Report of the National Advisory (Kerner Report 1967)

The progress from Western colonial global expansion, and the construction of American wealth and industry on the backs of enslaved Blacks and Native peoples, followed by the abrupt "emancipation" of the slaves and their exodus from the South to the Northern cities, has led us to our current divided society. Divided by economic inequities and unequal access to social resources, the nation lives in a media dream of social harmony, or did until YouTube set its bed on fire. Now, it is common knowledge that our current system of brutal racist policing and punitive over-incarceration serves the dual purpose of maintaining racial prejudice and the inequities it justifies. Brief yourself on this late-breaking development in American history here.

Report of the National Advisory (Kerner Report 1967)

Postby admin » Wed Jun 24, 2015 1:20 am

© 1968 The New York Times Company





The Commission believes there is a grave danger that some communities may resort to the indiscriminate and excessive use of force. The harmful effects of overreaction are incalculable. The Commission condemns moves to equip police departments with mass destruction weapons, such as automatic rifles, machine guns and tanks. Weapons which are designed to destroy, not to control, have no place in densely populated urban communities.

-- Report of the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders (Kerner Commission Report)

Table of Contents:

Introduction by Tom Wicker
Advisory Panels to the Commission
Professional Staff
o Chapter 1: Profiles of Disorder
 Introduction
 1. Tampa
 2. Cincinnati
 3. Atlanta
 4. Newark
 5. Northern New Jersey
 6. Plainfield
 7. New Brunswick
 8. Detroit
 Methodology
o Chapter 2: Patterns of Disorder
 Introduction
 1. The Pattern of Violence and Damage
 2. The Riot Process
 3. The Riot Participant
 4. The Background of Disorder
 5. The Aftermath of Disorder
 Notes
o Chapter 3: Organized Activity
o Chapter 4: The Basic Causes
 The 1920's and the New Militancy
 Separatism
 The Depression
 The New Deal
 World War II
 The Postwar Period
 The Persistence of Discrimination
 Revolution of Rising Expectations
 Student Involvement
 Organizational Rivalries
 The Role of Whites
 The Black Muslims
 "Freedom Now!"
 The March on Washington
 Failures of Direct Action
 New Directions
 "Black Power"
 Old Wine in New Bottles
 The meaning
o Chapter 5: Rejection and Protest: An Historical Sketch
 Introduction
 The Colonial Period
 The Revolution
 The Constitution and the Laws
 Discrimination as Doctrine
 The Path Toward Civil War
 Civil War and "Emancipation"
 Reconstruction
 The End of Reconstruction
 Segregation by Law
 Booker T. Washington
 The Niagara Movement
 The Federal Government
 East St. Louis, 1917
 World War I
 Postwar Violence
o Chapter 6: The Formation of The Racial Ghettos
 Major Trends in Negro Population
 The Growth Rate of the Negro Population
 The Migration of Negroes From the South
 The Concentration of Negro Population in Large Cities
o Chapter 7: Unemployment, Family Structure, and Social Disorganization
 Recent Economic Trends
 Unemployment and Underemployment
 The Low-Status and Low-Paying Nature of Many Negro Jobs
 The Magnitude of Poverty in Disadvantaged Neighborhoods
 The Social Impact of Employment Problems in Disadvantaged Negro Areas
 Note: Calculation of Nonwhite Subemployment in Disadvantaged Areas of All Central Cities
o Chapter 8: Conditions of Life in the Racial Ghetto
 1. Crime and Insecurity
 2. Health and Sanitation Conditions
 3. Exploitation of Disadvantaged Consumers by Retail Merchants
o Chapter 9: Comparing the Immigrant and Negro Experience
 The Maturing Economy
 The Disability of Race
 Entry Into the Political System
 Cultural Factors
 The Vital Element of Time
o Chapter 10: The Community Response
 Introduction
 Basic Strategy and Goals
 Programs: First Phase Actions
 Second Phase Actions
 Conclusion
o Chapter 11: The Police and The Community
 Introduction
 1. Police Conduct and Patrol Practices
 2. The Problem of Police Protection
 3. The Problem of Grievance Mechanisms
 4. The Need for Policy Guidelines
 5. Community Support for Law Enforcement
o Chapter 12: Control of Disorder
 Introduction
 1. The Initial Incident
 2. Control Capabilities
 3. The Use of Force
 4. Community Assistance in Disorder Control
 4. Danger of Overreaction
 6. Funding of Recommendations
o Chapter 13: The Administration of Justice Under Emergency Conditions
 1. The Condition in Our Lower Courts
 2. The Experience of Summer 1967
 3. Guidelines for the Future
 4. Summary of Recommendations
o Chapter 14: Damages: Repair and Compensation Amending the Federal Disaster Act
 Compensating for Individual Losses: Insurance
o Chapter 15: The Media of Mass Communications
 Introduction
 1. News Coverage of Civil Disorders: Summer 1967
 2. A Recommendation to Improve Riot Coverage
 3. Reporting of Racial Problems in the United States
 4. Institute of Urban Communications
o Chapter 16: The Future of the Cities
 Introduction
 1. The Key Trends
 2. Choices for the Future
 3. The Present Policies Choice
 4. The Enrichment Choice
 5. The Integration Choice
 6. Conclusions
 On Population Growth
o Chapter 17: Recommendations for National Action
 Introduction
 1. Employment
 2. Education
 3. The Welfare System
 4. Housing
 Conclusion
o Supplement on Control of Disorder
o Introduction
o 1. The Police and Control of Civil Disorders
o 2. Fire Departments and Civil Disorders
o 3. State Response to Civil Disorders
o 4. Army Response to Civil Disorders
o 5. Coordinating the Control Response
o 6. Legal Needs for Riot Control
o Exhibit A: Letter from the Attorney General to the Governors
• Appendices
o A. Executive Order 11365, Establishing The Commission, July 29, 1967
o B. Remarks of the President Upon Issuing an Executive Order Establishing a National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorder, July 29, 1967
o C. Excerpts From President Lyndon B. Johnson's Address To The Nation On Civil Disorders, July 27, 1967
o D. Biographical Materials on Commissioners
o E. Witnesses Appearing at Hearings of The Commission
o F. Consultants, Contractors and Advisers
o G. Staff Assistants, Secretaries and Support
o H. Report to the Commission By The Advisory Panel on Private Enterprise
o I. Special Interim Recommendations of the Commission: Letters to the President on the National Guard and on Conferences for Police and Mayors; Letters to FCC and Department of Justice
o J. A Statement on Methodology
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Re: Report of the National Advisory (Kerner Report 1967)

