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Urban confrontation and analysis of the continuing crises facing 20th century men in the American city. Do you think that in our high school tax our history text that someday in the years say 2050 young people will be studying about the second American Civil War. They may be and if they do that is if it occurs and if say at 2050 it's being discussed in the American textbooks and I schools I think you'll get a very distorted view of it. I think it will say that in the year one thousand seventy five the black population revolted that the white population out of concern for law and order put down this rebellion or arrested the leaders of it placed them into detention centers for the good of the country. And that in a matter of months peace reigned in the whole United States and since then the black population has been confined to these detention centers that armed troops have stood guard in American cities since then. And what will have happened is that a real and I actual police state will have evolved in the country.
Recorded guest is Julian Bond member of the Georgia state legislature and a nominee for vice president at the 1968 Democratic convention. Who will discuss civil war in the cities. Can it happen. Here is your host Mr. Boehner. You're driving along in your car right now listening to this radio program or you're sitting in your home. Well if that car or that home is in the middle of an American city then you don't need me to tell you that the American city is in an increasingly hostile place to live in. At the start of the 1970s our guest today is a black man from one of America's largest urban centers. Julian Bond of Atlanta Georgia. Mr. Bond first question what do you see as the most pressing problem threatening the American city today. I really think it's a combination of two things at first the racial clash the clash between the black people who have been and are migrating to the cities in large numbers
and the white people who were in the cities and who are now leaving in large numbers. And secondly it's the economic crisis which is both a part of and separate from the crisis and race. It is a part of the crisis which is amplified by the people who deny cities aid both in state legislatures and in the federal government as part of the crisis which results from the tremendous burden of services which any modern American city tries to give to its its constituents and its citizens. So I think it's a combination of those two things. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development George Romney recently stated that President Nixon has placed the city's third on his list of priorities after Vietnam after inflation now. Can these cities afford to wait for a freeze in the economy or a thaw in the Vietnamese negotiations in Paris. You know I think just as with the problem of race that any additional day that has to be waited for some kind of relief is a day too long but given the nature of the administration
in Washington and given those kinds of priorities I guess they will have to go there. People in the cities of all colors social and economic classes already taxed beyond belief. Desperately need relief. Property taxes are rising and I don't think they can wait longer than they have waited already but they may have to wait longer than they waited already given the nature as you stated of the government in Washington. What about that nature what is in your interpretation the response of the Nixon administration to urban problems. Well it's an anti response and that is the responses are exactly as secretary Romney has detailed them to concentrate on ending the war in Vietnam certainly the number one problem facing this country. And then to halt what Mr Nixon sees as a rising tide of inflation and then thirdly come to cities and I think again given that kind of priority not just from the Nixon administration but quite probably from the Johnson and Kennedy administrations as well although with different choices as number 1 and 2.
It places the urban centers in this country and here I think we're not talking just about the mass to cities the New Yorks and Chicago's Detroit's and the Philadelphia's and Los Angeles but even the smaller towns and cities in this country who are beginning to suffer from the same kind of things I think they will just have to wait and try to muddle through as as best they can and they're doing it rather poorly now and probably will do it even in a more poor fashion in the future. We've talked about the next Senate ministrations response to Urban Affairs. I think we could perhaps describe them also as a lukewarm on progress in the civil rights field one of the most important ingredients in the urban affairs problem. Would you agree. Oh yes I think what the Nixon administration has done in the south in the rural south predominately was a question of school integration and this has its effect on the urban centers the continued migration of untrained and unemployable people not just black people for that matter but white people as well who stream into the big cities all over the country not just the Detroit and Chicago's but the Atlanta's in Birmingham's and Jackson Mississippi.
