Say Brother; Older Members of the Black Community
Say Brother is a program by, and for, and about the black community. [jazzy music] [jazzy music] [singing] If there was ever a man who was generous, gracious, and good, then my dad a man. If things were true, he could live like a king 'cause he knew. The real pleasure in life. To be beholden to and always stand by me. [music fades]
Okay. Okay, tell me. Do you think that governmental agencies are doing enough to help retired people? No, I don't think that. I've- far as I can see, I don't see anything that's- really hasn't been done, you know, to help, you know, the older black people, you know, they don't have any, you know, really good form of transportation, houses, or nothing for the old people in Roxbury. What do you think the younger people in the community can learn from our elders? Well, first of all I think the younger people - from the older people can learn how- basically, how to discipline themselves. Respect the- you know, people- as people, you know, from older people, you know. Learn how to, you know, be a man or a woman, you- Good evening. Tonight, Say Brother will present the talent and thoughts of older members of the black community. We feel that much of the credit for the existence and development of the black community today belongs to our senior citizens. Despite their many contributions, over
50 percent of the senior citizens in the United States live below the poverty line. The large majority live on fixed incomes, which are not automatically adjusted to meet the constant rising cost of living. During the show, we'll be in the community talking to Charles Moore and other senior citizens who will share their insights and understanding of one another. We'll also be listening to the poetry of ?Bishop Curtin and the musical artistry of Rolline Evans?. In the studio with me this evening, are ?Mrs. Melner Cass, Mrs. Lomita Boston,? and Ralph ?Banks.? How you all doin'? Fine. It's good to have you here. Nice to be here. Mutual. It's always good to have some of our elders on the show. Thank you very much, ?Taco.? Glad to be appreciated. Yes, indeed. It's good to have you here. I always believe that you have a lot to teach us, particularly younger people. Well, we should. It's nice to when they recognize it. Okay.
Sometimes they don't. Before we start, I just want to ask you about the - a recent award I understand that you got, Mrs. Cass. Yes, I was honored, greatly honored, and surprised by the American Mother's Committee, which is a national group, and they chose me for the Massachusetts Mother of the Year for 1974. Wonderful, that's wonderful. So I'm gonna represent all of you. And a very grand affair in May at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York along with 5- all the other 52 mothers from all over the country. Aww. That's beautiful. You're gonna represent all the mothers. When you say all of us, you mean all of mothers. I'm gonna represent all of you. Represent all the mothers, blacks and white mothers. Okay, okay, okay. Don't make a difference who they are. I'll represent them all. Sure. That's right. Well, you- certainly- you certainly are the mother of the black community here, boss. I mean, there's no question about that. Well, thank you, Taco. Okay, let me ask you a question. You're saying you're gonna represent all of the mothers here, right? I am. I'm gonna represent all of the mothers. Got you. One of the things we want to talk about today are some of the programs that exist for
senior citizens in the community. I'm wondering if any one of you would like to talk about that. Well, we have amall- annulled them. We're doin' different things, you know, and raising money. And so they can take trips and things, and have - we're having a fashion show in May. And we're doing different things and have the - we have desires. Things raising money. And get around, see the wonderful sick who can't get out, and help. We have quite a group. I see. I belong to two. I belong to the one at my church and one in my building. But you live in Malden. I live in Malden, yeah. Do they have any housing programs or food programs in Malden? Yes, yeah. And they have a- you can call up, and they'll come and get you, and take you to meals all day, and bring it to you. 50 cents and- I haven't tried, but my friends do and it's very good. I've seen it. Very good. Yeah. What kinds of programs do you know of, Mrs. Cass? Well, we have the programs
under Title 7 and Title 3 of the Federal Act, which gives us a nutrition program. We get the money. We're really a council of elders I represent as an Organization funded by Model Cities. We have, in that, the Meals on Wheels that Miss Boston spoke of, which are delivered to people who [are] shut in, and new to the program, as group feedings which we're going to bring the isolated, shut in elderly into a place where they can eat with the others once a day. We feel a good many live in rooms where they don't have facilities to cook, so we're really focusing on them this time to bring them into a group setting and get their meal, and then have some other kind of recreation. along with it. We also have in the Council of Elders the home care, that's a homemaker. We have about 120 who go into the homes throughout the Model Cities area, take care of the needs of the elderly, chores for them such as keep the place clean, cook them a meal if they can't get out of the door and do it themselves.
