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There that is gone through Negro history it has been this quality of American standing up and living up to the bright promises of the Declaration of Independence. This is the essential American thing there was no lie that is not a mark in life because the Negro is the market to complete the purser Benjamin with morals distinguished historian of Negro his are not the students of the public schools in a series of talks on the Negro in America. The pressures that block it were started by participation in World War Two pressures which were set in motion by the wall going to say the pressures which were set in motion by the online organizations adopting newer techniques. All of these began to add emprise agencies of government as we would expect showing that the state and local governments are going
to pass measures in response to the kind of the German crash which involved other persons preying on government such as ours in response. To legitimate pressure. Hence beginning in 1945 we had New York state passing the first law fair employment practices law by a state and other states are going to follow suit. No I did not say that in the last 25 years. The presidents are has been responsible such as it never has been before. The whole philosophy of the president is our. Own and what it is done to executive are and what it is done in the appointed hour of the president. These are significant breakthroughs on the highest levels of the federal government. Congress in 1957 passes the first Civil Rights Bill in nearly a hundred years. The vast civil rights bill had been in 1875 which should be.
It unconstitutionally vague in the server right now for the first time since 1875 we get in 1957 a Civil Rights Act setting out a Civil Rights Commission. Basically the commission is to see to it that the negroes who have been deprived of the vote in the south by techniques that we had mentioned that they franchise as we stored to them are not denied on the basis of race color or previous condition of servitude so that every one of these next acts that we get the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by that record should be kept so that people could go back to see whether you discriminated against anybody. And this 1964 which had the same standard should be used in registering anybody and that if you had a sixth grade training you. That was a presumption of literacy. And then finally the great breakthrough in 1965 when we had federal examinations. The reason that Negroes have been elected to local office in Mississippi two
years ago. There are no federal examiners in those areas in which you allege that job voting rights might be attenuated that enables the government to send persons to carry if you suspect that they will not be a fair count. But what we can say and what Detroit and other places do indicate very clearly is that the so-called problem of race relations is no longer confined very largely to the south. The negro his movie out of the South knowledge numbers of the negro now is over 75 percent urban cities and these urban centers are very largely outside of the south so that the scene on which the new drama of civil rights is being enacted is in a big necropolis sentence Middle Western across of the Far West and the Eastern Seaboard. So that the problem now is very largely a problem which is reached a magnitude which we did not expect those of us
who perhaps live. Outside the south this was a southern route are now the problem is common to many of us to whom it had never come home before this is a thing which makes people rethink their priorities. I made a move theoretic to any quality of the sound bite me quality next door might be a little more matter needing me steady. So the problem now is move to the great urban centers where so much changes under which I am going so much change in the Negro is becoming rather the election two days ago simply indicates that the negro now has made a tremendous change in America in 1910 he was predominantly wrong or any other population 25 percent of all the Urban League's over 70 percent over 70 percent so that we can see that
problem therefore becomes nation. Now we've always had the problem of race relations since the coming of the first minority groups to America but I think we have a new sense of urgency in our national life stemming from many core causes the international situation among others in the news. New sense on the part of many a timetable so good but the basement is a problem that is not new. But a problem which appears to be the last defer. America has always had a different way to commit to equality and to democracy. It doesn't seem as though we can do so much. We are we started this was definitely but now it looks as though some things are coming due with a new sense of urgency a new sense on the part of those who work on the problem that we cannot. We do not have unlimited time. Such as we once
did to come to grips with the problem. Now this new sense of urgency is heightened because many of the myths are that hell be all our dive area our people's beliefs change very slowly because naturally they have a vested interest in the belief. If we turn out the lights in this room obviously the light goes out you wouldn't dispute it has just gone out of the realm of the natural sciences you just accept this. When we get into the social sciences the changing of basic attitude changing things that we have grown up with. This becomes a much more difficult. So therefore there are some myths that still have great tenacity in American life going back to the 19th century again proving that history years history is a very deep seated thing a great national resource if properly used. But people lived through history and by history that's what makes it so important. But
some of these myths. One of them of course is the myth. White supremacy this is which had this great growth in the 19th century is still a dominant factor in the thinking of many. And this prevents as rapid an adjustment to an urgent problem as otherwise would be indicated. Now another matter which Mr King and others point out which still exists is that many people say that race relations in America were very peaceful before the civil rights revolution everybody got along very well. Everything was going on. And then came the agitators and things haven't got well enough to disappear. The problem yes. So that we do have a beating on the part of some before the agitators agitators came there was peace and this is incorrect. Sometimes the movement was crying. It did not reach the body. But you had an uneasy peace sort of truce maybe a peace of the grave. But really not a legitimate peace but some people still
say that they still really believe that things by IBM are before people like Martin Luther King and others came on the scene and everything was good. And if we could go back to the good old days when there was no agitation on these problems and we could feel good at heart. Now some people are so feel that time will heal everything. Just give it some time you have managed one of my guys now or if we just give it to him that the human needs. But time is new and therefore when we say time will heal this time maybe even an entire month or less people of good will get in they say but some people say no don't do anything much time will take care of that same time necessarily has taken care of this or other things in a very long time but sometimes the time will heal everything.