All of these have in many ways a southern route. But the fact that schools in rural Mississippi are both segregated and poor schools has I think a direct effect on the quality of life that people eat in Chicago. It is the people who are the products of the Mississippi school system who end up in Chicago looking for a job and who cannot find it. It is the people who might have stayed in Mississippi had there been an equal opportunity for them to find gainful employment in the few industries in the state of Mississippi who come to Chicago and who swell the relief Rose who become part of the crime statistics. It is the people in New York City for that matter who were there a unitary and integrated school system and a decent school system in the city of New York who might then find gainful employment upon completion of high school but who do not and therefore become part of the urban crisis so there is a direct relationship I think between the quality of racial life or the quality of life as regards race in this country and to the problem of the cities just as there is that relationship between
the war and the vast amount of money spent in it and the quality of life in the cities. John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson raised the hopes of black Americans whether they live in the urban center of Chicago or Los Angeles Boston New York. What will happen if the Nixon administration is unable to fulfill those hopes raised by the two prior presidents. Well I don't think he suffers as much from the raising of those hopes as he might have that is to say that I get a feeling that black people all over the country in urban centers and in rural parts of the country are realizing that a great many of these hopes were forlorn hopes and that they had disappointment in Nixon does not stem directly from a disappointment in those hopes or from a feeling that those hopes will not be fulfilled I think those hopes were at least begun to be dashed by the end of the Johnson administration so we're in a period now of no hope. I think there's likely to be a black life if you will of no hope which results more from the inaction of the present administration
than it does from the over promises of the last two that I think they have sort of worn themselves out. Do you feel that blacks have given up on Richard Nixon. I think so it's not to say that were he to. Evolve helpful social program or were he to become much more aggressive in pursuit of civil rights that he. His efforts would not be appreciated but I think it is to say that no one expects him to do these things and since no one expects him to do these things you are not disappointed when he true to course does not do that. But doesn't this give him so much more flexibility so much more maneuverability sense. No one expects him to do these things he can choose when to do and when not to do. But it may well give him that his staff members were often heard to say in the early months of his administration that since labor unions had not supported Richard Nixon he was free to deal with the question of labor unrest in a more honest way and since black people have not supported him. He again was freer to deal with the problems of black people in a more honest way. But I think this
freedom has given him really the freedom to do nothing you can see. In his whole handling of racial questions the shilly shally ing the delay and equivocation in the south with school integration which is part and parcel of the whole administration and I just want to recalcitrant officials in the Justice Department. You can see it with his approaches toward compliance. Contracts which have to be signed by federal industries. I think the one sign of hope that you have seen from the next administration does come from his stance and labor questions where the secretary of commerce has imposed upon construction trade unions in the city of Philadelphia. Sort of a low quota. That is not saying that they have to hire as many as 400 black people per every two thousand workers if thats the figure but rather that they must hire at least so many black people per several thousand workers and to begin to work up for it from that figure. Now that was done I think precisely because Richard Nixon had no owed no allegiance to labor unions in this country and perhaps
maybe even a little feeling of wanting to get back at labor unions in this country. But on the other question is the question of the cities where he received almost no political support on the question of black people where 95 percent of the black population voted Democratic for Vice President Humphrey. I haven't seen any indication that if he does feel freer to act he's going to act. Let's take a look at another trend Julian for a moment the Qana Commission report released in March of 1968 pointed out that in the opinion of those on the commission the United States was moving toward two societies black out of white separate and unequal. Would you agree. I would agree and I'd say it's already happened to a large extent and I'd say it's happening even more it's happening in a psychological way now that it didn't happen and before and in many ways I think it's very helpful I do think it has some harmful effects. The helpful parts are that black communities it appears to me and this is an urban phenomenon I think much more so than a rural phenomenon are becoming much more separatist and they're saying to themselves it's not that we don't want to associate
or go to school with or work with or even live with white people. But it is that when we become a strong unit a strong group a tightly organized and tightly knit only then will be we be able to begin to deal with our problems and only then in fact will we be able to enter into a coalition with white people. So I think you see a very kind of healthy division in society which is almost necessary before the black community can deal with its a process as well as its friends on an equal basis. Well can you become politically strong and unified without becoming economically strong and unified and can the ghetto become economically strong and still avoid the intimate relationships with white society that controls the economy of the country. Well I think you can have political strength but you will quickly find that it by itself may be almost meaningless you can see in the city of Atlanta again where we have elected a black vice mayor a man of not fantastic power given the structure of the city government but where the black vote has long been sophisticated long been the balance of
