Challenge 69: The urban crisis; #9 (Reel 2)
So I think that what we did obviously lacked was an immediate recommendation for speed reading course for the president the United States and some of the other people in Washington. I think it's clear. That a lot could have been done as a result of that report. I think largely because the report was not the liver. By a group of people. Who should have delivered a report like that. Everybody knows John Lindsay is a liberal Republican. So they knew where John Lindsay would stand. The people who made that report what it is were a police chief in Atlanta a senator from Oklahoma. They weren't expected to turn out a report. White like that. And I just like to quote briefly from the summary of that report. To pursue our present course the continuing polarization of the American
community and ultimately the destruction of basic democratic values. The alternative is not blind repression or capitulation to lawlessness. It is a realization of common opportunities for all within a single society. In my mind the time has come for all Americans to decide what is most important for our country. I think we must stop starting new public relations type programs until we reach the conclusion that we're going to fund one of them to make it really meaningful. All you have to do is look at the housing. People are forced to live in an area like New York called Brownsville. 15 minutes away from a city of plenty and some of the richest people in the world and you have to realize that our government and our country have not been taking care of their business despite what many of our elected officials maintain. I think Dr. Martin Luther King summed it up best when he said it is a cruel jest to say to a bootlace
man that he should lift himself by his own bootstraps. It is even worse to tell a man to lift himself by his own bootstraps when somebody is standing on his boots. The future of our cities as well as the future of our country rests with people like yourselves on this campus in Winston-Salem. As well as young students throughout the country whether right or wrong have felt it necessary to disrupt education at universities across the country to force administrations to be more responsive to the genuine needs of a campus community. I also believe that the future of our country equally rests with the young people who travel throughout the nation in support of Eugene McCarthy and Robert Kennedy last year and throughout New York City in support of John Lindsay in 1965. About five years ago a student speaker at Commencement began his address this way. We are the leaders of tomorrow. How does that grab you.
This young student was of course expressing bluntly the sense that declarations of future leadership were not exactly news to college students. They had been told that probably since elementary school they were told that a high school graduation during freshman orientation week during homecoming during a long weekend and almost every other possible opportunity. And I think I would be very surprised if you have not all going through the same experience. It's comforting cliche. I'd like to suggest to you tonight may have become one of the first casualties of the campus of cables and disorders that have dominated our recent headlines and have become a part. Of American life since the book Berkeley uprising in 1964. Today across the exhaustedly study a generation gap both sides look at each other suspicious untrusting uneasy and both sides seem to agree that there is something very disquieting about the thought that this generation of students is to
soon the leadership of American society. It's relatively easy to understand the reaction of substantial parts of the older generation with the help of our news media. The older generation has been taught that the present generation of students is someone wholly amalgam of long haired unshaven unwashed pot smoking sex starved draft draft resisting by Senators shouting radicals. And what makes it worse. Rude ones to boot. Even among the more discriminating there is substantial disquiet with a pointed challenging disaffection of much of the present college generation. To use the accepted expression if these kids don't want to support the society then we don't want them in control of the society. I think what is less understood and far more significant is the firm belief on the part of many students including the most activist and committed of them. That they
do not wish themselves to be leaders of tomorrow at least not the leaders of the society as it is now structured. We see surveys at our most prestigious colleges which show that lower and lower percentages in some cases less than 10 percent of the students would even consider a career in business today. We see labor unions and. And government to traditional institutions. For liberals of a generation ago increasingly cut off from the support and sympathy of the student generation. We see graduate students organizing against their own departments instead of merely working toward admission into the academic guild. We see divinity students of all faiths challenging church leaders accusing them of indifference for the compelling social dilemma of our time. We see the military finding it increasingly difficult even to appear on campuses and the once thriving ROTC program relegated to the status of an extra curricular activity. And many of our colleges in the
United States. Despite the diverse sources of these revolts. There is I believe a single common element. And all of them. And to me this is. The refusal of students to regard themselves as the inheritors of the legacy. The insistence on challenging the most fun of fundamental tenants of traditional thinking and institutions education has always been thought of as a transmittal. Whether of a specific knowledge or of a general heritage. Despite the reverence given to the value of thinking for your sky self. Schools have traditionally reaffirmed what society holds precious or thinks it thinks it holds precious democracy rational accommodation and the resolution of conflicts. Now it seems to students when many students at least are saying that this is simply not enough. They are asking hard questions impolite questions often telling
