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fb in black america reflections of the black experience in american society dr mary frances berry eloquent advocate of education april nineteen seventy seven to january of nineteen eighty eight he had a larger unit department of health education and welfare act very with a chief education official in the federal government erecting forty two hundred people and five divisions controlling an annual budget of twelve point eight billion dollars before she was appointed assistant secretary of a nineteen seventy seven back at barry with chancellor university of colorado today she is a member of the commission on civil rights professor of history a lot of the department of history at howard university in washington dc i'm jackie hanson and this week a focus on dr mary frances berry in black america there's a struggle going on in this country for the hearts and mann's of americans and that struggles
is where americans includes us other minorities women and the disadvantage what is that struggle that there are some people in washington who are in the saddle man who believed that their approach makes for a better america and they do believe that if they want to and that what they also believe that their approach it includes getting us to accept getting our history we're supposed to get slavery was both forget jim crow was supposed to forget continued discrimination was posted know our unemployment rate and where the blame ourselves for what is wrong and we ought to believe that if the economy gets better for example that means we will get better ob there's a difference of perception around in the country and there's a struggle for the hearts and mann's of all of us to make us believe that their approach to seeing things as the correct approach even though is a variance with our experience and it's important for young people important all of you will people middle aged people people like me who are in between to understand what is going on with that struggle
and i hope you do rely welcomes because of his vision which was always beyond the immediate it was a long before long commitment to the struggle poets what was ongoing and for his wisdom that if you learn that it will prevent younger generation from repeating some of the mistakes we've made in the past that area frances berry a former assistant secretary for education apart of health education and welfare back to barry earned her phd degree from the university of michigan in nineteen sixty six and graduated from the university's law school in nineteen seventy in practice on with it back to burn with chancellor of the university of colorado boulder and provence vision of behavior in social sciences university of maryland in college park she has taught at central michigan university eastern michigan university and the university of michigan a natural born educator has always want to be a scholar a teacher to do research and i've just
written and published reports the first in nineteen seventy one entitled black resistance fight long history of constitutional racism in america a second book entitled military necessity and so reiss policies like citizenship and the constitution eighteen sixty one to eighteen sixty eight like a very storybook and tired of stability security and continuity with the justice department and decision making supreme court looks at the high court decision simulations to blacken science in april of nineteen eighty president jimmy carter mounted a daring to the commission on civil rights the present time she is a professor of history a lot of the crime infested howard university i asked dr barry about opinion removal from the commission on civil rights well you know i'm not completely removed it yet because the senate has to confirm the president's a legal action for it to become a reality i think that the president having the temerity to announce that he was firing members of this commission
that means if he does not respect the independent nature of the commission or the law because the marvelously it is quite clear that this is an independent fact finding agency that's supposed to be a watchdog all the young men the rest of the government and the commissionaire since nineteen fifty seven then a watchdog to me if chris as presidents of members of congress in and it wasn't the goal of this was to do legally and for this president take personally and then you go out and try to clean sweep the commission for the announcer reason that a white house a political firings when people of the theological compatibility and it's insulting i think it's outrageous and it so the senate the senate or seven yard the republicans i don't know what they were street party land in order to defend it the president's action there are some republicans people in some of the fires white people don't fear factor that lonesome aren't there just hadn't i would hope
that others hear about the legality there is also the alternative some people have been looking at trying to enjoy the government taking this action if the senate insist on receiving stumbling grounds is not saving about jobs because we all have other jobs but that you can have an independent watchdog agency if it's not going to be an independent watchdog agency rights movement are the civil rights movement started almost at the beginning of blacks are likely to come into this country and you can trace throughout our history there were people the issues change there were people are going about slavery being wrong about free negroes being mistreated and nashville accommodations of jobs from the seventeenth century and the eighteenth century slave work or so the main struggle became try to make it a reality of all of the people who have been free to write to public accommodations and all the rest and
