thumbnail of What must be done; Self-Help
Hide -
If this transcript has significant errors that should be corrected, let us know, so we can add it to FIX IT+
Hello my name is Percy Sutton. I'm the president of the bar of Manhattan in the city of New York. For the next 30 minutes I'll be moderating a different kind of radio program. It is one of a series called What must be done. The title of these programs what must be done has two meanings. First it poses a demand for urgent solutions to America's greatest problem the crisis of the urban ghetto and the black community. But it also refers to what can be done and what must be done by you the listener because nothing stimulates action as effectively as the demand of an Arabist population. This series of programs takes as its point of departure the award winning if you love Newsweek magazine published last November the 20th on the Negro in America. Today's topic is self help members of our panel are Mr. Berkeley barrelled President National Business League of Washington D.C. Mr. Elmore Young Jr. administrative executive. Industrialization Center in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. Mr. Raymond Brown vice president freedom National Bank New York
and Mr. They had a tear of Newsweek magazine. We shall again begin by turning to Mr. Hardman out yet. Thank you Mr. Sutton. Last fall when Newsweek came out with this special issue America's greatest problem we ended up of course coming to an overall conclusion that what was needed to solve this was a total national commitment involving billions of dollars and financed in large part by the federal government. The trouble with the massive programs of the sort is that too often. One tends to lose sight of the individual involved. And today's program I hope will bring this back into focus a little bit because it is certainly true that many of the negroes living in the ghettos today are very much involved in what could be called a bootstrap operation. If I could quote just a sentence or two from the Newsweek
issue last fall I think it might help to put it in perspective. In the welter we said last fall in the welter of bitter attitudes and ideologies swirling through the black communities at least one notion strikes a powerful chord of Konqueror and above all Negroes want control of their own destinies. And I think that this matter that we're talking about today the Self Help has a great deal to do with control of one's own destiny and indeed with a simple matter of human pride. MR. Women round your vi station into the freedom National Bank One of the principal office of fleet is in the heart of Harlem in New York City for a man to help himself in any business. He's got money to be able to have access to create one day if you will tells us something about the manner by which a man wants to go in business might get credit from a bank. Your experiences at the National Bank.
Yes Mr. Sutton. We have found that the number one problem for the Negro business man is credit. We try to address ourselves to this individual the negro secure in the crate that he needs to carry on his business. Sometimes we have to go right down as we say to the nitty gritty and help him start from grassroots foundation. It's very difficult sometimes to help this man. We have to look at the total problem and try to get his business on a sound footing. We may have to sign on to his business council to give his business the type of leadership we may have to assign to this negro entrepreneur a bookkeeper CPA someone who will go in and set up sufficient financial records. Once we do this if we're not able to give him the total
assistance that he would that we find he needs we will assist we will attempt to assist him to the Small Business Administration of the interracial Council of business opportunities. This may mean that we will assign a man on his premises regularly who will assist them and help them establish records so that if he needed $5000 initially and we were able to assist him in getting this money as soon as he pays it back always in a position to renew his note. He may be in a position to secure $10000 which will give him great economic strength will help him employ more individuals and consequently I would be branded a pastor in freedom National Bank. Mr Brown we're talking about self help and I want if you kill me and a lot of other listeners I can be a member of the black community I get that in many black communities throughout this country and there are many people with him who was brash their plans a desire to be in
business but people who have never been in business and who don't have a family heritage there's talk anything about this nation we've seen so many others. Race is a relationship. People who grow up in business so that when the child takes milk from his mother he learned something about this as a child stays at the store in the afternoon he learns about this is when he grows up. It is a natural movement like a duck to water or to business. Now we know that the business community often influences the economic community the political community and the basis of being in unity is this business. How do we now get this fellow with in the press there a desire to be a businessman. Yet he has none of the skills of the businessman. How do we get in this training before we go to Freedom national gain to make application for that long. I say. Maybe let me just interrupt you Mr. Raymond Brown. We've got the president of the National Business League of Washington D.C. which is a
predominantly black business leader I wonder if I could switch from you to him to ask him Bertie Burrell Well I think with the sudden there might be some masses within the league I would hope that. We are carrying out the mandate of our current funding both off of economic opportunity and economic development ministration of commerce and that we have set up in some 13 cities of this country including New York City incidentally. Program of management training and counseling to resolve some of the bird questions that have been mentioned here we have a program to operate at three levels of education one for the totally unsophisticated person who is already in business or who might not be in business who would like to go into business. We attempt to teach him through the use of community resources such as distributed education program of our school systems.