questions about this process. What does it mean students asked to cherish a university devoted to knowledge and free inquiry. One significant part of the school's budget may come from a government defense contract. What does it mean students asked to preach open pursuit of knowledge. If a university may harbor secret classified research centers. What does it mean students to teach what must be done to end racial prejudice and reform institutional discrimination. If the school or the school will not change itself to grapple with a crisis today and black education. What does it mean students ask to tell us of the duties of citizenship and democracy. The students are shut out of decision making on some campuses and are regarded not as people to be taught but merely as units to be processed. What does it mean students asked to preach sanctity of free speech and then shut down plays. Confiscate student newspapers and
suspend students for expressing themselves. And what an administration or an institution they believe is in an orthodox manner. What does it mean students asked finally to tell us to accept accept and preserve a civilization's values when that society does not live by the values itself. And in fact repudiates in the way it treats the people who live in it. I happen to think personally that it is disastrous that the extremism of tactics ranging from shouting down speakers with obscenities to outright violence has obscured these questions. But I think nonetheless that these questions demand answers. I think that in part it has been the refusal to face up to these questions that has led to much of the upheaval which now threatens so many of our college campuses and our cities and I think that nothing is more important than for all of those in the academic community to begin groping for answers to these questions. We
must remember however that rhetoric does not make an institution performance does. All of the praise of freedom does not make a repressive institution or oppressive government any less repressive. All of the calls for action. You cannot change the fact the failure if there is in fact only in action. And if injustice and poverty prevail. I think what this generation is saying better than any other despite the diversions and up peoples of our times is that they will not take the legacy of the society at face value. They want to know what is behind the heritage and what is behind the rhetoric. They want to know if it works and if it doesn't they want to change it. There are an increasing number of people today both black and white both north and south who feel that our government cannot be changed by working within the system. I don't agree with this at all. But it must be you and others like you. The coming
generation of leaders who must become involved and make our system change from within. It may have been fine for Charlie Wilson to say 15 years ago what's good for General Motors is good for the country. I don't know if it was valued valid 20 years ago. But what is important and what you must do. Is make institutions work with people. Not for people. I think the Columbia University problems which were very complex. One of the basic failures at Columbia and the thing that united the black and white students there was the building of a gym. One city on land. In a park. That is not really even a parking lot. It's a depressed 30 area that. Drug addicts hang out at and the previous administration Columbia University which is an excellent institution
despite the fact that I went there at Columbia University. Like most urban universities desperately needs to expand. But being an urban university they don't have the land to expand and for them to expand it means they have to move into an area where there is something presently built on the location of Columbia University. In addition to other things desperately needs a new gymnasium facility. The community needs. A new park we need some recreation facility in the area. But the attitude is someone expressed it to me at a dinner three weeks ago. And the floor raised his hand asked the questions I don't understand how you can say that Columbia University was wrong. Those people there don't have a park don't have anything. Columbia University was going to build a gym and give those people 15 percent usage of the facility. I don't understand why they didn't want it. It was good for them. As I said whether it's good for them or not it wasn't done with them so it's never going to be
good for me. You don't the time for governments to tell people. What's good for them doesn't work anymore. The tragedy of the Columbia gym is that the university needs a gym. The community people need the facility but because of the way it was handled or mishandled. Neither has either. It's a deep tragedy. Finally I myself have learned that the success of failure of your personally getting involved in something cannot be measured in the way you would measure. Other more traditional ventures. You won't have a profit or loss statement and you won't get a report card with grades on it. We do things in New York City but we cannot guarantee they will work or even prove that they have worked. If their working depends on someone's notion that success depends on not having a riot and failure on having one. After three years of work Mayor Lindsay I can
assure you that the only guarantees I can give anyone interested in becoming more involved in the world around him is that he will certainly get his hands dirty and ultimately become enmeshed in some controversy or another. Yet if the commitment is real and the individual is willing and able to take the heat in the pressure. I can see nothing that could be more meaningful more satisfying or more challenging than playing an active and significant role in making our great society really and truly great for all our citizens and not just some more political rhetoric. Are you. Really on the threshold of tomorrow with the future of our troubled nation soon to be in your hands with the task of making the impossible dream possible. And the ungovernable city somewhat more governable. I think that is a real challenge. 69. For me an old man of 34 who is aged about 50 years in the three years I've worked for Mayor Lindsay.