And sort of be the caretaker or custodian of an elderly person who's shut in. Those are two programs that I'm very proud of in my area." "Mr. Banks are you aware of any programs that currently serve the elderly?" "Well, I'm afraid that I am very much out of place in that area. I am a senior citizen by age. I can't escape that. Time, it's caught up with me so that I qualify as a senior citizen. That's the only qualification I have, unfortunately, for this group. Naturally I am, not only in sympathy, but I'm very much concerned with the lot of my other senior citizens. Anything I can do, or any help I can give, I'm always available. I want to go on record. But as any active participation, I am...
I don't consider myself a senior citizen really, because I am still engaged in activities which I pursued before I was a senior citizen. So, I'm afraid I can't be of much help in that score, Right now. I have my ideas. As I see it, he says how he's being treated now, and how they were treated in the past, and how they should be treated. But as to their programs, I'm satisfied that they're very well qualified hands. These ladies and their associates, I know the work they're doing. They're doing wonderful work. They're going to the rest homes, they're going to the Veterans facilities. They go into the schools. And they are always available for ?and call.? In fact, Well, no, I better not say what I had in my mind - sometimes they're too well-qualified. [laughter] Sometimes they are resented because they do such a fine
job. [Other speaker in background, laughing: "That's right, Tim."] And even though I, myself, have not gotten into it, I can find comfort and consolation, by saying that the better half [Other speaker: "...is doing..."] has got herself involved as far as she is allowed to be. That's all I have to say on that." "Mrs Cass, do you think that there are, in fact, enough programs out there for elderly people now?" "No, there are not enough, Topper. There's so much more that could be done for them, particularly by our government. In fact, at this present time, in the administration we're under now, they have been very disappointing to elderly citizens all over the country. I'm a member of the National Council of Senior Citizens, three million who are organized to get better legislation and who were responsible for getting Medicare, and who are responsible for getting the SSI, which is supplementary Social Security income, added to what they had – which is a
pittance for what we asked for. But this government has taken particular pains to cut down a lot of the benefits that should come to the elderly people, things that we thought we had. And particularly now there's one program called the Senior Aides. That pays the elderly person a little money while they do something with senior citizens. It could be recreation or they could be outreach or whatever, that program was cut almost in half, so a good many of these elderly who are retired could pick up just a little bit of money to help, as you said, with this income which is so small. And those are the kinds of things that we are out in the legislative area to try to stop or to try to improve. We have a wonderful legislative committee here in Massachusetts under Frank Manning, I know you've heard of him, who really is a friend in Massachusetts. [other speaker: "Mhmm, who's good."] And every state has organized in that type of way to legislatively, that's the only way we're going to get anything, put forth the effort
to change and to bring about better conditions to clean housing. There's not enough housing for elderly. They live in housing developments which are outmoded as far as they are concerned. They need the newer type of housing. True we've got some more in Roxbury, you know, lately, but we need so many more types of housing units that we could live in and be comfortable, and be there with the things that we didn't have when we were younger such as elevators to take you up when you can hardly walk up a flight of stairs, such as the safety things that are in there when you get into your tub or your shower and all kinds of protections. We need those things as we grow older because physically we've grown weaker and these things should make up for it. But our government turns their head the other way. And so we really have to organize, which we have politically to fight it, and it's on the way. We're going to get it. So we're out to do it, and it's all senior citizens. Mr. Banks here has been a forerunner in legislation and he knows good and well what it means to
fight for anything. He's been one of our pioneers in legislation in my area. So when that legislation comes through, we have people like that who're perhaps not right in the senior citizens' little group but are supporters of the movement, and that's what you need, and we do have that." "Ms. Boston, could you talk about some of the things you'd like to see happen for senior citizens' programs or any ideas you might have?" "Well, I will. We're organizing a group to go into the different homes, you know, and see what they need. Because in Malden, they have about five or six places they have built, and they have elevators, and they have the bars, like she says in the bathroom and different places, the emergency bell. We have emergency bell near the bed. It's a long cord. You have to take it, you're supposed to pin it on your bed at night. You go to the bathroom, they got one in the bathroom when you take a bath, you're supposed to bring it over in case that something happens. Our It's pretty well organized. We have ?Lucy.? They have five buildings they have put