power has defeated Mayors has helped elect them in the past and you see a very large black middle class. But you also see that the ghetto in Atlanta the black community which in many ways is a gilded ghetto in a very prosperous community still does not have the kind of independence of white Atlanta. The business structure in Atlanta that it ought to have to be a freely functioning unit. The decisions in the city are still made by the much despised group of people who are always referred to as the power structure of the banks the newspapers the large financial institutions. So you can have the political power that is the votes the ability to elect or defeat someone. But without the corresponding if not economic power at least economic independence I don't think the first means a great deal will pause to let our audience who may have just tuned in. No. We're talking to Joanne bond of a lot of Georgia in the studios of the American program bureau joy and I'd like now to consider the question of economic independence for the black man and his campaign of 1968
President Nixon talked about the concept of black capitalism the idea that federal money could be funneled to aspiring black businessman in the cities. Now whether this is a question of federal aid or just a local businessman pulling themselves up by their own bootstraps do you think this is a viable concept. I think it's a viable concept I don't think it's a viable concept the way he's explained it to work he has it seems to me suggested that under his notion of black capitalism that white financial institutions will invest in the ghetto and still retain control of their investment and seems to me that that is not all black capitalism but something more closely approaching white imperialism the same notion of outside control of a colony which is dependent on outside forces for its an income for its employment for. Indeed a great many of the goods and services I did receive something more proper might be independent. That is either government or private funding of black entrepreneurial efforts and the kind of funding which would allow these efforts to fail or
succeed on their own merits of course with government advice and help and guarantee loans and so on but nothing which has to retain control and I think that's what Mr Nixon suggested that you might have a black front in the ghetto. But there would be white control at the back of the store and that that's just a continuation of the kind of economic process that the Ghetto was gone through in this country for many many years. But we're talking with you Julian Bond about urban problems the problem perhaps that is number one for the United States in the 20th century the problems of the cities. I wonder Julian if perhaps you are not raising some false hopes. Similar to what LBJ and JFK did in the earlier part of the 1960s. When you talk of Black control of the economy of the ghetto. No I think if you suggest. That the black community say in Boston and Roxbury will one day completely control all of the good services and all of the finances that flow in and out of
Roxbury. Then you are raising a false hope. But if you suggest on the other hand that black communities like Roxbury like Harlem like the South Side Chicago if you suggest that these are communities which amount to colonies I think in the classic sense ought to exert certainly much much more control over themselves than they do. And I don't think you are I think you're raising a realistic political go. If you're saying that the kind of economic development which is taking place in Philadelphia which amounts almost to cooperative ownership of large shopping centers of barber shops beauty parlors the traditional small financial institutions that have sprung up in the ghetto. If you suggest that kind of operation is entirely feasible and not raising false hopes at all. If you suggest that there shall be community control of the schools and black neighborhoods I think you can see it's beginning and perhaps it's ending as well in the city of New York. But I don't think it's far reach to suggest that these things can happen. I think it may be far reach to suggest that will be total or that it will happen quickly and without a struggle. But I don't think it's a far reach to suggest that some of these things are possible and that there are workable goals and ought to be goals that
work toward by the black community. You don't think there's any possibility that we might end up in a situation similar to what they have in the Union of South Africa at least to the extent that downtown sections of cities would be black dominated but there it would be meaningless. Most industry would be out near the suburban homes where the whites would live. And for all practical purposes you'd have a de facto kind of apartheid situation where the blacks would really be roped off and kept downtown. No I'm not saying that that will not occur in fact I think you can see it occurring. What I am saying is that as that occurs at the same time I think you will have increasing pressure from those cities that will remain majority white and there will be a great many of them. Those cities which have already engaged in consolidation and metropolitan government that have become large and very diverse political units. I think you're going to see enough pressure from them and they will be the majority of American cities they are unlike Chicago and Detroit and and Boston and Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. They will be the majority of the American cities and the demand
