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Well for one thing he is poor in the next days he does not have the phone at his disposal and the next place he's not as well educated as he ought to be. I would say that in the field of rice for an atheist if there is any attitude which characterizes the diet public it is an attitude of indifference. I'm not really in Canada and there is no question it's Will they be elected. This education I was seeing in terms of the negroes progress and I want to be willing to venture the prediction that we are going to have desegregation and that gradually this will be translated into. A different kind of relationship between the races. As a wall is built stone on stone. It's always a problem composed of many elements each related to the other. We invite you to join us as we
examine some of the major elements making up the problem of the Negro in America. The last citizen. The last citizen the Negro in America a series of programs devoted to the extension of our knowledge of the largest minority group in the United States its life its problems and the problems it poses to all Americans. The last citizen is produced by Radio Station WBA put the university under a grant from the Educational Television and Radio Center in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasters. Here now is the producer of the series E-W Richter to introduce today's program. During the past two years it has been our pleasure to travel to many parts of the country to New York Boston Washington D.C. to Atlanta Georgia Birmingham and Montgomery Alabama and other southern cities to Chicago Kansas City Los Angeles and San Francisco. Everywhere we went we carried with us a tape recorder and a
liberal supply of recording tape. During the course of these travels we collected interviews with more than 100 persons college professors journalists public figures authors professional social workers. All of these people had one thing in common and interest. And what many people feel is the social problem of the century. The problem of race relations during the weeks to come we will have the opportunity of listening to a great diversity of comments from many of the people whom we have interviewed. As we explored the world of the last citizen. Our purpose is to try to give as objective as possible a picture of American life as it affects the Negro in this country and to help us in this task. We are very fortunate to have with us Dr. Louis Schneider a professor of sociology at Purdue University who has had a longstanding interest in our subject. I think it might be well to mention why we selected the title that we did for our series Walt the last citizen.
Well we felt that in a way the negro can be looked on as our last immigrant because despite the fact that he's been with us for more than 300 years he is still facing many of the problems faced and largely resolved by European immigrants who arrived much more recently. He is still fighting the battle which was won long ago by even our most recent immigrants a battle for first class citizenship. And this is especially remarkable since negro migration to the United States ended more than 100 years ago when the statutes forbidding the importation of slaves were finally enforced. And so we speak of him as our last citizen one out of every ten citizens of this country is classified as a Negro but who is he this tenth man this American Negro. This last citizen. As in describing any individual there are many answers to this question. So what is with the negro. Perhaps the simplest reply is that he has a dark
skinned American of African ancestry. But this is only a fragmentary answer. With the aid of Dr. Schneider let's explore other possible answers. The negro as they are known and many of us are still relatively poorly informed about his mode of life his aspirations or even the nature of his status in America. The wall of segregation itself just because of what segregation is it means that in many areas of the country and in many fields of social life the Negro cannot be well known to the white. Just as the white cannot be well known to the negro the Negro is the mythical man even though we may not know him well. We read about him here about him tell stories about him generally speaking we seem to have considerable curiosity about him. And the resulting combination of ignorance and curiosity is likely to give rise to myth legend fantasy. The Negro is the very OSMA. There exist very differing images often to the so called liberal of the South as well as the North. He may appear as the unfortunate member
of an oppressed group. To those who feel antagonistic to him or threatened by him for whatever reasons he may appear as a menacing figure who wishes to subvert promising housing developments standards of education cherished traditions or even the very foundations of American life and battled with paradoxical peacefulness under the leadership of a Martin Luther King in a large southern city. He presents one aspect of the world in virtual bondage to a white landowner in the rural South. He presents another and militant combat for recognition as a skilled worker in the northern industrial centers. He was still on different continents all those of various too but perhaps few are as various or as variously judged in America as the negro the negro as the controversy old man. There is much disagreement about him. This is hardly surprising in view of what we have already said. We are interested in the Negro although many of us know little about him. We have much
curiosity about him he seems to be various and elusive. Given a situation like this it is quite to be expected that there should be controversy northerners who have stood side by side with able and efficient Negro workers may well be inclined to call the negro intelligent southerners who have witnessed a very different behavior of the Negro in southern factories fresh from the farm are likely to have a very different view of his capacities and a controversy about him extends into many other fields is he likely to be politically responsible and alert or politically more apathetic and inept than the general run of whites. And so the controversy goes on indefinitely. The Negro is the minority leader was evidently the minority mind in the United States. He is most easily identified he has high visibility simply because of his pigmentation. At the same time he presents to Americans some of the most difficult moral social political and economic problems that arise in regard to any minority group.