But he said the Student Education course has been financed by the federal government for years of experience in education financed by government whereby government gives to your local school system the funds to set up courses at night. Provided you can provide I think a minimum of 10 persons and you could set up almost any cost in the community. We are using it for administrative management courses and you then pool and in addition. To counsel or a teacher that would be provided with those funds or persons in the community who will have the capability for teaching persons who are attempting to go into business in the course could last in a place from 8 to 10 weeks in some cities we have courses run for 30 weeks at the end of which town the individual has at least had a broad brush
of the fundamentals necessary to operate a business at the upper level in our courses we are teaching people who are already in business out of the better business operators which of course has been the mission as you know of the excess 901 natural myself and found that they sound materially changed much a great need still is for economic development. Capital accumulation within the ghetto it seems to be. The unmentioned cry of the black power advocates who of course view the system as being one that closed today. This is because we don't see negroes participate. Now we've got to have some immediate successes in a lot of them after this life of just a patient by that system. But we've got I have to ask. Serve the system long enough for it to occur so that you can develop within the black ghetto of this nation the kind of natural leadership that accrues to business people
we've got now less than 50000 negro businessmen in this country and we arrive at that figure rather logically using the population census data of 1960 where we discovered that the 85000 only operators and managers of an idea extraction. We we took from that. China the Chinese Puerto Ricans and probably whatever other minorities might be involved in that. We also had to take from that the architects doctors lawyers professional people so that we arrived logically if if out well that's a fact. We certainly must have in this country at least 500 down black people involved enough for new issue. There must be a feeding program a crash program. Resources propaganda. This might happen. Can I keep my country thousands of people barking at 500 pound mediately to say OK we're
affected thanks to thinking they should do it. OK $50 economy or what percentage of that 50000 would you say had risen up above the position of running candy stores on the corner laundromats and things are so small in nature and would now operate back to race where they were producing things of substance. Well less than 1 percent of that figure could be good because marginal businesses The other problem with so much of the marginal enough they operate of businesses such as as you describe any of them. We have very few manufacturers who know very little about merchandising that is mined from the ground selling for now and yet we know that that's where the promise of money is made in this country in business and that's what you need to teach and that's what you're about. That's what we have to do to good. I wonder since we're talking about factories I
do know that in Philadelphia. Yes and the biggest plans of what to do something in opp. industrialization. There are of course if the opportunity deduction position Santeria Philadelphia. I understand they have some plans for expanding into manufacturing at least certainly into textiles and coke. And we have a representative here Stanley Young administrative executive Arkenstone gestures here one of you tell us about your factory play Find be happy to. Mr. Sutton First of all as you know Reverend Sullivan initiated Opportunities Industrialization Center a little more than four years ago. This was done primarily to create jobs within our communities and we feel that we have been successful in doing so because now there are more than 70 Oh I see these across America. However we feel that there has to be a new direction in this whole civil rights movement
and that of course would be to get our people the black people in the economic mainstream of American life. Robin Sullivan gave much thought to this and decided that he would initiate a program whereby we would then develop factories before we even developed factories or put up tell you something about a little later. We started on something smaller and that was an opera rather a shopping center of which we now are developing in Philadelphia which will have 7000 stores and professional office space and 10 of these entrepreneurs will be Nick own and operated completely in the shop in the shopping center. It's known as Progress Plaza Shopping Center in the heart of the Negro community. But since we're speaking about factories I'd like to just point out that this other step that we're taking has been a completely
autonomous non federally funded program whereby we get we got six hundred fifty members of our church Zion Baptist Church in Philadelphia of which Reverend Sullivan is the pastor to invest in a program which we called Ten thirty six program. It was simply that we asked these people to put in $10 a month for 36 months to develop housing projects shopping center and facts. We have moved on all three as a matter of fact we have a 96 unit garden type apartments already developed under the 221 D3 Federal Housing Administration program. We have started our Progress Plaza Shopping Center which is a million $700000 program and I'm happy to report that we have developed and initiated two factories one an aerospace factory which we
are sub contracting from the General Electric company to manufacture electronic component parts for the aerospace industry. Now all of this was done without any public assistance but from the investments of our stockholders. What we have done is we've gone to a local bank such as Mr. Brown would have here in New York and gave them a prospect this and a cash flow to show them that we're not asking for anything but from a business standpoint we feel we have the capability of making a successful venture out of entering into this business. We didn't stop there. We went to the villagers which is a very large women's clothing firm and gave them a similar prospect this and told them that we have the capability of producing the power sewing machine operators and the management
