown. And now we are improving the transportation. And if the arrow comes down you'll be so much more attraction for people who want to live closer. I don't believe it will be with a lower alright. These days politicians and planners believe it doesn't have to be a case of either or the Boston Redevelopment Authority which in the 1980s presided over the wholesale land clearing of urban renewal has a different philosophy these days. The VRA hopes to fix up and develop a deadly station without displacing people. The plan will be made public until early March but here's what we know so far. The plan combines a carrot and stick approach the carrots include selling city land at a lower cost and speeding up project approval to make office space cheaper around deadly station. The stick is height limitations. If big developers want to put big projects downtown They'll also have to develop in Roxbury with
minority developers as full partners. We have a plan. It's not finished. It won't be finished and the community can work with it incumbent on it and change it and improve it. But they will be involved all the way along the line. It's that involvement that Roxbury residents are counting on to help keep them in the neighborhood they call home. For the 10 o'clock news. I'm Gail Harris. The way this is the face Boston showed the world when court ordered busing began here in 1974. I make balun court the racial hatred that erupted in some parts of the city was so vicious that President Gerald Ford put the National Guard on alert. Ten years later even the toughest neighborhoods are quiet. The thousands of police patrols are gone. Blacks and Whites attend school together almost as a matter of course almost busing still continues and after a decade Judge Arthur Garrity is still in
control of the Boston schools. Desegregation has changed things here but not as the judge might have hoped. There's still a great deal of difficulty in desegregating the schools. Obviously whether it's white flight or middle class flight or whatever the reason the school system. Now is predominantly minority overwhelmingly minority and just isn't working. And yes we do have black youngsters who are bussed past other black schools into the black schools. Today 70 percent of Boston public school students are black or Hispanic overall enrollment has dropped dramatically and whites are now a minority in the schools. It's racial balance has been hard to achieve. So has quality education. Test scores plummeted after the first few years of desegregation and by 1980 school officials estimated that a third of their high school graduates were functionally illiterate. The conclusion was unanimous. Desegregation alone didn't lead to effective education but in some ways that's the easiest way.
I mean of compliance just means counting heads. That's an easy thing to do with compliance. It's really good education comes in much more difficult. The frustration was so great that two years ago some black parents got together and offered an alternative to the current desegregation program a plan they called freedom of choice. Briefly explain the freedom of choice plan would preserve a certain number of seats in every school for each racial group according to their enrollment in the system. Then parents could choose their child's school on a first come first serve basis with them. That kind of monitoring or freedom of choice is really all people have asked for from the beginning from the beginning all people asked was that they'd be given an opportunity to go wherever they wish to go. In 1982 poll found that 79 percent of black parents favored the freedom of choice plan. Most said they'd like their child to go to a school closer to home. But the NWA Sepi joined Judge Garrity and the school department in turning the plan
down racially segregated housing patterns in Boston they argued would mean racially segregated neighborhood schools busing they said wasn't what was wrong. The number of youngsters who use transportation to go to and from school. Before the school desegregation plan. Was similar to the number that use transportation after the school desegregation plan. Bussin simply was used by the enemies of school desegregation to try to incite the public. The issue of being able to send your child to the school of choice which really translates out people into the neighborhood school only makes sense if your neighborhood school has good strong and solid experience. I think there are still too many pockets of high quality in Boston at the expense of situations that are average perhaps and that's that doesn't really give you freedom of choice. This is Mildred greed enter daughter Kim. Agree. They live in Jamaica
Plain but under desegregation Kim and her sister were assigned to Brighton high school. So every day the girls take the bus from their home to Brighton. I leave a servant to get to school. It's a 15 minute bus ride. I like to have a chance to see what's around the area have a chance to travel. Like to say a lot. I think this is wonderful because I have a chance to meet people from different cultures and I feel close to them. Teachers are interested there's small classes so you have more work with the teachers I think I have everything. After years of turmoil things are looking up for Boston schools integrated magnet schools with special programs in everything from drama to science have breathed new life into the system standardized curriculums and strict promotional standards have improved test scores significantly. Nevertheless the average student at eight of Boston's high schools