up. And they're very well equipped. But you know, there's a very few [unclear] in there. They won't go. They won't go." "Why do you think they won't go?" "Well, I don't know what it is. I don't know what it— but they don't keep them out. They had, when they put up the other place in ?Maple? they begged them. To get some to go in. They won't go. But they have one development, the city has, down on New Orleans Street and ?all of a street.? And they put up and tear they're up and down. If you want, you know, you got children, you get two and three bedrooms, and they charge you for what you make, say, and a lot of them are down there. ?That's Elda.? They will come in the other place. We begged them, we've gone to see them, but they said they're satisfied where they are. Yep." "Mr. Banks, why- why do you think elderly people have problems? I mean, that may sound like a very simple question, but, you know, why is it that elderly people still have to fight for housing or for nutritional programs?" "Well, I tell you, in my opinion, the reason they have to fight
[is] because they are considered to be an un-organized minority. And I feel that as the elderly people become better organized and use the talents which are still theirs, they will receive many more benefits and much more recognition. Now, when I say the talents which are theirs: I think the majority of the senior citizens have their abilities — their mental abilities, their faculties. They can write. They can use the telephone. Now, they can take their pen in hand and write to the editors. These newspapers, especially the Globe, where I would say especially the Globe, the Globe and Herald. They can write to their congressmen and senators. They also can take part on these talk programs. In other words, they've, we have got to begin to try to influence the
media more. Now, they can become more involved in the TV programs like this program, and I commend you for this move you're making. But I must say this, though. As I understand, this program is supposed to take into consideration the way things used to be. In my day, a lot of the O person. [other speaker: "Poor, yeah"] was terrible, deplorable. They were shoved to one side. They were, as a rule, ?one would say as? really quite often they were a liability to the family. Quite often they would be put in the old folks home or the poor house. In other words, when they got to be a certain age, after they retired, they were just tolerated. The next step for them was the grave. That's not the way now. The senior citizens now are recognized as seniors by age, and citizens still, and they are given many projects to work on.
They are recognized as human beings. And why compared to where it used to be, it's wonderful, isn't it, ladies? [other speakers: "Yes, indeed." "Very well."] But, we can't be satisfied. No, by no means. And, your question was, what was your question?" Why. Why do you think there are people even who still have problems in our society?" Well, I don't think they have any more problems. I'm the average person, I don't have problems. And the reason they have problems is because life is full of problems, but I don't think they have any problems that they can't solve themselves, that we can't solve ourselves, by working together, by using the intelligence and the talents which we have, and by being active, becoming involved. Now, I think another thing, too, about the older people. We have certain assets which they can't take away from us. We have been over the road. And we have the experience which is in great need ?to do. The people.? Now
we've got to find ways to impress the young people that we have what they need. I don't think we should try to dominate them, by no means. But we must make them realize that they, being in the position in which they are now, where they are being recognized, where they have good educations, where they're making their own thing as they say, is a result of what we did in our younger days. And they must realize that we have fought hard in this country, in this state, from the ?PC phrases?. That was no easy battle." "What is the FEPC?" "Fair Employment Practice..." [other speaker: "Now it's a Massachusetts commission."] "Ah, right. This, is yes, that's it. We have fought hard to have Attucks' Day recognized as it should have been, as a day of great history where the first blood shed in the American Revolution was that of a Black man, Curtis Attucks. [Speaker mistaken; it's Crispus Attucks.] We had to fight hard for that! We had
we had to. Everything that is of any consequence, which the young people benefit from, we had to fight hard. We had to fight hard to get the first Black nurse in the city hospital. [Other speaker: "That's right."] We had to fight hard to get recognition here, and the civil service here, right here in this state. Where, if you were colored they would send out three names. And you would be the top of the list. And they'd send out three names. You, and two whites. They would pick one of three. They never picked you. You keep going down. And I know of one case where they had, it was a job for a foreman. In the Public Works Department. They had one name left. Then they hadn't nobody left but this black man, a fellow named Scott Wooburn. So what did they do? They dug up a white fellow who was disqualified. And they put him on the list, and they made him the new foreman. ?Shradha? go up to the state house and ?he over the border.?
?...newspaper...? And they reinstated him. (Other speaker, laughing: "I remember Trotter.") And they reinstated him. Now they don't know about those things, the things which we fought for, and they must know about it and it'll give them inspiration and courage. And they must also learn what we also have learned through the years - that you've got to use your head and not use your mouth so much. You've got to use patience. Now I've got a saying, which I guess they get sick and tired of my saying this around the house. I say that when you've got your head in the lion's mouth... [other speaker: "You've gotta ?use it up?"] No, I don't say that. You don't pull his tail. No, no. If you do, chop. He'll cut your head right off. What you do, You pull his teeth, one by one. You use your head and pull his teeth. Then you get all his teeth pulled, then you can pull his tail. [Laughter. Other speaker "I've heard that before."] That's ?what it is?, though. That's what we do. Older people, we know that we have the Constitution and Bylaws, now, the Constitution and the laws of the state, which guarantee us full justice and equality. And we have the Bill of Rights.