Postby admin » Wed Jun 24, 2015 1:21 am

Front Cover:




With 32 Pages of Selected Photographs

Back Cover

THE COMPLETE TEXT. THE FACTS BEHIND THE SHAME OF OUR CITIES, THE CRISIS OF OUR NATION! The horror of Watts was the first shattering revelation about America's racial crisis -- and a grim prelude to the future. The summer of 1967 -- in Newark, Detroit, Cleveland and across the nation -- revealed the bitter, deep-rooted dissension in our cities, the result of over 300 years of inequities.


On July 29, 1967, President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed a special commission of distinguished Americans under Governor Otto Kerner of Illinois to search for the roots of the rising militancy in our country -- and the widening gap between white and Negro Americans. Now, after seven months of painstaking investigation, here are the dramatic answers. Here are the causes of and remedies for the smoldering violence in America today.


From the special introduction by Tom Wicker

"... an extraordinary document. We are not likely to get a better view of socially directed violence -- what underlies it, what sets it off, how it runs its course, what follows ... What had to be said has been said at last ..."

This authoritative edition of the Report of the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders which you are holding in your hands includes the complete text and specially selected photographs from the Commission's records that eloquently document the urgency of this report.

Through the up-to-date resources of modern mass-market paperback book-production technique, the first printing of this low-priced 700-page edition of the Report has been made available to the public days after President Lyndon B. Johnson released it and weeks before the edition to be published by the Government Printing Office.