still trails most of the nation's students in reading. The drama desegregation over improved education is now the second stage to the failing Martin Luther King's dream. I make balun quite to the 10 o'clock news. Our guests are Dr. Virgil wood. For 10 years a close associate of Dr. King now the pastor of the Ponce Street Baptist Church in Providence Rhode Island and Dr. Helen Edmonds The historian and writer. This year a visiting professor at MIT and I ask you both what is the state of Dr. King's legacy. How we doing on Dr. King's agenda. We want to talk. Well this is the third of the three issues that comprised his work on racism war and poverty. On the racism front we've regressed no question about it. On the poverty issue we've gone back to the Middle Ages. On Wall we all know the situation so I'd say that the need for a
reassertion of the Martin Luther King agenda is upon us. Well in my opinion he would have a little bit of fear as to where the true application of civil rights has gone. Now I'm not saying that we don't have a proper civil rights legislation on the books we have that beginning with Eisenhower the creation of the Civil Rights Commission in fifty seven giving it more investigate the power and said 1960 then the 64 65 Voting Rights and in 68 he died the Fair Housing Act. The big question is I think he would have to ask himself has my nation and my country toed the mark on these pieces of legislation or have they fudged some of the possible outcome as it should have been other to hear both of you for people who were too young to experience Martin Luther King. I love I love your sense of whether we've lost sight of the man himself. I think so and I say this because I do a lot of speaking at big universities and
so forth for this kind of an occasion. And they have they have they've held him he is a saint but I also sort of put a little castigation on how young. Particularly when I look at the big universities and so forth when I think that they have they have revived patterns of segregation in areas where it was not necessary you revive them the young black college boy that had gone there in the park there but only white school where they are and I fight them with your ears and I'm sure they want a black lounge a black dining room a black social place. You haven't kept up with any of this goodness. Well I have a different view on that. I have a different units one at all and I thought all right. OK so in my opinion. For what we hope to set out to gain and that is acceptance in the mainstream American society. The whole battle was not for to reinstitute segregation in areas where it was not necessary and that is where I'm from if you know right now if it will and I think that everybody
has to have a beach here from which to launch themselves into the mainstream and blind people needed to be chaired they needed the cong. Beach here where they could get themselves together in the universe as I've seen that and I agree with you if it stays there if it becomes more than transitional. I would agree with you but I don't think you people who ever these universes except as you know in what I say you go in for counseling or whatever you want to do. But when you're working on. And he of the black students come to you and they come with their particular points of view and their grievances and some want to break away from the mob but they're afraid of the peer black peer group that this is is this is our universe and you know that what are we going to do about this because certainly if you are going to carry segregation into a universe don't you know what I mean it's not true I gave you did you not if you want to make sure that I should let you know on the actual question. When you when you when you when you go when you end your day's work and you go into your house with your family. That's not segregation that's going home to the femme women that
women if used do you think it's segregation and I as I see it these young people have had the need to mark their students. My best students always said that they needed that place to really put themselves together so that they could then go into that mainstream and compete with the students in a broader society. Or Dr. King be saying about the apparent split within. Black America between a broadening middle class and a proliferating underclass. Oh to be saying to the black family I think he'd be. I think he would be doing what he did in Montgomery. You had the upper class in Montgomery and you had the so-called lower class or what's now called the underclass. Right. He brought them together around common goals that benefited both groups. And I think that they feed had an opportunity to define where he would want to have taken us in the economic
ground. He would have helped us to plan common goals by which the so-called middle class upper middle class upper class and middle class upper middle class black could win at the same time that people on the bottom are winning Don't forget that the last thing that he was really attempting to do that he didn't really get too was the Poor People's Campaign. The question is. Is there enough interest is now to reach back and get the black brother who is disadvantaged or is not until it appears that this is what I thought you were talking about where we need someone now who can say listen we know that your income is thus and so what you see here you've got a brother or sister over here in this area that is is is is not doing well. And now a king could do that in his time. Being good to the midline and make them highly sensitive. I hadn't seen that particular type of leadership today. We thank you both Dr. Virgil would we have a further thought finally
from the 10 O'Clock News reporter Kelly Crossley who was a teenager living in Memphis on the day Dr. King was killed. Martin Luther King Jr. once said in describing the impact of the civil rights movement. A significant body of young people learned that in opposing the tyrannical forces that were crushing them they added stature and meaning to their lives. I was one of those young people as a teenager growing up in the south. My earliest recollections are of those realities that are now part of history books. I remember the sharp hurt I felt upon having to see waiting room and restroom signs labeled white and colored. And in a family where books and reading were highly valued I as a black growing up in Memphis was denied access to the public library. It was Martin Luther King who first made me realize that there was a way to fight these injustices. I became a member of the in a Youth Council and I spent every Saturday for one long year picketing downtown merchants merchants who wanted blacks to shop in their