My own future is a little different. I have a friend up in Harlem by the name of Allah. And that's his name because he believes he's our. Five hundred black youngsters in Harlem. Also believe is Allah. So I would I guess you could say that gives him more credibility than nobody did. Nobody believed it but after last summer I said to me Barry why don't you leave the mayor and come on up here with me. And I thought for a moment I said Well that sounds great but you know as much as I'd like to join you know I have to make a living when I you know I just. How could I just coming up to Harlem and our thoughts for a minute and said Barry that's easy you just come on up here and be Moses. I thought for a moment and I said that's great our you know maybe our But the simple problem is I'm not Moses. And our life and with his supreme wisdom and divine wisdom because he really is ours looked at me and
said Barry if you're not Moses then who is. I tell that story only for one reason. I deeply appreciate being here. One of these days my luck may run out I may lose you may not be re-elected and you may hear of some white guy running around Harlem saying he's Moses. If you. If you do I hope that you think of me with a little affection. Thank you very much I'd be glad to answer any question before. At to. Dr. Barrett got a director of the urban task force New York City speaking on the urban crisis from the viewpoint of city government. Dr. Gardere addressed himself to the urban crisis during the Wake Forest University symposium on contemporary American affairs. Later in a question and answer session Dr. gutteral was asked to evaluate the model
cities program of all of the programs that I've seen that have been announced. And I got to go. It's very hard to sort out the new society from the real society from the Great Society and the poverty program. I'm the US housing bill in the model cities probably Well I'm the only one that really makes sense to us in New York City as model cities. The problem with model cities is that like all of the other programs they've been in the US with great fanfare. With a page one story in The Times talking about billions of dollars of funding for the program and then you get down to the last paragraph and in the last paragraph they tell you that the initial appropriation is something like 20 million dollars for across the United States. What that usually means is that it never ever gets past the first or second year by the third year you have another president and he has in another society and I don't know what President Nixon's is going to be. For us in New York. Model cities make sense. It's the first time
in New York City that you can take an area and instead of building a housing project and getting your housing project up to realize that one you don't have a decent school next to it or you don't have decent transportation or you don't have recreation facilities for the kids or you don't have a daycare center so that the mothers can leave their kids there and go to work instead of staying home and being on a sheet and being on welfare that are the model cities. The idea is you take an area and everything goes into that. It's all built at the same time. It's built with the people the people are involved in every step. Of the change it's not like sweeping out an area as urban renewal was and saying what will bring you back in after the houses are built and then you build the houses and I can afford moving into most of them that we build with the urban renewal money around the country and certainly you never going to find these people who live there in the first place. Model cities is of tremendous value. To urban centers. The real problem as I was going to say New York
is that if we had not. Put up 30 million dollars of our own in New York City there'd be no model cities program we would even be starting. But in addition to the planning money which we got from Washington. We want a mayor a year ago for one was able to get through the city council an additional 20 or 25 million dollars. But. Our fear. Is. Is that the program will either be passed over. Because it's somebody else's program the previous administration or more likely not funded sufficiently. In answer to how it applies to other cities. I can't imagine that it would not apply to any city that does not have any city that has an urban sprawl problem that has a deteriorating neighborhood problem has to benefit from model cities. This for the first time I like the poverty program I don't know how it is down here but the party program in New York. Starting us down a