from them one likes to hope will be so great that these useless hopes will be revitalized and again I say that may be my false hope that in a matter of years things will begin to reverse themselves and change for the better but I could see this period of de facto apartheid coming on. I'd like to believe that it would not be a lasting occurrence but it would only be a temporary aberration and that some relief would be in sight. There's a group of young blacks who are angry and perhaps will do less talking and more acting about to return to America. I'm speaking of the black soldiers that have carried so much of the war on the front lines for the United States in Vietnam. What will happen when that kind of nuts and bolts problem solving tough young black returns to the ghetto. Well I think a larger number of them than we assume is going to be caught up in just the everyday grind particularly for these young men who come back to a worse situation than they left behind a great many of them are going to be caught up in the everyday grind of simply earning a living of astonishing themselves as civilians
again starting families or continuing their families and so on. But some of them will quite obviously help to boast that they all spectrums of the movement of black people that is from the Urban League on one hand to the Black Panther Party on the other it's traditionally been so that is black veterans have come home from every war from the second world war from the Korean War and from this when you say all spectrums don't you think it will be balanced more to the left I'm sure it will. I don't think as many of the returning bike you guys will be as aggressive. Has popular thought seems to think they will I think a great many of them are going to be so glad to be free of the of the horror of Vietnam and to escape from it that they will melt into very ordinary lives. Well live ordinary lives means ordinary kinds of lives similar to the life they led before they went to South Vietnam. That would mean second class citizenship. Oh yes I'm not trying to suggest that these young men are going to be passive or that they're going to accept what comes to them. I am trying to suggest first that a small number of them are going to be much much more aggressive first than they were when they left. Secondly much
more aggressive than their older brothers. Thirdly much more aggressive than the generation that preceded them and that fought in Korea or that fought in the second world war. But there are large numbers of them are simply going to be caught up in fighting there individually their condition of second class citizenship and that we will only be a small number of them that will actively bolster the ranks of organizations on the far left as well as those organizations that are considered in the middle. I don't think the overriding concern of the masses of the black soldiers who will be returning from Vietnam is going to be the condition of the black masses in the United States that unfortunately is not the overwhelming concern of most people black or white that most people are unfortunately caught up in their own individual struggle. Join Vaughn you have the reputation of being a realist and the ultimate point that our discussion must move to now is the question of a second American Civil War. Do you think that in our high school text our history texts that some day and the years say 2050 young people will be studying about the
second American Civil War. They may be and if they do that is if it occurs and if say 2050 it's being discussed in the American textbooks in high schools I think you'll get a very distorted view of it. I think it will say that in the year one thousand seventy five the black population revolted that the white population out of concern for law and order put down this rebellion or arrested the leaders of it placed them into detention centers for the good of the country. And that in a matter of months peace reigned in the whole United States and since then the black population has been confined to these detention centers that armed troops have stood guard in American cities since then. And what will have happened is that a real and actual police state will have evolved in the country but since the history books reflect the bias of those who write them I imagine the kids of twenty fifty who read about them will be told that this was a necessary act for the United States to have done that
it resulted in the greatest amount of good for the largest amount of people and that black citizens in that year in 2050 are happy content and satisfied have accepted their status as less than equal citizens and are perfectly content to live as they do. This would be a lie. It would be but again because a great many people would believe it it would become truth. It would be the lie told so often and told so frequently and told with such backing of government that it would in fact be truth. And you believe that this kind of distortion if there were a second civil war that this kind of interpretation of it could be perpetrated and perpetuated. I would like to think not. Well frankly if a second American Civil War were to occur blacks and radical whites were put down and put in concentration camps you call them detention centers and the whole conflagration itself would represent a very sorry chapter in our history perhaps the end of the American dream the end of America as we have like to think of ourselves in the past 200 years and I can say I
completely agree but I also think that refusing to admit this refusing to admit to the dream it failed or that had been a method that it was unworkable. The country would then attempt to through its writing of history correct that error and correct the fact that millions of people in the country began to believe and knew in fact that it was not true and that's why you would have that distortion of history I think you can see it following the original civil war where the point was made that reconstruction was a terrible era in which carpetbaggers and corrupt politicians destroyed and raped the south the opposite if any is true. That decent and democratic governments reigned in that era for 10 years. Democracy meant the same thing in Mississippi during that era as it has always meant in the state of Maine and for the first time the Constitution meant the same thing all over the country but that era has consistently been lied about and it's only now that we're having a reappraisal of that or it's only now that revisionist historians are seeing the real truth of that error and making a real point about that error.