This vital, comprehensive report will be distributed immediately across the United States and throughout the world, in order that it reach the largest number of people in the shortest possible time. It will thus be available also to legislators, police officials, religious leaders, civic groups, school officials, government and private poverty workers and others intimately involved and affected.

The book includes a special introduction by Tom Wicker of The New York Times which interprets the report and places it in proper perspective.


This is an advance copy of the Commission's Report and is subject to revision and correction in its official version to be published by the Government Printing Office.
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Re: Report of the National Advisory (Kerner Report 1967)

Postby admin » Wed Jun 24, 2015 1:25 am

by Tom Wicker

This report is a picture of one nation, divided. It is a picture that derives its most devastating validity from the fact that it was drawn by representatives of the moderate and "responsible" establishment -- not by black radicals, militant youth or even academic leftists. From it rises not merely a cry of outrage; it is also an expression of shocked intelligence and violated faith.

President Johnson, in appointing his Commission on Civil Disorders on July 27, 1967, was severely criticized for its moderate character. Where, the critics demanded, were Stokely Carmichael, Floyd McKissick, Martin Luther King, such white radicals as Tom Hayden or such fiery evangelists as James Baldwin?

How could the Commission's report be comprehensive or acceptable without the participation of such men? The inclusion of Senator Edward Brooke of Massachusetts and Roy Wilkins of the NAACP hardly answered the question; they represented inter-racial moderation, not radical militance.

But just as it sometimes takes a Hawk to settle a war -- Eisenhower in Korea, De Gaulle in Algeria -- so did it take bona fide moderates to validate the case that had to be made. A commission made up of militants, or even influenced by them, could not conceivably have spoken with a voice so effective, so sure to be heard in white, moderate, responsible America. And the importance of this report is that it makes plain that white, moderate, responsible America is where the trouble lies.

The Commission seemed an unpromising group, when it was first convened in the Indian treaty room of the Old State, War and Navy Building -- the room where Dwight Eisenhower held his news conferences and steadfastly insisted that it was none of the business of the President of the United States to endorse the Supreme Court's school desegregation decision. Even the staff director chosen by President Johnson, David Ginsburg, was a prosperous Washington attorney without visible qualifications for understanding the uneasy ghetto.

Governor Otto Kerner of Illinois, the designated chairman, had done much to integrate his state's National Guard and a tenuous racial peace had generally been maintained in Chicago during his administration; but he was not a nationally renowned figure. John Lindsay, the Republican-Liberal Mayor of New York had exhibited a deep interest in civil rights matters during his several terms in Congress, and had worked long and hard to keep his city quiet; he was clearly an asset to the Commission, and its most glamorous member.

Senator Fred Harris, Democrat of Oklahoma; Rep. James Corman, Democrat of California; Rep. William M. McCulloch, Republican of Ohio; Mrs. Katherine G. Peden, the former Commissioner of Commerce of Kentucky; I. W. Abel, President of the United Steel Workers of America; Herbert Jenkins, Chief of Police in Atlanta, Ga.; Charles B. Thornton, the Chairman of Litton Industries, Inc.; Brooke and Wilkins -- this did not seem to be a group likely to break new social ground. What, for instance, was Harris of Oklahoma likely to know of urban affairs?

The Invisible Government, by Tara Carreon [VENKMAN BURN IN HELL]

But those acquainted with the Commission's work say that Harris of Oklahoma -- who had served earlier in Senator Abraham Ribicoff's inquiry into the problems of cities -- proved one of the ablest, most sensitive members. His long experience with underprivileged and ill-treated Indians in his home state gave him a depth of understanding that not all the other members reached.

On the other hand, Corman of California and McCulloch of Ohio, both of whom had excellent civil rights records in Congress, proved more conservative when discussion moved beyond civil rights to the social and economic questions into which the Commission inevitably intruded. Jenkins, the policeman, surprised other members with his acute sensitivity to such matters, and his progressive and compassionate approach.