people to run a factory to manufacture women's clothing. They were most cooperative also and gave us a contract of which now we're manufacturing skirts for them. This contract is an indefinite one and it doesn't limit us to other. It doesn't restrict us I should say from getting contracts from other firms within the country. So we're off and running Mr. sudden certainly ours. It just we're talking we're talking about self-help and you've done very goals helping yourself and you mentioned churches you know the institution here and when I was a kid we used to have a scene in the black community that fortunately we bought what we wanted we pay for what we need. And one of the wonderful things about the year in which we're living now is that people seem now to know that we're going to have to cooperate to get a number of things done. One of the things we need to cooperate with him apparently is getting the money and you've been able to do this through
Opportunities Industrialization there in Philadelphia. Tell me this how do you get that large fraternal organization that exists in the community that large church organization those large benevolent arc initiations that each exists separate and apart how do you get them to join and then pool their money so that black people in their own community will have the money at least the seed money to stock the factories to stock the banks and do the other things that make a community self-sufficient. I think you've got a good point there first of all I might point out the Zion Baptist Church in Philadelphia is one of the largest churches on the East Coast we have more than 5000 members. So of course with Reverend Sullivan as the pastor it wasn't difficult for him to garner the support that was needed to form our investment corporation. However we truly believe that we can't do it all and there has to be some initial steps from organizations such as churches or
civic and fraternal organizations to band themselves together to form some sort of investment group to do some of these things that we're doing. I say that we have to look out search out some local talent some local leaders to bring these people together and put some of our petty prejudices aside and arst special then leave you me. The black community has an awful lot of suspicions among themselves let alone what they think of Whitey right. Stop right there for me let me switch over to Berkeley by rail because that one I talked about fraternal organizations I was really talking about the Elks the Masons and the variety of paternal organizations the churches with the Baptist Methodist they at me so I and whatever they are these are methods. These are organizations from which direct money can be gotten. But the white business community does not go to particular churches or to particular banks. They go to the public at large buy sell and shares.
But too often in the black communities in the past when a black businessman got ready to get money for himself and if he couldn't get it from the church he couldn't get it from a fraternal order and he tried to go to the public as a whole. The black public did not have a lot of faith in the black entrepreneur because he had not had much experience Becky Burrell. What is the immediate future as far as you see it in getting the ability to shelves to sell shares of stock in black businesses to the black community whether the prognosis is good at the moment. I think so because we were. Revitalization of urban centers will probably weaken our fund to this country. So cities can't be permitted to carry it further than they have. Can't get increasingly black as they're doing now because the economic basis that occurs when people leave. So the citizen I have to be rebuilt and
that persons might want to live there the racial balance will be changed and of course the economic structure of that community of change this means there and that negro builders for example are going to get a bigger piece of the action as time passes. It's almost mandatory that that happened so fast it is about to be rebuilt and you leave black capabilities and certainly the pride. Themselves will not have credibility and I will forever angry black young and that will permit it to happen. So all that new combine is going to be for close to a car. The economic development of the white way placed into corporations alongside a black capability. And as that occurs we have a couple is certainly black people who have money. There might be something to deny Stuber as soon as they see the possibility for money to be made they will bet your black successes they'll be back in money
ready to invest. I say Could I ask how big is the is the pool has been the idea of black capital available to be tapped. Have you any idea. One city that is. You know my hometown I think it's it's the city where we probably have the highest per capita income of any city we have a negro bank and that bank this are all very small and yet it's been there since 1934 there's only 17 billion dollars invested in that might at the moment. We know that there's 400 million invested quite financially. Touche. Saying my financial institutions will not be interested for example in placing money in the search of course which is so much more meet that need financing their own discrimination placing way into the banks unless they can't possibly expect
it makes money. I'm glad I took the latter bet and black power after these times that we have means that black people. The blasphemy actually officially be available. Bless you. Certainly we have a situation and you have 400 million dollars in Washington alone but. Right now let's me you said that there's a bank in Washington has only 16 17 million dollars in it. Now I wonder if I could turn the media in now to Raymond Brown who is the vice president of Freedom National Bank here in New York where I know an aggressive campaign has been conducted to bring black money into a black bank in that black bank it has been sponsoring a number of black businesses. Does this have to do something have something to do with how aggressive the bank is itself. I would definitely say so Mr. Sutton. I work for another bank in the south