And that is for all American citizens. We are American citizens. Now it was up to us to make the young people realize that working on that basis. Those who oppose this have are on the losing side. They can't win. That's number one. Number two, our enemies. They hate the spotlight. It didn't get us in the corner. We have bit our heads off. Quite often. But, if it took us in a corner to try to blow the head off, and all by the publicity is thrown on them, trying to get our heads off, they'll desist. Well. And the publicity is the spotlight. If we are being done wrong we've got to make a lot of noise. We got to let the papers know about it. We got to get the NAACP and all the rest of them into the act. And while that's enough for my talk. I don't want to--" "How many years young are you, Mr. Banks?" "I am 73 years young.
And next month I'll be 74 years young, actually. And one great force which entered my life was ?William Ango Trotter?. There was a man who was born with a spoon in his mouth, a silver spoon, and he died a poor man who sacrificed, sacrificed. How many leaders do you find like that these days? Most of them are born poor. And they get fat jobs. And we lose them. [Other speaker "right we do"] We lose them and we cart them around here. I'm not blaming them. Everybody- it's survival. Survival. We need dedicated leaders. We need intelligent leaders. Where are they? Well, I got more ammunition, but I don't want to. I don't want to dominate it. [laughter] "My girlfriend and I, we wanted to go in the hospital, a city or any hospital, well they will let us, you know, to be a nurse. That's right. Yes. And ?Dr. Golland? had a hospital on the-- [overlapping voices] and he had the hospital going and he couldn't get enough to
support it. So he had to close up, you know. But he was a good doctor and so was ?Dr. Robbins? ?Dr. Robinson? was one of the biggest doctors on ?my master?. ?And so was Dr. Go.? And so I remember, remember, oh,yeah, I know what I mean. Sure. So we helped Dr. Garland out, you know, right there. But he didn't have the facilities and enough money to go along, he couldn't get certified. He couldn't get certified. [Other person "Yes"] And so on in prejudice they said the hospital, you couldn't go in. You know so far. And one of your courses, your last six months I'd been living in the hospital, but you were black, ?would you?. See." "No, one thing just came up that I don't like, I'm I'm very popular in certain places because I say what I believe is right. But on the other hand I believe everybody has the same privilege. And I'm always, I've been on these. Most times I'm wrong. But too many times in the past, our people have tried to assume positions and
authority for which they were not qualified. Now, if you're qualified ?speech? today there are plenty of positions into which you can enter and be respected and receive good pay. But in the old days, there weren't too many times they were qualified. That's true. I'm going to say, I won't say it was, it was their fault. But when it comes to going to the higher techniques such as in the hospital where you deal with people's lives, where you have to know what you're doing, you can't get by by saying, well, I'm black. And I am-- there's no one else around who is in this field. Let me in and you're gonna have some representation because I'm black. No. We want representation because we're qualified, not because we're black. We want these jobs because we are qualified. We want the opportunity. Now you notice that in the fields where there are the greatest opportunities,
we are way out in front. Take the sports. World cup competition. We don't care about the competition. We welcome it. If we can't make it, shame on us. Protect the sports where we are qualified. I don't need to say anything more. Look at the sports, all right. [Other speaker] The bond with that there are other areas, I mean medicine, science." "So what we've got--" "I agree with him on that." I haven't had a fight for first place is because said, get the education, and that's why these bigots are scared of us, these bigots, I won't say where they're located. You know when Mississippi is here in Massachusetts, you know it is here in Boston. They're scared of us. They shouldn't be scared of us. We don't wish them any harm. We want the same things they want. We want a country, a land, we want any city or state where we all may live in peace together and be able to make a contribution because we're here for service where we could all live in peace and harmony and contribute to the common good. Work together,
because of our color, but we don't want any ghettos out there. ?I wish I were there.? ?Blackamoor there are other Gallo's? of any kind we should have in any ghettos because that's against the American principle. There was a time they used to call this country the melting pot. What happened to it? We have little ghettoes. And that's contrary to the spirit of democracy." "Well, I will tell you one thing. We shouldn't have people -- the blame for a lot of -- governments don't make themselves. People make it, you know what I mean? Let me tell you something. I'm in around Dorchester because my girl lives there. Now, those people could get together and keep the streets clean and keep their trash picked up. I don't care who they are. When we were kids coming up in Malden, Friday, Saturday you picked up your yard and kept it cleaned. That's right. You come down the street, that place was clean. Your mother cooked. There was no such thing as being poor. We were rich in a way because our mothers made bread, cookies, and everything. But you had to clean that house, you had to keep your yard clean. You get your dresses ready Friday and Saturday for
