Mayor John Lindsay
Manhattan Borough President Harlem Revitalization Plan
Contributing Organization
WNYC (New York, New York)
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In this, the 2nd Conference of the Borough President of Manhattan, Borough President Constance Baker Motley discusses the third point in her seven-point plan to revitalize Harlem. As the third point focuses on procurement of federal funds for the revitalization effort, she invited the recently elected Mayor John Lindsay, Senator Robert Kennedy. Congressman William Fitts Ryan, Congressman Adam Clayton Powell Jr., and Senator Jacob Javits, all of whom endorse Motley's proposal and speak to varying depth about the federal programs available to Harlem, in particular the importance of extending poverty relief plans in use in rural areas to use in urban areas like Harlem. A short question-and-answer question follows.
George Gregory welcomes the attendants of the 2nd Conference of the Borough President of Manhattan. He introduces Constance Baker Motley. Motley thanks the attendees - public officials and citizens. She mentions each of the day's speakers by name. She mentions the meeting of 9/29/1965 in which 100 members of the Harlem Community adopted a 7-point revitalization plan for the section of Manhattan encompassing 110th St. and 155th St. The first point of the plan was the allotment of $250,000 for the development of a master plan for Harlem. The allotment was rejected and then granted. They ultimately received $700,000 through the mayor. The point of the day's conference is to focus on federal support. She see rehabilitation as a means of desegregating Harlem. She stresses the importance of the open society (rather than the safety of the ghetto). She mentions the breadth of her plan, well beyond housing, and including local input. Opportunity for new businesses is another point. Provision for desegregated housing for the displaced is another. She declines to discuss all seven points. The third point - the use of federal funds is the focus of the day's discussion. Future conferences are planned for the other points. She argues that the effort is not too massive to undertake, recounting the United States' achievements. Gregory introduces Mayor Lindsay. Mayor Lindsay thanks Motley for the meeting and acknowledges her plans for Harlem as sound. He stresses his need to learn. He mentions the importance of housing and construction in his administration. He talks about the creator of the poverty program in New Haven - focusing on jobs and education - and housing expert from Boston, both of whom will be working in New York City under Lindsay via a Ford Foundation grant. Lindsay's speech ends. Gregory introduces Robert Kennedy. Kennedy argues for changes (in the approach to revitalization). He feels the place to start is in New York City. He discusses some of the things affecting the plight of African Americans. He thanks various members in attendance - education, housing, health and more. He argues for integration, while accepting patience. Kennedy has suggestions for what to do. Kennedy feels education is the most important factor. Kennedy worries that much potential has been lost, even very early on. He feels better school will result from changes in residential patterns. He argues that the drop-out rate is affected by the lack of employment. He talks about his jobs program in summary form. -Stop thinking of the poor of Harlem as liabilities. -Are there jobs that need to be done? Cities need to be rebuilt. These needs are an opportunity. 1. Priority in jobs in areas that need to be rebuilt should go to people who live in those areas. 2. public and private training should concentrate on-the-job training 3. education should be connected with the rebuilding effort 4. rebuilding should focus on creating communities. 5. social service programs should be integrated in the rebuilding process 6. with the building as a base, occupational opportunities should be available in related industries. 7. The business community should participate. 8. Labor unions and universities should participate as well. (John Lindsay leaves, Kennedy's speech is paused.) 