And for all practical purposes the negro minority is the largest in the country. There are to be sure about 5 million Jews there are Chinese Japanese Filipinos Puerto Ricans Mexicans or less numerous The negroes in the United States and will hardly bother any longer to apply that to our minority even to some of our most recent immigrant groups such as Poles or Italians or Greeks or even if we do we are so aware that Negroes represent a big minority problem that other groups are overshadowed when we have reference to minorities. The Negro is the conscience disturbing man going to myrtle and his study of the American Negro and American dilemma indicates that the dilemma of which he speaks is this. If we wish to hold to democratic principles we cannot show prejudice and discrimination toward an arbitrarily selected TENTH OF THE NATION. If we do show the prejudice and discrimination we're going to hardly profess to be adhering unqualifiedly to democratic principles. The negro
creates much uneasiness among us. There are voices from abroad that sometimes mock and sometimes poor scorn upon us voices that tell us that much of the world to become skeptical of our democratic humanitarian and Christian professions. As long as the negro continues to receive the treatment he does these voices mingle with inner voices of our own that intimate that there may be justification for the voices from abroad. The negro thus produces a moral split within the white man himself. Some are quite riven by this split. Others are relatively free of it. But it is a fair presumption that a goodly proportion of us can and at times do become much disturbed over the so-called Negro problem and its highly important moral dimensions. These are a few of the possible answers to our question as to who the last citizen is. I say a few of the possible answers and even the ones that we've given are hardly more than sketches incomplete.
And this is one of the things we hope to do in this series. Find out just who the American Negro is. How many of us really know anything about Negroes or even one negro and what the fuss is all about. Let's turn to the eminent historian and author Dr. Rayford Logan of Howard University in Washington D.C. In 1944 Professor Logan edited a book entitled What the negro wants. There were 14 contributors including myself the editor of some of the contributors a well-known doctor W.B. Dubois the late measure Mary McLeod Bethune a Philip Randolph. Well I welcome the secretary of the NAACP and others. As editor. I allowed each contributor to at his own point of view. Perhaps the most
surprising result was that all 14 of us wanted the same thing namely we wanted the opportunity for an egg along with other Americans to have the equal chance to fulfill their responsibilities and to exercise their rights under the Constitution of the United States. The laws of the State in accordance Wead democratic principle which on first examination this certainly seems simple enough. A group of citizens want accorded to them the same rights responsibilities and privileges that the other citizens of the nation have. And yet in almost every area of and of the Negro in America is handicapped in the achievement of the seemingly simple goal he has difficulty getting a good education getting a good job getting a decent place to live and so on. The Negro's open and one might say obvious demand for what we usually call
equality and justice is complicated by a great many minnows. I think this matter of a complication of what initially appears to be such a simple thing is worth our close attention. Take the most rudimentary elements of what most of us would be inclined to call equality equality under the law. Or perhaps justice. These elements from the very beginning yet titled among themselves for instance more of all knowledge that there is genuine interaction among the elements that finally go to make up what we call equality justice and opportunity. Let aside housing in this connection the negro's housing does not stand by itself. If he doesn't get a fair shake on the housing market his comfort and even health may be seriously affected. This in turn is likely to affect his job chances and his chances are my job. Excessive absenteeism due to illness will not help the individual negroes cause on the job market. In turn his chances for higher education can be adversely affected by his low economic status which then twists on itself to
effect the starting point of the whole downward spiral namely the housing situation. Of course by the same reasoning wouldn't a shot in the arm and the right pointer points be likely to create an upward spiral. Yes if we had the delicate balance of forces at a strategic point we may at relatively small cost start to run a flying upward moving spiral development. But one of the spiral moves up or down we can already recognize the existence of a certain complexity and the whole so-called Negro Problem. But wouldn't such an upward spiral bring about new problems. It would indeed. Suppose for the sake of argument an upward moving spiral of the type suggested were going along handsomely let's say in a specific community depending upon the community and its traditions there might be a genuine danger that angry and secure jealous whites would intervene to stop the upward movement seeing growing self-confidence and increasing achievement on the part of the negro. They might well decide these niggas are getting too damned uppity and one might then witness a
wave of refusals to high on the gross to jobs which up to that time they had been getting without difficulty. We suggested before that there was a certain seeming simplicity about the negroes demand for justice equality and so forth but we can already see that it isn't a simple matter at all in a very real sense. It isn't like the model you've just mentioned of the negroes demand for justice equality and so forth. It might appear a simple question whether the negro should resist encroachments upon what he and many others believe to be his rights perhaps even the mana of his resistance would appear to pose relatively simple questions. But again a little reflection on some contemplation of the American scene will soon convince us that they see problems to our money cited. There are still for example some Christian ministers who believe that the Negro is being son full if he literally refuses to turn the other cheek. On the other hand there are resentful negroes who would never dream of turning the other cheek of resistance is to be made.