Sunday and for the week. These kids today, you know what, they have so much money they don't know what to do with it. They're not taking care of it." "Whose fault is that?" "Can I ask you a question, Ms. Cass? What advice would you have to give some of your younger brothers and sisters, you know, about the future? I mean you've passed our way before. What kind of advice do you have to give?" "Well, the only thing I would say to them is, first of all I want to tell them they're living in the era in which they really can make it, as you all say. There's no reason why you can't make it. But you first have to make up your mind to make it. You can't go out with a defeatist attitude saying "Oh well, I can't get anything, I'm black, and I can't get this and I can't get that." That was once, I must say, years ago, we felt that way because we saw it taken, you know, a picture movement. But today a youngster has an opportunity if he wishes to develop himself to look forward to the
future as a bright, hopeful, future. America is here in all of its opportunities. They grasp them. They say they're determined that they'll get them. It's up to them. They have to be determined. They have to not sit by and just wait to see who is going to bring them something and give it to them, get out and see what's there. See where they fit in. Prepare yourself for it and get it. And there's no reason they can't get it today. There's enough laws on the books. They are intimidated. We've got enough laws on the books from the federal government to the state that should back them up in their search if they are ready and prepared. But you can't go in and say I can do anything. That day is gone because nobody is doing anything. You've got to do something and you've got to be prepared for it. I say first get your education. Make up your mind you're going to get what you want, set your goal real high and get it. And there's no reason why they can't." "OK." "I believe that." "I want to, I want to thank everybody for coming today." "One minute, I got something to say about that too, about
bringing up your children. Parents can boast about bringing up their children because it's very-- if your children come out, how you want them to be you can only thank God for it because there's conditions that you can never tell what they can be confronted with. But there's certain things that parents should do with their children. In my opinion from my experience, In the first place a child should first recognize who he is, who he or she is. They should realize who she is. That's very important. And I think a lot of people don't realize who they are. Now I'm no minister. I don't pretend to be a minister, but I do believe that one of our great weapons and the reason we've been so successful is that we had our foreparents and we who have any good sense realize that we are children of God. That's number one. I think children, should realize that they are children of God and God is with them and with God no one can stop them.
Nobody can stop them and no matter what field they go into, whether it's in sports or whether it's in the schools, as long as they would go out and do what God wants them to do, they can't be stopped. That's number one. Number two. We have been so misguided and so foolish to allow people to hold us back and make us ashamed of our color. Who made me black. I'm not black, but they can be black. OK. OK. It goes by name. Names, not just Who made me what I am today? God made me what I am. If he wanted me to be white he would have made me white. If he wanted to be yellow, he would have made me yellow. If he wanted me to be black, he made me black, so-called. Why should I contend with God as to why he made what I am? He made me what I am because he had a certain job for me to do as I am, with this color. And that's up to me to be able to do that job, to be of service to mankind as he made me. And that's another thing I think the children should realize.
Another thing they should realize is that the reason they're on this earth is to be of service to mankind. Anything that we have -- this chair. The carpet. Everything on this earth created is to be of service. Right. And man it made to be of higher service. And we should realize that we are here to be of service to our fellow man and by being serviceable I mean this, that we should always try to treat people right, try to help them, and do the best we can to make things smooth for everybody, and make this world a better world. Well, than it was when we came in here, and the only way we can do that is to become educated, and educated means able to lead out. We are leading ourselves out of the darkness of ignorance. Ignorance is the greatest curse of mankind. We have been, we are leading ourselves out of the tunnel of ignorance into the light of truth. That's what we should seek, the truth. And that's what I would tell these young people, I could keep on talking about this
but that's enough. Those are the basics" "Very good, very positive. That's right." "I hope people in our audience really can relate to that content." "I hope they can" "Thank you. Thank you for coming." "Thank you for having us here." "We'll have you back." "It's very nice to be here with you." "OK. Thank you." "Can't move 'till he tells you." "Spring. Awake. Awake. Arouse yourselves. Spring is here. The rustling of Earth's natural gears fills the air. The birds, the bees, the fields, the flowers, the swaying of the leafy boughs, the Ivy claims as mortar towers. Spring is here. Ploughshares toil the fertile soil. Spring is here. In ?GLI the ploughmen onward Claude? without a care. To see time. Soon the sprouts
will shoot. Grass plucked rudely by their roots. Harvest time we shall soon salute 'cause spring is here. Young lambs oer the meadows roam, spring is here. Sleepy brewing hunger struck quits his lair. Yearlings camp across the glen. Amblin hares oer moreland fen. ?Tony Lyons Pearn? there. Then when spring is here. Rivulettes cast off their bonds. Spring is here. Fountains sparkles. Streamlettes run. All so fair. Blow the breezes through the pine. Childrens' gardens, we shall twine skipping oer a leafy line. Spring is here. Nightingale and blue bluebirds at trail. Spring is here. Fancy the hearts each other thrill without fear.