It is dangerous for the mass media to feature talk about a possible second American Civil War. The problem is one of provocation. Putting ideas in the minds of people who did not have this idea. And yet it is also dangerous to overlook and to disregard the real possibility. Or is it a possibility of a second American Civil War. Well I think there is a possibility but I don't think its result would be the same as the last one the last one was a different sort of crusade it was a crusade not just against slavery but against cheap labor as well as the economic competition of the slave states with the industrial states of the north. This revolution if it's coming up is going to be fought on different level and much more racial level than the last. You talked earlier of alliances of black radicals and and white radicals that I'm not so sure or would not like to count on the help and support of white radicals when the guns begin to fire. I would like to hope when the guns are shooting that the black population is going to find a great many allies on its side but I'd not like to go into battle believing that they're there.
And get your picture of the result whether there are white allies or not is that blacks will be put in detention centers blacks will have done a sense obviously lose any civil war. Such a minority status that they have it would be overwhelmed. That is a rather bleak picture of America both sides really would lose the winners and the losers. What can be done to avoid this result. John Lindsay recommends a hundred billion dollars. That is what is needed to avoid disaster in the American cities and that's roughly about the same as our foreign aid commitment to Europe and around the world since World War 2 It's a hell of a lot of money. I certainly think that it's money that's needed and money and vast vast sums but it's something a little more than that as well. I think it's not going to be enough just to say go and Bedford-Stuyvesant in New York and make the buildings a decent livable building it's not going to be enough just to provide employment for the unemployed just to provide maintenance for the people who cannot maintain themselves is something rather vaguer than that which is needed. It was something much broader than specific programs which help a man
lift himself up but something which high school speakers always like to call commitment the commitment of the government in Washington the commitment of the governments of the various cities and states a commitment that this country will in fact uphold the dream. It's a dream will not be a myth and that I think is as necessary if not more necessary than the vast sums of money which are quite obviously needed by all of the cities and towns and municipalities in this country. Well then you in some respects have qualified your optimism. Because we're talking about a need for money and also a vaguer but very important need for almost a spiritual commitment of Americans to solve the problems of urban poverty. And yet you spent the first 15 minutes of this program discussing how the current administration and Washington and in part reflecting the mood of America is one of lukewarm response to problems. Well maybe I am in reality a pessimistic optimist in that I had left the things I'd like to have happen in this country become the things I think might happen in this
country when in the back of my mind the bottom of my heart I know that the likelihood of that happening is very very slim. So what do we have here at the end of this program. A picture of gloom and doom or is it a picture of optimism. We'll have the audience resolve that question. It certainly is true though that at a time when it was never more necessary for America to make the American dream come true for all Americans the question of whether America will in fact make that dream into a reality for all Americans is very much undecided. But we can only hope. Julian Bond thank you very much. Thank you. Northeastern University has brought huge Julian Bond member of the Georgia state legislature and a nominee for vice president at the 1968 Democratic convention. Discussing civil war in the cities. Can it happen. The views and opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the program's host kills a far better
Northeastern University born to station. Questions I asked are merely the moderators method of presenting many sides of today's topic. Your program host has been Joseph R. Bayard Director Department of radio productions urban confrontation is produced for the office of educational resources at the communications center of the nation's largest private university. Northeastern University comments on this program or request for a recorded copy of any program in this series may be addressed to urban confrontation. Northeastern University Boston Massachusetts 0 2 1 1 find. This program was produced in cooperation with the American program hero by Peter Lance directed by Peter Robinson with technical supervision by Michael Riccio. Executive producer for urban confrontation is Peter Lance the music by fire and ice. Your announcer Dave Hammond. This is the national educational radio network.
Urban Confrontation
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Julian Bond
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Northeastern University (Boston, Mass.)
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Urban Confrontation is an analysis of the continuing crises facing 20th century man in the American city, covering issues such as campus riots, assassinations, the internal disintegration of cities, and the ever-present threat of nuclear annihilation. Produced for the Office of Educational Resources at the Communications Center of the nations largest private university, Northeastern University.
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Producing Organization: Northeastern University (Boston, Mass.)
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