What kind of resistance shall it be Shall one Tons of a nation rise up in violence against the rest and seek to win what it conceived to be its rights by the issue of battle. Even assuming that Negroes would and could summon the unity and the aggressive resolution to carry on war against white Americans the prospects of success would evidently not be lauch. Moreover why lump together with the enemy millions of whites who would be substantially in sympathy with the negroes and millions of others who would be internally torn. Half desirous of making large concessions to the negro people. What shall the word Negro really offer no resistance. Increasingly Negroes have small regard for the subservient or self suppressing or self repressing league Ro who is called an Uncle Tom. There's an appreciable determination among Negroes of the United States today to fight to resist to win the battles of court school job and housing. Martin Luther King Jr. became famous almost overnight because of his attempted strategic
combination of resistance and nonviolence. And this is interesting in the light of what you just said Lou. Reverend King is as firm on the point of resistance as he is on nonviolence. Moreover his Gandhian tactics unquestionably helped him win a notable victory in Montgomery. However the stability and effect of this of a combination of resistance and nonviolence are still somewhat problematic negroes in other parts of the United States may have to make do with less inspiring leadership and may have to face less clearcut issues and less fortunate combinations of circumstances. Future efforts to combine resistance with nonviolence may meet with less success. A Delicate Balance is being dealt with here with the best will in the world violence may still erupt when leaders are doing all that they can to prevent it. This as Dr. King recognizes can recreate old vicious circles on the principle all the way that take the sword shall perish by the Saud as violence is again countered by violence. On the other hand this
delicate balance may tip the other way and then therefore a vote for nonviolence negro's might well fall into nonresistance which in turn could mean ineffectiveness of their protests or contempt on the part of the whites or even the evocation of a certain sadism on the part of whites. We argue somewhat abstractly here admittedly but it should be clear enough that here too in the discussion of an ostensibly simple question the negro's resistance to being tagged as second class citizens. We have complexities that require all really careful consideration and so we come to the understanding that what on the surface seems like a very simple thing. A group of citizens desiring their rights under the laws of democracy is in reality a maze of complications complications based on the turnings and twistings of the human mind and on the curious ways of human social relationships. The most complex and least understood facets of human existence. And the
weeks to come will be talking about the question the questions I should say raised by Dr. Schneider. We shall try to come to a fuller understanding of the nature of race relations in the United States of the causal factors in the negro's plight of the nature and essence of prejudice to help in doing this we will turn to the recorded interview as mentioned earlier in this program for an understanding of the background of todays relationships between Negro and white. We will turn to some of the nation's well known historians for example Dr. John Hope Franklin chairman of the Department of History Brooklyn College. I think it ought to be remembered that the first negroes it came to English were not slaves but were indentured servants. It was the experience that English America had with Negroes that convinced English Americans that Negroes were quite suitable. For enslavement. One fact of course
was that of color. The fact that the negro was quite different from the white man in color and in physiognomy generally made it possible for him to be set aside. And to be presumed to be a slave. This would of course obviate any confusion with respect to run away these four if persons of the skin of a negro in the texture of hair of a negro etc. were found they were presumed to be slaves and could be returned to their masters. To find out how the negro in the south clears today we'll turn to such people as the editor of The Atlanta Constitution. Mr. Ralph McGill in the north. The law doesn't discriminate
against him but I think that his position as a human being is perhaps not so good there is it is here in many respects at least. But the great advantages he has in the north is that under the law at least he has as much as citizens anyone else and in the deep south he is not he is a second class citizen. So Mr. E.D. next I'm Negro leader in Montgomery Alabama. Although we're negro can get get a job around the state Cappy got to commit a crime be convicted wrong printed gobs and be set up to the Capitol truste that are saying negro has anything to do with nothing going to happen not even as a Janet. We will hear Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. whose role in the Montgomery Alabama bus boycott made of him a figure of international importance. We're all really integrated and things are moving very smoothly in that area. In
fact I don't know of any real ones that have taken place on the buses and they were integrated with the exception of the tragic aspects of violence that took place the first few days we had some students on the buses and things like that. And Dr. Benjamin president of Morehouse College and Atlanta Georgia I don't think there's been any change in his militancy. You see it was his militancy that brought about the May the 17th 954 decision I think the where the negro has been disappointed it is isn't that the that the mood is the segregation hasn't gone as fast as it might have done. I think where we all agree it is still is not between whether desegregation goes 10 miles
and 60 miles. Yes I might use it. But it is but do you know whether. Whether desegregation goes at the pace of 10 miles I'll Ciro. We will listen to the widely read writer Muslim Ian Smith. But even when I was very young I was allowed a sheltered and protected. I became aware of the fact that I lived in a time where there were invisible walls. And that those walls meant a great deal to everybody in the time. I think I found it out in church and when I was quite small when I realized that my little Khaled a playmate and every Southern child had colored playmates that they didn't go to my church that in my nice big church well only white people white faces to find out what's happening on the legal front.