road. And which we took people who were being beaten down by the system. But were going along with it. And you provided money to organize them. I just like that I'm a real fan of Saul Alinsky. But it's a lot easier to be a Saul Alinsky than a John Lindsay. It's a lot easier to attack the system than to work for the system. But you wind up. You wind up with a situation where. Well where the poverty program has taken these people. Has shown them. That they are not getting their fair share from the system. Has enabled them to organize for themselves. And in the system which is the federal government that does not provide the cities with the resources to respond to the grievances. The poverty program. Started something which can't be turned back anymore
in our cities as much as some people might like to do it. These are changing times for us in New York. The model cities program needs funding but it's not only New York it's going Allen's. When the jury cabinet was in the alley in San Francisco. They desperately need the money. To do the job and it's not a matter of new money it's a matter of as the mayor says a rearranging of priorities. If we ever get that surtax money back from Vietnam I think it be about time that we started spending some of that in the city. I don't know whether we will or not. But I think the most meaningful program we've seen in three years really an answer is money. And it doesn't should not only apply to low income neighborhoods. The model cities concept of building on communities rather than building individual buildings is valid throughout an urban area. We should have been doing it in income neighborhoods and example. There's a
place in New York which used to be swamp in which someone built something called Freedomland that was like Disneyland was a big tourist attraction which was a financial disaster. I don't stayed open two years and unfolded. And someone had the idea this be a great place to build middle income and lower middle income housing not governmental private development. So the thing is approved about five years ago it's now finally open in the summer. By July we're going to have something like 10000 families living in this housing complex. They don't have adequate recreation facilities. They don't have adequate transportation. There is not a decent hospital in the area to service the people in five years. That neighborhood whoever is going to have to run the city has a nightmare because that housing was built just to put up housing. And you know you just can't build the model cities approach has to apply to it the same way there. That is part of it they needed transportation planning. They needed
recreation planning they don't have a teenage problem there within two years it's going to be unbelievable. Yet they still went ahead and built it. It's it's a it's a reason I didn't spend longer on the answer and probably should have but I see as your model cities is important it's one of few things that gives you hope in trying to change a city. Some say that cities like New York cannot be governed. Doctor got a raw head of New York's urban task force responded. Well I don't buy that. I mean there are days when I pretty much agree with it but I I think one of the things that happened. It depends what you're going to say is governable you know just you never ever going to say whether this is governable that is the man who was mayor before John Lindsay was mayor for 12 years and his way of governing the city. I don't think you can govern the city the way he did anymore. Even if you wanted to. But his way of governing it was to admit all the time it
was on governing. That this is a monstrous place that nobody can run it but I'm a good guy. Anybody else can. So you know you've got problems but don't worry I won't let the city burn down. Sixty four in his last year in the city almost burned not because of his inability to govern. But more his. The changing times. And the fact that something had to be done someone had to try to make change. There isn't enough time to really go into Iraq. Some of the reasons we haven't succeeded in New York is we've just been clearly have not done what we should have done. Someone described this recent teacher saying. We had a group of young girls in from some private schools some private. 16 17 year old girls of senior class come down to City Hall and very rich very
social young girls from New York but deeply interested in the problems of the city. And we're sitting there talking to them about John Lindsay and what we're trying to do in New York. And. One of them raised the question about the school thing and somebody was talking about trying to very much offend our position. Which I think is defensible. But in some areas it's very troublesome to the Fed. And one of the mayor's young assistants probably his brightest assistant a young 27 year old lawyer by the name of Jake Kriegel. Just looked up and he said I would say for you young girls talking about government that the recent teachers ahead are handling. Of the teachers strike and made the racial issue which is growing out of it was not exactly the best example in effect of municipal administration. I think that was another statement. If anything I've learned I'm actually Bunty isn't always right. We have the teachers but.