The Commission broke into a rough six-five division on most questions -- Kerner, Lindsay, Harris, Jenkins, Wilkins and Brooke on the one hand, and Corman, McCulloch, Thornton, Abel and Mrs. Peden on the other.

This division went to the root of the Commission's problem. It was not that any member was against "civil rights" or "integration" as white moderates conceive of those ideas; it was rather that the six sensed somewhat earlier, more strongly and on more issues than the five, that it was necessary to go beyond these concepts to the root question of white racism -- of white refusal to accept Negroes as human beings, social and economic equals, no matter how they might feel about Negro "civil rights."

Thus, one member of the Commission steadfastly resisted advocacy of Federal "open housing" legislation. Why, he kept asking, "Can't a man sell his own house to whomever he pleases?" Ultimately, he supported the open housing section because it was softened somewhat, not because he had really changed his view. In such ways, the Commission itself reflected the inability of American society, dominantly white, to see and treat its Negro citizens fairly.

Yet, surely it must be a hopeful thing -- perhaps the one hopeful note in recent years -- that ultimately even such a divided and representative Commission could not and did not blink the fact that the single overriding cause of rioting in the cities was not any one thing commonly adduced -- unemployment, lack of education, poverty, exploitation -- but that it was all of those things and more, expressed in the insidious and pervasive white sense of the inferiority of black men. Here is the essence of the charge:

"What white Americans have never fully understood -- but what the Negro can never forget -- is that white society is deeply implicated in the ghetto. White institutions created it, white institutions maintain it, and white society condones it."

But if it is hopeful that a group of representatives of those institutions and that society could recognize unanimously this central and devastating fact, there is nothing hopeful at all about the fact itself. What kind of program can be advanced to cope with the sheer humanness of racism?

Conceivably the nation could continue its present failing efforts toward an integrated society, including the present proportion of its resources devoted to social and economic programs; or it could abandon integration as a goal and commit increased resources to "enrichment" of life in the ghetto -- thus presumably making it bearable without producing violence against white society.

The first of these is hopeless: not only will it tend to produce more and more ghetto violence but it is an obvious fraud, in terms of its ability to produce anything like integration. As the Commission points out, if achieving that goal is difficult now, what will it be when the Negro population of the central cities has risen from the present 12.5 million to the 21 million projected for 1985?

The second course is rejected here with equal frankness, as simply another method of producing a permanently divided society. For who can deny what is insisted upon in these pages: "In a country where the economy and particularly the resources of employment are predominantly white, a policy of separation can only relegate Negroes to a permanently inferior economic status."

Having thus disposed of both white "moderation" and black "separatism," the Commission concluded that the only possible course for a sensible and humane nation was "a policy which combines ghetto enrichment with programs designed to encourage integration of substantial numbers of Negroes into the society outside the ghetto."

But -- even with the best of will -- what a monumental prescription this is. In 1910, 91 percent of American Negroes lived in the old South; by 1966, while the Negro population had doubled to 21.5 million, the number living in metropolitan areas had risen to 14.6 million and the number living outside the South had increased eleven-fold to 9.7 million. That is what created the black ghetto but by now, natural increase has replaced migration as the major cause of Negro population growth in the cities -- and almost all Negro population growth is taking place in the cities.

In combination with an almost equally rapid white exodus from the cities, these statistics mean that one-third of American Negroes live in our 12 largest cities (two-thirds of non-Southern Negroes).

Obviously, this is not a situation that can be reversed or even substantially changed in a short period of time; one has only to contemplate the controversies over bussing students from the ghetto to white neighborhoods, and vice versa, and the not infrequent white violence that results when a Negro moves into white man's country.

While the slow process of dispersing the residents of the ghetto -- which, for all practical purposes, has not even been started -- goes on, therefore, something also is going to have to be done about the grinding life of the urban poor -- a life documented by this Report in terms both harsh and heartbreaking. Because the brutal fact is that for millions of Negroes now living, and perhaps for some unborn, the ghetto is all they are ever going to know.