This sometimes paralyzes people who might take another step and then some people say we shouldn't do anything until people change. Now this is very difficult to get people to change but some people have genuinely good will say that now this is a method to stop assess and wait until a man's change now. Most of us obey the laws and not because it changes anything but the law is to be obeyed for the better of our society. But one of the myths still remains and then a final myth says Mr King another still stands. Is it some problem they would say are simply unsightly The problem is so great that we simply give up on the problem and say we will retreat into isolation or we retreat into a limited perspective because the problem we're going to put a man on the moon. Yes 97 the other about but the problem of living together. This is inside.
People will say so that some people are so on the pessimistic side and simply say in approaching the fundamental matter of a change in human relations in our country they simply meant that the problem of human solution which should not be very flattering to us and our But nevertheless this does persist in some form. So the urgency of the problem is heightened in part by the fact that some it is still there are now in the closing statement we simply may notice which you are so well know and some of the questions are a bit hinted here today many of us would know the answers much better than others and I certainly would not know the answer to our. Is that in the last four or five years possibly the last two or three years past year even there has been a distinct crisis in the civil rights movement. Now this crisis is largely on the basis of the old organizations which have done noble work for 50 years and many people feel that now.
The past instead of being a past that has accomplished great things in our country it has brought about new perspectives and brought about a new sense of unity on the part of Americans that all of this pastor's affair. And all of the integration movement of the South has really not been worth the effort of our and therefore the minority groups should retreat into enclaves of their own. And withdraw from the majority society and have their own points of view. So basically among some negroes today among negro militants we had what we might call a revival of separatist a revival possibly of the philosophy that gobby indicated where you had your own you are the mainstream. Now you went to Africa a priority policy which be as implicit in the Black Muslim Polaski and of Negro society and of separate society so that we do
have in Negro life day a group of persons who say that the solution is not in the wider society. The solution is not so cowardly and integrate the solution is in separation. You can never make it in an integrated society because we are too great against you. The cards are stacked too high. The psychological damage is too great and therefore the only way to do it is our Negro community this is a philosophy that has attracted a number of militants a number of vocal people and we hear this philosophy of 98 in some parts. Obviously the old line organizations and the mass great mass of negroes are still apparently going along with the traditional point of view about integration. But a force to be reckoned with in American life and particularly within the negro pitstop and this force is already receiving a great deal of attention
by men like the eminent psychology social psychologists that we mention. Kenneth Clarke who vigorously attacked them. Concept of Black Power and black power in the south and social separatism. He feels that escape from responsibility. The whining of the comfort of the ghetto without moving into the mainstream with the problems of the mainstream. Probably a preparation which the mainstream requires that this becomes a protective ghetto and you develop a philosophy of human relations which is an adversary philosophy that X is my enemy. Therefore some of the social thinkers in the Negro group feel that the philosophy of separatism has great dangers and it is basically not in conformity with an American pattern. On the other side of course there is great emotion on the part of militants have a point of view. A number of things are involved. It might be better if they meet
at a separate section and have a separate way of life. This is where we are today when we say the crisis within the civil rights movement can be no national meeting of the great civil rights movement. But we will not have this point of view expressed with perhaps increasing stripes militancy. This of course brings the story to a close. Like these people we do not have. We simply state product B that you cannot base. Atlanta. Which. We have been listening to Professor Benjamin while speaking on the Negro American. The series of broadcast was produced by station W. DTI by the Department of Education or broadcasting for the Detroit public
schools. This program was distributed by the national educational radio network.
The negro American
The Contemporary Scene
Producing Organization
Detroit Public Schools
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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For series info, see Item 3536. This prog.: The Contemporary Scene
Race and Ethnicity
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Producing Organization: WDTR
Producing Organization: Detroit Public Schools
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University of Maryland
Identifier: 68-30-15 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:15:41
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Chicago: “The negro American; The Contemporary Scene,” 1968-12-02, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 29, 2023,
MLA: “The negro American; The Contemporary Scene.” 1968-12-02. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. May 29, 2023. <>.
APA: The negro American; The Contemporary Scene. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from