I think it is governable. I think that the complexity of the political situation in New York I think we've learned I don't think New York can because. The city can become a nonpartisan type of government which is what we really were hoping for the mayor was hoping for. The way pretty much the way Los Angeles and some large cities are it is just too politicized the city to really change it. So with that and with that in mind you then have you. A Republican mayor. Whose greatest strength is not Republicans. Clearly his greatest strength is with the independent voter in New York City was it which is Democrats are elected with a city council president a controller. And also a full city council. On the other side. Eight or 10 of them from the minute that we got in. The term that they want to be mayor four years from now. So now all the guys who we've been dealing with for
four years now are declaring and jumping into a Democratic primary to run for the the. The winner winds up with a prize of being mayor in New York which I. I just I would have to question the sanity of all television. I mean I think the cities are governable. I think that the terrible thing is is that. The federal government's attitude congressional attitude. And not being responsive to the problems of our cities and it's clear they haven't been. It's questionable whether they will be that their attitude has made it very difficult. To be a John Lindsay. If you're going to after your talk. You know your dialogue or your communication. Or you're going to have to give us police. And what are you really talking and going through all of these things. That's why one of the factors that the mayor considered in determining whether he should or should not run again
one of the factors weighing against his running again was a very good friend of his I have an Allen has decided not to run again. And Alan does not have political troubles. Alan has just. Had it. He doesn't want to run for any higher office really from the way the mayor of Maryland has told me the story. But he's just had it being a buffer between change that you know he never should and must come. And resources which are in Washington which will not give him the money to do what you desperately need in your communities are a de-centralized service oriented structure. We caught a neighbor at City Hall in New York a neighborhood something neighborhood something center is what they call him in Atlanta. Ivan Allen sentiment has a. Neighborhood service centers I think there in Atlanta. I think that's very necessary. The problem is that we've gone from a system where we had a nice neat structure somebody who lived in a neighborhood had a problem went into a store and usually had happened to be a democratic
clubhouse. This problem then was transmitted down a line from a city councilman to the mayor to the agency which then responded to that need that service what happens now is we've got no store for anybody to go into. We've got a city councilman whose office they can go into but he can't get to the services because he's fighting Lindsay because Lindsay is the other party. So what you've got is a man who's got the service can't get it out into the community. My mind is that our fight over school is going to be nothing compared to when we start talking about some of the other decentralization. But if you're going to have to make if you're really going to try to run your city you bring in experts and which the mayor isn't. But you bring in governmental experts ranging from the Rand Corporation to this world any other kind of management experts and I tell you how things have to be to run and then you try this term and that's what you're going to do. Why don't you fight to do that. Thank you very much. It's.
Thank you. Dr. Barry gotra director of the urban task force of New York City answering questions during the Wake Forest University symposium on contemporary American affairs Jalan 69. This program was the last in a series of nine programs on the theme the urban crisis the students response Jalan 69 was produced entirely by Wake Forest University students. The executive director of Jalan 69 was Norman Murdock the associate director was our show and this radio series was produced by the staff of the WFTDA FM Wake Forest University Radio in Winston-Salem North Carolina. This is an E.R. the national educational radio network.
- Episode Number
- #9 (Reel 2)
- Contributing Organization
- University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
- AAPB ID
- No description available
- Social Issues
- Media type
- AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 69-30-9 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
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- MLA: “Challenge 69: The urban crisis; #9 (Reel 2).” University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. December 4, 2023. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-f7668010>.
- APA: Challenge 69: The urban crisis; #9 (Reel 2). Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-f7668010