We will have access to the views of such persons as the distinguished retired South Carolina jurist judge Jay Waite is wearing and whose court the South Carolina white primary election was outlawed. Well I I feel that very important mystery to be discussed. The effect of law and the importance of law on the whole racial question. I know it's common to say I don't very often say that you have to educate people before you attempt pass laws of the world or be of them. But I want to stress the fact that you have got to have laws under which morality and decent thinking can operate. You have got to reduce it is that why you may not legislate morality. You can and do in most of the Southern states legislate immorality and until those laws
are abrogated by repeal by a court action or some other phone you cannot ever get a decent living and decent acceptance of the American creed. We will turn to Mr. Thurgood Marshall attorney for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People I don't know of a single beneficial move toward benefiting negroes in the south in their rights. That came about other than bar laws. They voluntarily did it. After they wanted an injunction which said if they didn't do it they would go to jail. And I can name any. You take voting the beautiful schools a building for Negroes no one was built there we start these laws and there's nothing else they can point to in the south. That didn't come back through blood sweat and tears
of the negroes. Pay the expense of their own lawsuit. And also the expenses of the state's law school a lawsuit by pay and taxes. We'll also be hearing from such public figures as Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt that intolerance is probably a very disagreeable wit and I don't like it very much. But where people are intolerant. I suppose all you can do is to hope that they will become more tolerant and less intolerant. Actually things have progressed so far now that I don't think you have to talk about tolerance anymore. I think you just have to talk about the specific things that need to be done and done as quickly as possible in different areas. These people and many more sociologists social workers psychologists politicians will help us to explore the many
facets of the life of the negro in the United States but also the nature of the dilemma in which this nation finds itself in relation to him. We have mentioned that we will look in some detail into the varying public images of the negro. Dr. Schneider has given us some understanding of the complexities involved in the Negro search for equality and of justice. One of our aims in the coming weeks will be to unscramble some of these complexities and in the course of doing these things we will touch not only on the negro's position and the North as well as in the south but also we will look carefully at the question of housing of employment of education voting crime prejudice the concept or conception if you wish of rapes and a number of other phenomena. In short our plan is to make as thorough an investigation as we Kirton of the situation of the last citizen and attempt to answer some of the puzzling whys. We feel that it will be essential to an understanding of the rest of our series. For us to have a thorough comprehension of prejudice what it is how it works
why individuals are prejudiced. Thus prejudiced will be our topic next week. Lou would you care to give us a brief idea of the direction our discussion will take next week. For sure lack of time I can suggest very much about it but I might mention just one thing which we will be exploring and this is that nice people are very often the ones of our most prejudiced. So join us next week at the same time and we will continue our discussion of the last citizen of the Negro in America. You have been listening to Dr. Louis Knight. Pastoral sociology at
Purdue University and the program's producer director E-W latest set of programme was produced and recorded by WB for the university under a grant from the Educational Television Radio. And again just commuted by the National Association of educational drug. Is the end E.B. Radio Network.
Last citizen
Producing Organization
Purdue University
WBAA (Radio station : West Lafayette, Ind.)
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program presents an introduction to the series.
Series Description
A series of programs devoted to exploring the problems facing African-Americans and how these issues impact all Americans.
Broadcast Date
Social Issues
Prejudices--United States.
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Guest: King, Martin Luther, Jr., 1929-1968
Guest: Logan, Rayford Whittingham, 1897-1982
Guest: Mays, Benjamin E. (Benjamin Elijah), 1894-1984
Guest: Smith, Lillian Eugenia, 1897-1966
Guest: Franklin, John Hope, 1915-2009
Guest: McGill, Ralph, 1898-1969
Guest: Nixon, Edgar B. (Edgar Burkhardt), 1902-
Host: Schneider, Louis
Producer: Richter, E.W.
Producing Organization: Purdue University
Producing Organization: WBAA (Radio station : West Lafayette, Ind.)
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 59-50-1 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:28:40
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Chicago: “Last citizen; Introduction,” 1959-01-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed April 20, 2024,
MLA: “Last citizen; Introduction.” 1959-01-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. April 20, 2024. <>.
APA: Last citizen; Introduction. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from