What the Commission recommends -- from specifics on jobs, housing, schools, police procedures, newspaper practices, to large abstractions like community attitudes -- is best told in the Commission's own words, backed by its own accounts of its findings. But it is again of the highest importance that these recommendations come from the moderate establishment.

I have discussed a number of excluding – as well as including – practices within the political parties (Dahlstedt, 2005). I will here briefly outline three of these mechanisms and thereafter discuss the question of the representatives’ own agency in terms of “identity politics”.

• One of the aspects of exclusion involves the “rules of the game” and conventions that regulate political party life.
• Another aspect of exclusion involves access to the different kinds of contacts and networks within the parties.
• A third aspect involves a set of stereotyped representations of “immigrants”, which at times have discriminatory consequences.

Referring to Pierre Bourdieu (1991), political parties can be seen as parts of a broader “political field”, intersected by relationship- and conflict patterns between a number of forces and actors in distinct positions on the field. The actors are part of a struggle for space on the field as well as support from the electorate. Their conduct is governed by the structural conditions of the field and the specific “rules of the game”. That continuous and constant struggle on the field, however, also has a number of symbolic dimensions.

Certain actors are always thought to have the preferential right of interpretation – the possibility to make “their” starting points and “their” jargon the norm within a certain organisation. Organisations are therefore not “neutral” fields, where individual actors are encountered on equal terms, but are structured according to principles that give them unequal starting positions. In that respect, the political field manifests a certain “mobilisation of bias”. “There is”, as James March and Johan Olsen (1989: 47) verify, “a tendency for large, powerful actors to be able to specify their environments, thus forcing other actors to adapt to them”. March and Olsen note that these unequal relationship patterns tend to have something of an ethnic dimension, as organisations are often formed by those ethnic groups that are present. It was clear from the discussions that I have conducted with political representatives in different parties and parts of Sweden that one crucial aspect of exclusion within the political parties involves the “rules of the game”, the particular set of taken for granted conventions that regulate political party life. In addition, the rules that are set up to be “impartial” can have definite ideological subtexts, in the sense that they are, in the main, judgements that are “coloured” according to who and what is and is not “suitable” or “acceptable” within the parties. For example, as a party representative your political profile should not be “too provocative” and you shouldn’t be too outspoken or “dogmatic” about issues such as racism and discrimination – certainly not within their own party. Otherwise you actually risk sharp opposition. The “rules of the game” are therefore symbolic or ideological, although at the same time they have a material dimension. They are a result of patterns of behaviour and routines that position the representatives according to the prevailing “rules of the game”.

A second aspect of exclusion involves access to the different kinds of contacts and networks that exist within the parties. Without a widespread network of contacts it is difficult to keep up with the competition that is prevalent within the parties. Here, “immigrant” representatives easily find themselves at a disadvantage in relation to native Swedes, because as a rule they don’t have the same network of contacts within the parties. However, widespread networks outside of the parties, involving for instance various immigrant associations, may in a number of respects be a quite valuable resource for “immigrant” representatives, in terms of lobbying and securing votes from different “ethnic communities” (cf. Solomos & Back, 1995;Schierenbeck & Schütt, 2004). Such “networking” has been shown to be crucial, for example, in the nominations processes within the parties (Khakee & Johansson, 2002).

A third aspect of exclusion, finally, involves a collection of stereotypes and racialised representations of “immigrants”, which at times legitimises the treatment of the Others as “deviations from the norm”. These representations seldom seem to involve open conflicts or clearly formulated preconceived thoughts and ideas, but rather ideas mentioned in passing, without being followed up and explained. These insinuations can be difficult to get a hold of and identify, but they can nevertheless accumulate and give rise to “structures of feelings” (Williams, 1965) that are both evident and highly unpleasant for those subjected to them. According to a prevalent party image, for instance, the issue of “integration” is associated with the “immigrants” themselves, and not with Swedish society as a whole, which in many cases means that “immigrant” representatives are associated with pursuing “integration issues”. “Immigrant-ship” and “integration perspective” thus tend to become something of a political reservation to which elected representatives with “foreign background” are referred.