now the struggle is about trying to get the laws enforced that on the books that says we found out that we can just passed laws and the self and forcing other people of goodwill although and they swore to uphold a law called along with dr mann interpretations of the reason that its own civil rights need to run on gasoline been going on and it'll have to continue until we have full equality in the savvy quality of opportunity which we do not mean there's a whole range of actions with the justice department for example selectively enforcing the law across the board decided that since the president republican party platform don't like things like affirmative action which are the law don't like skin irritation wear gloves a blessing to have not vigorously enforce the voting rights act in the first place they didn't even support the reauthorization of a strong voting rights act now we see the dragon in the enforcement of all these things and so we got across a real crisis in
law enforcement that is going on in the country and it seemed to me that anybody who believe in enforcing the law what was insane writer and elder and respectful law would plan did important to have a president and the justice department is in two areas a federal role in education has been to do those things that either were in the national interest that in the interest of everybody in the country as opposed to just providing basic education with a state of civil war to take up responsibilities the state will implement various reasons for example since the nineteen sixties with bipartisan support republicans and democrats the government is undeterred taken to and monies to state and local budget for poor children's education so they can have expertise isn't extra help more time spent on tears to make up for the fact that many of them come from rangel was nobody around to teach a man who knew how to do things to make
up their governors provided start programs give churchill bills children extra chance before they go to school the federal government has provided some extra money to help mitigate here to get children yeah so that that won't be as much of a burden of state and local governments and higher education a whole massive program of giving aid so that you would be in a position of saying there's a student could've made it and put it on a college debate is limited resources and that has been the federal role in education to see to that there is equal opportunity and education and equal opportunity for a quality education now what we see is that the challenge to start out with the stock manipulators of the administration or the director saying that people don't have invited more the case and they can afford what does is completely contrary to all that we've learned this is nineteen sixty five about the importance of education and the importance of federal money so going into it and you had the administration every single year proposing cuts in education budgets to the congress and there like people learn nothing
from history congress has to restore the cuts make sure they come back with the same cuts in the budget and then everybody has to go to all the energy oh showing infighting and saying this that in fact that these cuts in the lakers it'll hurt those programs those equal opportunity programs which are ours a small part of the total national issue where important to many poor school districts that don't have the text their base support for the local but the center which despite my damn and to help children animals just for the federal minister and on what isn't being provided a family for latin a will be provided the state so that everybody has a chance at some kind of excellent quality education so they can be more productive we hear arguments it was both accept that alas we didn't then in fact we should not prevail and you have also the supreme court of the united states was just about two weeks ago the sad case what is absolutely disastrous to us
as black people is a case called guardians case and you probably don't know about it i hope you do a military burden when it involves some black police officers in new york city who claimed that they were discriminated against and promotion blacks and hispanics and therefore they want to promote so they prove the case and everything and they got to the supreme court with the case and the supreme court set for now law man in this case you can prevail by showing that blacks didn't get promoted before you can win the case but when you when you don't get any damages for the losses you suffer and what you get is a declaratory judgment that from now on the police department will do that animal they won't do it anymore and the only way you can get more than that is you have to prove that the police to probably intended to duty and that started which is called tidal six of the civil rights act of nineteen fifty four which forbids the use of federal money isn't any program to discriminate
you might've heard about in the bob jones case with tax exemptions an all or the supreme court of the united states in the guardian's say it's the first time that there have that you have to prove intent the probe the case and travel six and be able to get some hand of damages from and only two judges the senate from that view and those were posted just as marshall court thurgood and this justice why does to him which means that now we are in danger of having to prove intent under title six all the building and try and figure out what to do about that also so that's employment area so yeah nineteen sixty six men are told us what we needed fair housing legislation and and now there's a bill before the congress to do what role could say but instead the administration tag another that deal they come up with this thing and then tell us that it is a housing bill that has deep and we also stand up and applaud and tap dances they know how nice it is now yes