Playful doves flit and coo. Robins soar aloft and to woo sunbeams kiss the morning dew. Spring is here. The captain ? to his ship.? Our ship was sailing smoothly upon a placid sea. The course was set that evening by good old Captain Lee. The ship was old but sturdy. It had sailed the seven seas, had rescued scores of sailors setting them ?allow? at ease. The lovely moon was shining. It has shed its silvery sheen upon the pale blue waters. It was a rich compelling scene. The passengers were strolling along the triple decks. The diners were vacated.
So was the huge annex. Then suddenly out of the Northeast a swirling wind arose. The scene changed completely. Just why, nobody knows. The angry waves rolled madly. They lashed the gallant ship pounded at her aft and forward, slapping just like a wit. The storm raised unabating away into the night. The captain and his crewmen had fought a gallant fight. They were all men of vigor. They knew not of despair. Their hearts were the stoutest timber which heavy burdens bear. Ahoy came from the lookout. Aye Aye, the captain said. I see a flickering starlight in the distance overhead. Great God, exclaimed the captain. Tis the ruler of this force who has sent his morning herald. To keep us on our course. The
swirling wind has subsided. The sea returned to calm and captain, crew, and tourists enjoyed the oceans' balm. The battered ship sailed smoothly but her captain's voice was hoarse from shouting to his crewmen, We shall not change her course. So likewise on life's journey, great storms there shall be. Her Pilgrims must press onward they never cease to plea to him who made the sunrise and sunset day and night. Who leads his weary children on to eternal light." "Tell me, do you feel that you think it's our responsibility to support the older people once they become old?"
"Very much. It just is our responsibility to be responsible for other members of society. You know. We're all going to get old at some point in time and I believe that, you know, most older folks generally are somewhat wiser, and, in life as a whole, and they have gone through things that, you know, that we have not experienced. And I think it's that can be used as very much of a kind of a transition for younger folks to to kind of be in tune to, the various changes especially now because change is coming so rapidly. There is a lot of stress that's coming with this, and I think the elderly can be very instrumental in kind of easing that pain that goes along with transitional time." "Do you think governmental agencies do enough for the retired people?" "No. You know, in my opinion, no they don't. They don't do enough for the older people. You know, they should get more money, they should have better living quarters, the whole thing." "Tell me, do you feel it's your responsibility to help support them, once they do
become older?" "No, I don't. I feel that the government should do it. I know all the taxes that they have to pay until they reach 65. You know. And they just don't give them enough, you know, to live on." "Thank you very much. Do you think that the governmental agencies are doing enough to help retired people?" "No. No. No. Why. They seem to pay more attention to what is going on around than taking care of the old people. So yeah, I think, if somebody comes. A 5 year old, right, I would I would like you to be taken good care of. I mean when you're young you can walk, but when you are old, you are weak. And there's nothing you can do. And you need some help from somebody. And if you can't get it, I mean, you'll be in bad shape." "Thank you very much." "You're very welcome." "What do you think about parents moving into maybe your house after they become elders?"