9. state and local government must contribute. The most important aspect is the leadership of the African American community and their leaders. He discusses the example of uplift programs in Washington DC. He cites Daniel Burnham - "make no little plans..." in closing his speech. Gregory introduces congressman William Fitts Ryan. Ryan thanks the attendees. He discusses the almost "beastial" state of the City and also the hope that he sees for rebuilding communities, particularly New York. He praises Motley's 7-point program and notes the progress it has made thus far. He talks about Johnson's state-of-the-union speech, particularly the portions concerning urban development. He talks about the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which had just been formed, and using it to administering federal aid. He discusses the lack of congressional interest in US cities. Harlem is not allowed to participate in the "depressed areas" aid that congress administers; he argues that the law be amended. He notes a lengthy list of the tools available in rebuilding Harlem that are currently underutilized - the 1965 Housing Act, "Title 1" , the rent supplement program, among others. New housing should be dispersed. Education and jobs programs are discussed. He talks about local administration of rebuilding projects. He discusses public civic centers that could be part of Harlem's revitalization. Physical rebuilding is only part of the task. Economic and Social measures must be taken. The (similar to) Appalachia Program he foresees would help change Harlem. Gregory introduces Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Powell starts by telling jokes. He discusses his time in Harlem, past, present, and future and how it is part of his identity. He talks about the importance of having African Americans as part of the process - no one but African Americans can speak for African Americans. He does not see Harlem as a ghetto, given how much they have overcome. He discusses some of the demographic make-up of Harlem, and its unique characteristics. He notes that crime has risen more in the suburbs than in Harlem over the past two years. Powell talks about available federal funding for work in inner cities, some he has worked on as a congressmen. He equates "urban renewal" with "black renewal." He discusses the sizable welfare program that does not find jobs for African Americans. He talks about the problems with federal definitions of "distressed areas" to only include rural areas, as in South Dakota, rather than urban ones, like Harlem. He urges that the people of Harlem make themselves heard. Gregory introduces senator Jacob Javits. Powell can be heard in the background. Javits jokes about Powell's loquaciousness and praises Powell's work. He argues that America is beginning to care about African Americans where they did not before. He praises Motley's efforts and his happiness at the response to her program. He sees Harlem demanding action more than speeches in recent years. Javits endorses Motley's 7 point program. He talks about the "rent supplement program," and Congress's failure to fund it. He talks about New York's delegation and their role in political bargaining, using it as leverage for inner cities. He talks about housing discrimination. He discusses the inadequacy of moving allowances from areas undergoing urban renewal. He desires to see a common cause made with all neighborhood organizations that are struggling, more than just Harlem. He talks about how under-considered costs of living are in urban areas when it comes to aid. He closes by stressing that these efforts can be won. Gregory asks for questions about Motley's seven point program for Harlem. (question inaudible) - Gregory answers about the pace of the effort that will be made (question inaudible) - Congressman answers the question about Head Start. (statement barely audible) - possibly regards availability of credit and credit unions (question inaudible) - Motley answers a question regarding involvement. (question inaudible) - Motley discusses the importance of more than just public housing. Program ends
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Event Coverage
Harlem (New York, N.Y.); Urban renewal.; City planning.; Integration, Racial.; Inner cities--New York (State)--New York.; Civil rights.; Education; United States. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development
Owner/Custodial History: Municipal Archives; Acquisition Source: Municipal Archives; Terms of Use and Reproduction: Municipal Archives
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: Lindsay, John V. (John Vliet)
Speaker: Kennedy, Robert F., 1925-1968
Speaker: Javits, Jacob K. (Jacob Koppel), 1904-1986
Speaker: Ryan, William F., 1922-1972
Speaker: Motley, Constance Baker, 1921-2005
Speaker: Gregory Jr., George
Speaker: Powell, Adam Clayton, Jr., 1908-1972
AAPB Contributor Holdings
Identifier: 92383.1 (WNYC Media Archive Label)
Format: BWF
Generation: Transcription disc
Duration: 02:11:43
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Chicago: “Muni; Mayor John Lindsay; Manhattan Borough President Harlem Revitalization Plan,” 1966-02-17, WNYC, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed October 16, 2019,
MLA: “Muni; Mayor John Lindsay; Manhattan Borough President Harlem Revitalization Plan.” 1966-02-17. WNYC, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. October 16, 2019. <>.
APA: Muni; Mayor John Lindsay; Manhattan Borough President Harlem Revitalization Plan. Boston, MA: WNYC, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from