i'm going to say on the issue of politics to nineteen sixty six you talk about the right to vote and to run for office he said the protests oppression of free man and i had it and women as he meant there and their government are adjusted nineties these decisions are right to say no free man by the men of them the desecration of free men and women and their government billed as voters and as an honorable and cobbled and elected and appointed public servants is absolutely a priority for the naacp it is a priority for the naacp of course and all of us today and what has happened on the right to vote we've all that voter registration trends naacp has them on it seems to me for apple on their body else's head and voter registration drives and we have the justice department after our we know about the troubled people they'll trying to register heaven people asked them in some of these counties where he worked as your employer know you hear the register which is not required
and always is documented in a report that the civil rights commission did where we went out to talk to people in these areas off the registrar straw polls not office when they come in she does that a man and then they come in a red suit and glasses that apple launch know all having a polling place in a tall white large house where black don't go lesley's political blow all happened all registration we've got to go one plays well the unregistered was the one place where we have registered twice ah and in addition to the more sophisticated things like at large election system of single member districts to the loop of that black voting power yeah all that going on and we have to look at bread well susie assistant attorney general for civil rights comeback after that trip he made down in mississippi with jesse few weeks ago so i know a band was i know is blowing or mad at me all folks a nineteen seventy eight i went north carolina some evil to north carolina might remember this on his infamous
stretch well assistant secretary and i went around looked at all the black colleges and i had tv cameras follow me everywhere and newspaper people and everything and i looked at all the deficiencies the resources they didn't have the whatever whatever and then i went on a white man to white places and what about that is they didn't have and that this and that and compare our loudon alibaba north carolina who was either wednesday's main you know what the site at that happened to me had to say some sort of price went to a musical we will you do then we use it right so brent rebels fall the same number say happy when they came back all we've got to do something all and how blamed yes a football and the show it to him because my opinion is that i would as winston churchill said about were were two when he made a pact with soviet russia to save england and people say why you know when it is that would make a pact with the devil himself to save british empire so
i wonder will see the devil himself to try to get some people either people and then in the desert island all some way to try to get him a couple lot with tuition tax credits and a different history our year since the supreme court decision in the minnesota case want to suggest kids' with rats that they're ok if they're given to public and private school if the tax credit were inactive that gave extra money to build a school he's at the same plant that people it might not be a threat i've seen in about the proposing that extra resources being be given over and above what's going now for our publication the iranians that the start of that tuition tax credit is so ridiculous on the sequester they are not enough anymore all the children were public schools than even enough to respect for most of the children in public schools and especially not to absorb most of the board black children who live public school in those
larger cities and catholic schools especially of their many many black children some have more black children of the last parents seeking to find a place where the children in local schools abed now be another holmes to begin to the value added tax of any amount to absorb all of those children and when people think about the next to his investors a private bank played family to send their child to some quality private school that somewhere they don't know where it is but they don't realize it's not enough and two you don't create quality private schools overnight and that private schools do not take all the children but the state and that is that forcing them to the name on the private anymore they also realize that they complained that public schools and teachers people like their shadow understand that of all the schools immediately overnight became private unions before have already settled organizers see just you can in fact i was talking to like thirty cents or children to private school and loose weapons scraped had the sentiment of
the schools and the naval vessel back and she says she was offered tax credits and so i asked her if it meant bed there would be no extra money permits weren't going to public schools and then in their bodies might be cut which is still before as he said certainly nothing keep their tax credit because i don't want the public schools to be worse than they are and i'm sentimental total school and i'm not even catholic because i think the schools are better but they're still not be able to go in public schools now be better about it and so as they get a message to his intense critical paulson it's all these things into account it would now in the bad public space to be bad for education in the basics of early seventies a lot of this is across the country thousand for desegregation now obvious emphasis though on the court is at the reagan administration justice department isn't only added to the we had a lot of problems with the scooby serious and in some places because it didn't do what we all thought it was going to do lot of it just to get displaced