"Well I'll put it this way. You know. My mother she's about 54 years old now and if it came to a point where she didn't have any place to go, you know, to live, I'd much prefer her to be with me or either one of my sisters, you know, taking care of her than put her in a home or something like that. because I think basically this is what's been happening too long and a lot of the older people, when they come to a certain age the first thing people want to do is push them over or, you know, aside, put them in a nursing home or some type of factory like that." "Do you think governmental agencies do enough to help retired people." "Not at all. I think one thing one has to consideration in so far as the number of elderly programs that have come about or the extent of the elderly program has come about in the relatively short period of time. The elderly have been traditionally looked at as second-class citizens. They have not been looked at as productive members of society
after they have reached retirement. And one reason that you hear so much about the elderly now is that they have organized themselves." "Do you feel it is our responsibility to take care of our elders?" "Yes ma'am. I believe in that one hundred percent. And I think it's time for us as people begin to basically, begin to look more towards helping each other because you know all through, you know, history, you know, peoples, black people especially, you know, have been, you know, closer knit together, you know what I mean. So I think basically it has come to the point where actually that the black man in particular you know has to begin to more or less move and are forced to look in and take care of his own because if we don't take care of ourselves, nobody is going to take care of us." "81,759 senior citizens live in Boston comprising 12.8 percent of the total city population. 20 percent of the elderly living in the city live below the poverty line. A study done at
Brandeis stated that 40 percent of the elderly who are in nursing homes have no medical basis for their being there." "Mr. Moore, can you describe the kinds of medical and income programs the federal and state government provide for elder citizens?" "In this new supplementary income the federal government has allowed 130 dollars for the individual. In some states this is much higher than what they had been previously receiving. In Massachusetts it is lower. But our state is making sure that no one will receive any less than what they have received previously. We also, as far as money goes I think, pay our old age recipients far more than the majority of the states in this country. Last year, at least when the Social Security increase was given to the people, we were able to see those
people on old age assistance and so forth were able to keep at least 12 dollars of Social Security increase. Previous to that if they got an increase in Social Security, the welfare and other institutions of this nature would deduct that amount from what they were previously getting. So its results in they give to them with one hand and take it away with the other, which as far as old people are concerned, is quite a hazard. But I say we have accomplished that. Another big first, as far as old people's concerned in this state, is the creation of the department of elder affairs. This is the first in the country where the old people have a cabinet post in the government itself. In this state here the department of Elder Affairs is run by Jack Left. One of the biggest things that's come out of that is this home care corporation idea. This is to keep old people in their homes rather than putting them in nursing homes or hospitals. And it's been found that
too many old people are in these places because there's no place else for them anymore. Quite often all they require is a slight attention, a little bit of care, possibly somebody to come in to cook a food for them, make a bed, do a little sweeping, things of this nature which are minute but which the individuals themselves can't do that." "What kinds of problems do senior citizens face in trying to find adequate housing in the community?" "Well in this city originally not too far ago, there was a tremendous influx of students. The two colleges bought up a lot of private dwellings and the result was that old people couldn't compete in the market for the prices that they were receiving. So it became very acute here in Cambridge. We fostered quite a demonstration of spotlight on this. MIT went and has produced three housing units. They also produce housing for their students on campus and we have in
construction now in the central square a tower for the elderly which should be completed in about a year and a half or two years, which altogether will provide housing for about a thousand elderly people. This has relieved the pressure here in Cambridge but of course in a city where there's about 18,000 elderly in all walks of life it doesn't answer it entirely." "Mr. Moore, you're active in trying to change the quality of life for elder citizens of the community for the better. How do you spend your day?" "Yes I received a call yesterday from a lady, an aged lady, she's 74. She's in difficulty with- her husband is quite ill. She herself has quite a number of ailments and she hasn't had a reply from her requests from SSI. I am going up to her house this afternoon to talk with her to get a little more detail rather than what I received over the telephone. And with this information I will then go with her or if she
can't make it go without her to the Social Security office and find out why they haven't acceded to her request. Again with the Council itself doesn't do anything of this nature, but we refer them to the agency that does, or if we can we go there with them because a lot of times people are a little bit nervous going into an office of that nature and somebody they can relate to bolsters them up and they can talk freely. On transportation, which is one of the big things as far as older go, we've been very deep in that. We have succeeded in having a minibus going through routes where there was practically no transportation whatsoever. And we are yelling and shouting that on the regular bus that first step is quite arduous for old people to climb up on. And we're talking with the MBTA if there is some way they could have a temporary step that could be folded up when not in use but be lowered for when older people come on."
"What are your impressions on how society relates to the elderly?" "In the culture that we live, it's a waste culture. You buy, it you use, it you throw it away, but you can't do that with people. I don't think in this country here we're going to follow Hitler's example and put old people in ovens. But old people are here, and they must be-- the whole country must reshape its thinking and realize that old people are just a part of life." "Do you think the values in our society prepare young people for the stage of their lives we call old age?" "Definitely no. Actually what needs to be done is a revolution in education. We have to re-educate our educators. We have to re-educate our judges, our lawyers. The problem with old people-- the enemy of old people isn't youth. It's middle age. Youth is climbing. They're trying to push the middle age out so they can occupy that space. The middle aged tenaciously