In conclusion, many of the “immigrant” representatives I have interviewed feel that they are constantly perceived as in some way or another deviating from a rather exclusive Swedish norm. “Immigrant” representatives, their particular “ways of being”, are thereby often defined as a “problem” within the parties, something that has to be “handled” or “overcome”. Within the political parties, Swedish society is assumed to be characterised by a “democratic ethos”. Here, democracy is, though most often implicitly, associated with “swedishness”. To the extent that “immigrants” lack knowledge of the way politics is conducted in Sweden, this is seen as a consequence of their “different culture”, not being characterised by the same “democratic ethos”. According to this “cultural deficit paradigm” (Osman, 2005), there are strong demands for “immigrant” representatives to “adapt to the Swedish norm”, to what is referred to as the specific “Swedish way” of “doing politics”.

Within the framework of this particular paradigm, there is basically no acknowledgement of the representatives’ actual competences and qualifications. They are for instance assumed to be less “socially competent” than “Swedes”. Behind this wall of representations of a collective “lack of competence”, it is often difficult for the representatives to be seen and treated as individuals of their own. By means of the recurrent characterisation of democracy as something specifically Swedish, it becomes Our job as Swedes to “enlighten” Them, the “immigrants”, and not vice versa, and to educate them to become “good, Swedish democrats”. This way of conceptualising democracy is in fact founded on a nationalist ideal of an archaic national community, which in contemporary multi-ethnic Sweden is not capable of including the whole population on equal terms....

[T]he empirical findings of the report shows that democracy in contemporary Sweden is characterised in a number of respects by a Swedish “imagined community” (Anderson, 1983). Citizens that take their place in public life, whether they are native born or from overseas backgrounds, face a number of routines, conventions and more or less taken-for-granted ideas that categorise them according to their perceived “closeness” to an imagined Swedish “normality”....

There are a number of demands and conditions that at different times and in different respects serve to structure people’s participation and action in the context of Swedish democracy. Participation is subject to certain conditions. In the “everyday life” of political parties, for instance, there are numerous examples of how “immigrants” in different situations are required to “prove” both their belonging and loyalty to Swedish society and the Swedish imagined community. They are required to “prove” that they have learned “the right codes”, that they have a proper command of the Swedish language and the “rules of the game”, that they share the fundamental principles on which the imagined community is based....

Those who make demands for change in a fashion deemed to be inappropriate in terms of prevailing party conventions always risk being excluded or silenced on ethnic grounds. Those “structuring principles” (Giddens, 1984) operating within the political parties are often presented as being based on universal or neutral premises, despite the fact that they are often, in actual fact, ethnically particular (Hall, 2000). They include by means of stigmatising and subordinating (cf. Mulinari & Neergaard, 2004). In order to capture these processes of “inclusion by means of exclusion”, I have elsewhere referred to the concept of “reserved democracy”, which denotes a political order in which a set of normative ideals and practices of “Swedishness” constitute “Immigrantship” as deviancy (Dahlstedt, 2005). “Reserved democracy” is a concept that, on the one hand, designates the privileged space of political agency reserved to Swedes. At the same time, “reserved democracy” captures the role of exclusionary processes in inducing reticent attitudes towards “mainstream Swedish politics” by “immigrants”. Those who are subject to exclusion in various situations “are denied a position as subjects from which they can plead their own case” (de los Reyes & Kamali 2005: 18). Exclusionary mechanisms in themselves constitute an affront to the dignity of those who are subjected to them. Furthermore, the distrust and negation that those subject to such mechanisms commonly encounter, “not being trusted as a subject, as someone capable of putting their own experiences into words” (ibid.), is extremely painful for those whose rights and dignity as an equal have already been violated....