and principles of loss of jobs and we know my remedy that problem still some of est of loans to be serious in which we shouldn't because the achievement levels would like to hire the segregated schools now because in a long black man in the segregated schools or health and elsewhere but the justice department posture it is there it will make agreements voluntary agreements the city knows that dissertation knows a voluntary if we had voluntary associations work we would already there the surface of the lake a bit about the city's schools it's all part of their posture not really interested in they say that incident is there is winston quality but look to see what they've done every single lot of education the product what are some the case that have come before the commission to agree to serve you in nineteen eighty five a lot of that is disturbing one of things it disturbs me is a lack of enforcement on voting rights baghdad there are many communities
is documented in a nineteen eighty one record called voting rights and field goals where those profits and even revenue and the justice department knows about them because the report was sent to them before it was issued an act it was issued loans that they don't know and we'll back recently to check and some of those jurisdictions we found such things as our registration office opening one folks got their hands on but to get there would open and then it would close about an hour to get it was razed the city of alliance of its stars as in people where they work because their employer know that their registration doesn't require having polling places would in the polling place show right before the election on having a place blacks goal ever have on some private club somewhere in addition to the more sophisticated ways of eluding the black vote like changing from the district election system for their part system and the justice department has done an absolutely terrible job in terms of enforcement that area and even after removal some point for this city where he worked with jackson and
reconstructed still did not have adequate force and so for the voting is the key to unlocking all these other things the education housing you talked about there is discrimination there a standard form of action could fix power well funded what affirmative action is is imposing merit standards were no merit standards existed for four i mean baghdad is in the old days before the civil rights act we and employers will just say no blacks who planned the grocery cart led to white coats flat which obviously white males to compete among themselves and get the job obviously there were no merit stand is his narrative that everybody flat and then you pick the best person now we have his merits than their banking plan and his boast that their first affirmative action people don't like if they would meet hannah unqualified people there's nothing in the
law rules regulation that says the sometimes affirmative action burdensome to white males as a group not as individuals because certainly relate to compete among themselves for the job then they have to worry about and they'll say have they now have to compete with other people there are sure there are fewer of them that they can get what they were you think that's unfair not depends on whether you are one of the people who's been deprived up the opportunity in the pants to one of the people who live in fact is getting the opportunity now his grades particular problems when places where they have started hiring blacks you have to have layoffs and whites of that seniority because they get the out years ago they didn't have to compete with anybody say well you know we should be laid out we had more seniority well be it supposed to benefit a person who was had without competing against the poor people do worked there all that sam harrel layoff of newly hired workers who were disadvantaged that he did even if you're black it's not an easy situation
but clearly if the law has to choose between a beneficiary of that situation in a prison was wounded land is jewish is not a big prison to use even before the return of boycotts and marches i think that we should use every single strategy or tactic we have used throughout our history all together all as many as fast as we can and that when we have leaders of organizations and groups that promote one tactic or another what we should do to support each other and that criticize each other and understand that you did not win a battle or war just one strategy effective as a role for audiences dr mary frances berry a former assistant secretary of education with the department of health education and welfare and a member of the commission on civil rights if you have a common all right approaches a cassette copy of his brother cried us who dresses in black america for longhorn radio network austin texas seven eight seventh one to when black america's
technical would elicit water morgan i'm jackie hanson join us next week but you've been listening to in black america reflections of the black experience in american society in black america and just not necessarily reflect the views of the university of texas in austin this is radio network
In Black America
Dr. Mary Frances Berry
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former assistant secretary for education, Professor of Law and History at Howard University
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Race and Ethnicity
University of Texas at Austin
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Copyright Holder: KUT
Guest: Mary Frances Berry
Host: John L. Hanson
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Chicago: “In Black America; Dr. Mary Frances Berry,” 1983-10-01, KUT Radio, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 8, 2023,
MLA: “In Black America; Dr. Mary Frances Berry.” 1983-10-01. KUT Radio, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 8, 2023. <>.
APA: In Black America; Dr. Mary Frances Berry. Boston, MA: KUT Radio, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from