stores but refused to hire black sales persons. On February 12th 1968 I found another reason to take up the picket sign. The continued discrimination and unfair treatment of black sanitation workers. Black leaders sought to bring in the one person they knew could inspire us all and make our struggle a national cause. In late March Reverend King arrived in Memphis. I still remember the excitement I felt in Mason Temple Baptist Church as I passed the garbage cans to collect funds for the striking sanitation workers. And I remember the triumph I felt as Dr. King strode toward the podium. Now I thought we all when. He had the power to pick up our flagging spirits and give us a determination to go on. But the march failed turning violent. I was never to see him again. He was assassinated on April 4th. On that night I stood outside my home with my family and our neighbors as we listen to the sound of sirens and explosions across town
and as we watched bayonet armed National Guardsman roll down our street I wondered then if any of the struggle had mattered. But that was April 4th and this holiday marks King's birth not his death. And no matter what remains to be changed I know that because of him the history of our country was redirected in a positive way and my life and the lives of millions of other blacks are much the better for that. I thought of Martin Luther King Jr. The day my sister my parents and I walked together through the front doors of the Memphis Public Library. That's our news. I'm Christopher life. Good night. God. You. Was was. Was have
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The 10 o'clock news was made possible by grants from the Nimrod press printers and engravers to business industry and education by Shell the bank's providers of financial services and over 170 locations throughout Massachusetts. By New England telephone serving New England's communications needs for 100 years and by contributions from you our viewers.
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- Ten O'Clock News
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- Special on Martin Luther King Jr birthday.Civil rights progress in housing, education, employment. Byron Rushing, Muriel+Otto Snowden. Jesse Jackson, Stevie Wonder at DC rally. Robert Spillane, Robert Peterkin. reporter: LydonChristopher Lydon introduces a Ten O'Clock News special broadcast marking the birthday of Martin Luth King, Jr. (civil rights leader). Lydon reviews King's life and accomplishments. This report features footage of King during the civil rights movement. Paul Solman reports on unemployment in the African American community. Solman notes that many young African Americans are not given the training, education, and support necessary to succeed in the workplace. Solman's report includes footage from interviews with Paul McLemore (Boston resident), Sarah Flint (McLemore's aunt), and Tom Jones (Vice President, John Hancock Mutual Insurance). Gail Harris reports on development in the Roxbury/Dorchester/Mattapan neighborhoods. Harris reports that the area is becoming more attractive to developers and that property values are expected to rise. Harris adds that many residents are suspicious of development plans by the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) and fear being displaced from their homes. Harris' report features footage from interviews with Mamie Mabine (tenant, Orchard Park Housing Project), John Cruz (developer), Ken Guscott (developer), Byron Rushing (State Representative), Otto Snowden (co-founder, Freedom House), Muriel Snowden (co-founder, Freedom House), and a BRA official. Meg Vaillancourt reports on the long-term effects of school desegregation on the Boston Public School system. Vaillancourt notes that attendance and test scores have dropped since 1974. Vaillancourt reports that many African American parents support a "freedom of choice" plan in which a certain number of seats in each school are set aside for students of each racial group. Vaillancourt interviews Robert Peterkin (Former Deputy Superintendent, Boston Public Schools), Robert Spillane (Superintendent, Boston Public Schools), Kenneth Haskins (Harvard School of Education), Charles Willie (Court Appointed Master for Desegregation), Mildred Reid (Jamaica Plain resident), and students at Brighton High School for the report. Vaillancourt's report also includes footage of students at Brighton High School, Jackson/Mann Elementary School, South Boston High School, and English High School. Christopher Lydon interviews in-studio guests Dr. Virgil Wood (Pond Street Baptist Church) and Dr. Helen Edmonds (Visiting Professor, MIT) about King's legacy and progress in the civil rights movement since King's death. Wood says that society has regressed in the areas of racism, war and poverty since the death of King. Wood and Edmonds talk about African American students at white universities. Wood and Edmonds discuss the gap between the African American middle class and the African American underclass. Callie Crossley (WGBH reporter) talks about her memories of King as a teenager growing up in Memphis, Tennessee. The newscast closes over footage of Stevie Wonder (pop singer) and Jesse Jackson (African American political leader) at a celebration in honor of King in Washington DC. Produced by Glanda Manzi. Directed by Heather Aveson.
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