Urge for substantial changes

There is today an acute need for substantial political change. Over time, democracy as the reserve of an exclusive, culturally homogeneous We, undermines democracy itself, both as idea and practice. Democracy in present day, multi-ethnic Sweden is stratified along ethnic lines in several respects. This is a fundamental democratic problem, but is at the same time also a problem of democracy. If power, as is specified in the Swedish Instrument of Government (Regeringsformen), is to proceed from the People, democracy needs to become considerably more inclusive. The ethnic hierarchies in contemporary Swedish politics and society contain the seed of an immense problem of legitimacy. Why should those who are included by means of subordination support such a regime?

From a democratic point of view, it is thus necessary that ethnic minorities themselves, through democratically elected representatives and otherwise, have better opportunities to articulate political issues and insist on changes that would otherwise probably have been silenced, marginalised or even removed from the mainstream political agenda (Phillips, 1995). In the long term, the demands and political challenges raised by various “immigrant” representatives will gradually broaden or democratise the public debate (Young, 1997; Law &Harrison, 2001). A more “fair” representation of subordinated ethnic minorities in decision-making bodies could, moreover, foster more positive attitudes toward government as well as further encourage political participation among the minority electorate (Banducci, et al. 2004).

-- The Exclusion of "Immigrants" in Swedish Politics: The Case of Political Parties, by Magnus Dahlstedt

That is because, whatever the fate of its specific proposals, the Commission has minced no words about the prime necessity:

"Only a commitment to national action on an unprecedented scale can shape a future compatible with the historic ideals of American society ... The major need is to generate new will -- the will to tax ourselves to the extent necessary to meet the vital needs of the nation."

That kind of recommendation gets little attention when it comes from "liberals" and "radicals" and "intellectual bleeding hearts"; but when it comes from men like Thornton and McCulloch and Abel and Jenkins, it is not easy to doubt the urgency of the case, the shock of the findings, the truth of the need.

And still -- this report can only provide, as its profoundly disturbed authors concede, "an honest beginning" on a task that beggars any other planned social evolution known to human history.

It can only be a beginning because, patently, until the fact of white racism is admitted, it cannot conceivably be expunged; and until it is far more nearly eliminated than this Commission -- or any fair man -- could find today, how can that great commitment of money and effort here recommended even be approached, much less made?

And in the vicious circle in which the nation is so nearly trapped, how can the conditions of life in the ghetto be improved to the point -- not merely of preventing violence -- where its present and prospective victims can have the kind of education, housing, income and social experience that, practically speaking, are the prerequisites of equality? Only by the great commitment that -- even if there were no war in Vietnam, no gold drain, no Federal budgetary crisis -- seems now so remote.

But a journey of a thousand miles, President Kennedy used to say, must begin with a single step. And perhaps that step has been taken in this Report -- this indictment.

It is, at the least, an extraordinary document. We are not likely to get a better view of socially directed violence -- what underlies it, what sets it off, how it runs its course, what follows. There are novels here, hidden in the Commission's understated prose; there are a thousand doctoral theses germinating in its statistics, its interviews, its anecdotes and "profiles."

Myths, naturally, are exploded. There was not, after all, much evidence of Negro snipers in the 1967 rioting; most of the shooting came from scared guardsmen and policemen and some of it was only fireworks. Nor was there -- as President Johnson was inclined to believe when he appointed the Commission -- an organized conspiracy. The Commission staff even ran Stokely Carmichael's comings and goings through a computer in its effort to find conspiratorial traces; in the end, the staff found lots of "incitement" -- mostly oratorical -- and no conspiracy.

The report also disposes of white middle-class insistence that if immigrants from Europe could rise from the ghetto, so could today's Negroes. As that cliche is analyzed here, the unskilled labor the black immigrant from the cotton fields can offer is in nothing like the demand that once there was for the unskilled labor of the arriving Italian, Irishman or eastern European. Moreover, the power of the urban political machine has declined for many reasons, and today's ghetto resident can exert less organized political pressure than could yesterday's.

Above all, the ghetto today is black. Since white society is far more prejudiced against black men than against mere foreigners, jobs and social acceptance are harder for them to get. Thus, precisely because today's black immigrant has less chance to "get ahead" than his white predecessor, he also has less incentive to do so.