hold on to their position and they have the old idea that they're indispensable, and that's not true in life. No we must change our whole concept on aging and look at it as an inevitable process of living. As it is now, old age-- Let me go back just a second. I have said this previously. The Madison Avenue boys line the streets of life with mirrors so that as we walk along it all we see is reflected youth. But there comes a point on that street where the mirrors no longer exist and suddenly we're into old age, and too many of us are unprepared for it. Another facet of that is the thinking of our country is something like the ostrich. Old age is something they do not want to consider. So they put their head in the ground, and they think they push it away, but it exists. It's a fact of life. So that instead of looking at old age as something abnormal,
the schooling and thinking of everybody should be changed atop the fact that it is just a result of being alive. It's going to take a complete revolution in education, in our schools, beginning in the grammar schools right on through, to reverse the thinking that old age is something that you don't want. It's the end of the line. That old people are not so good, they should be ignored as much as possible or if they are not ignored, to just give them a token thing, so that well my conscience will be absolved, I have done something for old people. Too bad. Far too bad." "Mr. Nelson are there any senior citizens organizations in the city that could present the problems of the elderly to the officials who could alleviate those problems?" "Yes a number of senior citizens organizations in the city of Boston. The Golden Aires in Roxbury and the 464 Seniors at 464
Massachusetts Avenue in Boston, and the Never Too Late group at the- which meets every Thursday a 2'oclock at Boston Public Library in the lecture hall. And I'm a member of all those organizations." "Could you tell me a little bit about what the group in Roxbury is doing?" "Well, they have lectures, and they have travelogues, just as we do at Copley Square, and they have various people to visit, noted Americans who are familiar with senior citizens' problems, and they have medical instructors to visit from time to time from Mass General Hospital and other medical institutions in Boston." "Mr. Nelson can you enlighten us on some of the contributions of older black Americans that we might not have known about?" "Well of course I met many of the great leaders in the 20s and 30s, Dr. Du Bois spoke here at Ford Hall
Forum several times. Julie Rogers, the great historian and William Monroe Trotter was a personal friend of mine who sent me to Europe in 1927. And Paul Robeson was a very personal friend of mine, and Malcolm X was a great friend of mine whom I met here in Boston." "Could you tell me a little bit about your relationship to Malcolm X?" "Well I met Malcolm X when he came here to organize a temple and I was talking with a group of students when I met him about Lost Cities in Africa which had just been published at that time. And he told me that- he says, "you must be an unusual person because people don't discuss things like that, they don't know anything about old African civilizations."" "What do you think is the single biggest problem that elderly people as a group face today?" "Well health is one thing that some of them need more medical attention and then subsistence I think is another
great problem. Some of them receive pensions and some receive just small grants which I don't think is sufficient." "There's a lot of low income housing being built for the elderly lately. I was wondering whether or not you thought that was a good idea or whether or not you thought that these housing projects would become places where society forgets about the elderly?" "I don't think they should put all senior citizens together. I think it should be mixed with not only younger people but middle age people. For example I'd be lodging with younger people although my next birthday I will be 77 years old. And I think it keeps you in shape and keeps you young to deal with all these different age levels." "The following is a list of churches and organizations providing a variety of services to the senior citizens of Boston. For information about recreational programs call Twelfth Baptist Church, 160 Warren Street Roxbury.
Phone number 427-2323. Contact Reverend Neville. For information about social programs call the Never Too Late group, Boston Public Library, 666 Boylston Street, Boston. Phone number 536-5400. Contact Ms. Higgery. For information about meals and medical programs, call the women's service club, 464 Massachusetts Avenue. Phone number 262- 3935. Contact Mrs. Freeman. For information regarding nutrition programs, call the Federated Dorchester neighborhood houses, 222 Bowdoin Street, Dorchester. Phone number 282-5034. Contact Ms. Kitt Clark. For information regarding legal aid, transportation, health, and meals, call the Council of Elders 280 Martin Luther King Boulevard, Roxbury.
Phone number 442-4000. Contact John Nestor. For information regarding Foster grandparents programs call IPAC 150 Tremont Street, Boston. Phone number 357-6000. Contact Herb Gerald.
- Say Brother
- Producing Organization
- WGBH Educational Foundation
- Contributing Organization
- WGBH (Boston, Massachusetts)
- AAPB ID
- Episode Description
- Discussions with and segments featuring older members of the black community. Among the segments are the opinions of Mrs. Melnea Cass, Lomita Boston, and Ralph Banks on the high poverty rate among Boston's elder population, a poetry reading, conversations about whether the government does enough for the elderly, housing and nursing homes for the elderly.
- Asset type
- Media type
- Moving Image
Guest: Cass, Melnea
Guest: Boston, Lomita
Guest: Banks, Ralph
Producing Organization: WGBH Educational Foundation
- AAPB Contributor Holdings
Identifier: e083cbbde16896ee486e7a86a61d5f5bb6144f45 (ArtesiaDAM UOI_ID)
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- Chicago: “Say Brother; Older Members of the Black Community,” WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed November 30, 2023, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-15-th8bg2hp6w.
- MLA: “Say Brother; Older Members of the Black Community.” WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. November 30, 2023. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-15-th8bg2hp6w>.
- APA: Say Brother; Older Members of the Black Community. Boston, MA: WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-15-th8bg2hp6w