which I haven't been in Dar al Carolina. Now the mechanics and farmers and there have been somewhat of a struggle as you are. But I think the freedom National Bank. Being located in a city such as New York City all things are not glorious in New York City as we are led to believe and there is a struggle we have to fight for what we get in New York City. Mr. Hodges our president has taken unto himself the right to roll up his sleeves and go out and fight and he makes each of us on the staff and on the payroll do the same. I'm very fortunate to our feeling each Saturday morning with a group of black ministers and you better start ISON area. These ministers are. Function under what is known as Operation Breadbasket Operation Breadbasket. It's under the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. But these ministers in the better Sarrasin area and from Long Island it's a national
organization. We are putting pressures on the large corporations and they are forcing the large corporations to invest money in the ghetto areas invest money put money into the black banks. And if the presidents and vice presidents of a large corporation fail to see the problems that exist in the larger in the in the ghetto areas I'm speaking specifically of better stars and Harlem because I know more about those two areas to the present time we take them on a tour and show them what's happening in the area. And let them know what they can do as individuals and what their corporations can do to help our people. The businessmen in the area and also the people who are desirous of obtaining mortgages in the area. So I guess Ray Brown what we're talking about is where these prison in the bank are running a black business in a community that black man if he's going to make a success of
it has to not only have the tools to work with that is he has to know this business yes and no accounting yes and no merchandising but a part of it has to be salesmanship tool yes to go out and sell his business and you know here in New York City a Teach me I meet with businessmen in particular there is a group that meet at a leading hotel in New York City they meet once a month and each of them represents a different business one is an insurance broker one is a lawyer one is an interior and they meet for the purpose of exchanging as between themselves favors each one comps to see what he can do for the other. And during the course of the month they call it the good deeds club but they're supporting each other do we have any such organizations exist in the black community may I have we advanced that far out of the anti-trust Department heard about those meetings. Let it be does it bring it inside. We advance that far we have only three minutes left and I want to get the answers to so many things have we advanced that far that we are able to do this just yet. I don't
think we have advanced that far the closest our organization I know operating that way is Operation Breadbasket where they do bring in on the individual of the group in Brooklyn. We do have insurance man the bank is represented in law as a representative. We also have members of a professional fund raisers represented there we get together to exchange ideas as to how we can better help ourselves and our members of the other East can help us and without violating the laws which rioted said giving our business to exclusively and reaching contract to exclude others writes self-help. Yes son let me just bring in something before we close because I know the family want to know how they can participate to become involved in this and I think one of the things that we must do throughout America is to have our own people up tain from any source possible. Seed money to begin these operations. Also they have to again know how as fast as possible and except consultation of
services without any strings attached of course to maintain their autonomy and self-help programs. I think that too low we have spent in being brainwashed at all that we have to do has to be from experienced personnel. But if we wait for that we'll never get off the ground. We were inexperienced in our program when we began but we gain it as we're going along it but we have people holding our hands helping us and I think we have to learn to do this and accept this help from wherever it can come from. Raymond Brown I think certainly we should join hands and encourage other people other members of the black race to join hands out confidantes help faith. And I think once we do this we can go with a united front to the white merchant who is operating in our area and demand that he also participate and function and identify himself with our organizations in our given community where we know he makes his money.
What must be done
Producing Organization
WLIB (Radio station : New York, N.Y.)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/500-vd6p463q).
Other Description
For series info, see Item 3635. This prog.: Self-Help. Osborn Elliott; Berkeley G. Burrell, pres., National Business League; Elmer Young, Jr., Opportunities Industrialization Center; Raymond Brown, Freedom National Bank, New York
Social Issues
Media type
Embed Code
Copy and paste this HTML to include AAPB content on your blog or webpage.
Producing Organization: WLIB (Radio station : New York, N.Y.)
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 68-37-8 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:17
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “What must be done; Self-Help,” 1968-11-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed August 9, 2022,
MLA: “What must be done; Self-Help.” 1968-11-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. August 9, 2022. <>.
APA: What must be done; Self-Help. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from