As for the rioters -- those ominous looters and arsonists whose eruption into violence precipitated this massive study -- they tended, curiously, to be somewhat more educated than the "brothers" who remained uninvolved. By and large, the rioters were young Negroes, natives of the ghetto (not of the South), hostile to the white society surrounding and repressing them, and equally hostile to the middle-class Negroes who accommodated themselves to that white dominance. The rioters were mistrustful of white politics, they hated the police, they were proud of their race, and acutely conscious of the discrimination they suffered. They were and they are a time-bomb ticking in the heart of the richest nation in the history of the world.

But more than that, the rioters are the personification of that nation's shame, of its deepest failure, of its greatest challenge. They will not go away. They can only be repressed or conceded their humanity, and the choice is not theirs to make. They can only force it upon the rest of us, and what this report insists upon is that they are already doing it, and intend to keep on.

Thus, there is not really in these pages a rebuke to any president, any administration, any political party, any state or group of states. There is no finger pointed in scorn. Save for a tacit insistence upon the enormous role the Federal government, of necessity, must have in raising and spending the sums required, there is no preference for any political philosophy.

The Commission's members insist that they had no guidance from the White House, and suffered no restrictions by it. They went out and saw for themselves; they heard the voices of the ghetto; in a basement in Cincinnati, Fred Harris and John Lindsay were spat upon. Through 24 full days of executive session, most of them from nine in the morning until ten at night, they worked on this document.

In the end, not without dispute and travail and misgiving, in the clash and spark of human conflict and human pride, against the pressures of time and ignorance, they produced not so much a report on the riots as a report on America -- one nation, divided.

Reading it is an ugly experience but one that brings, finally, something like the relief of beginning. What had to be said has been said at last, and by representatives of that white, moderate, responsible America that, alone, needed to say it.

March 1, 1968


.... The only genuine, long-range solution for what has happened lies in an attack -- mounted at every level -- upon the conditions that breed despair and violence. All of us know what those conditions are: ignorance, discrimination, slums, poverty, disease, not enough jobs. We should attack these conditions -- not because we are frightened by conflict, but because we are fired by conscience. We should attack them because there is simply no other way to achieve a decent and orderly society in America....

-- Lyndon Baines Johnson, Address to the Nation, July 27, 1967
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Re: Report of the National Advisory (Kerner Report 1967)

Postby admin » Wed Jun 24, 2015 1:27 am


This report of The National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders responds to Executive Order 11365 issued by President Lyndon B. Johnson on July 29, 1967, and to the personal charge given to us by the President.

"Let your search," he said, "be free ... As best you can, find the truth and express it in your report."

We have sought to do so.

"This matter," he said, "is far, far too important for politics."

This was a bipartisan Commission and a nonpartisan effort.

"Only you," he said, "can do this job. Only if you ... put your shoulders to the wheel can America hope for the kind of report it needs and will take to its heart."

This has been a working Commission.

To our staff, headed by David Ginsburg, Executive Director, to his deputy, Victor H. Palmieri, and to all those in government and private life who helped us, we are grateful.

/s/ Otto Kerner, Chairman

/s/ John V. Lindsay, Vice Chairman

/s/ Fred R. Harris

/s/ Edward W. Brooke

/s/ James C. Corman

/s/ William M. McCulloch

/s/ I. W. Abel

/s/ Charles B. Thornton

/s/ Roy Wilkins

/s/ Katherine G. Peden

/s/ Herbert Jenkins
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Re: Report of the National Advisory (Kerner Report 1967)

Postby admin » Wed Jun 24, 2015 1:27 am


Chairman, Otto Kerner, Governor of Illinois

Vice Chairman, John V. Lindsay, Mayor of New York City

Fred R. Harris, United States Senator, Oklahoma

Edward W. Brooke, United States Senator, Massachusetts

James C. Corman, United States Representative, 22nd District of California

William M. McCulloch, United States Representative, 4th District of Ohio

I. W. Abel, President, United Steelworkers of America (AFL-CIO)

Charles B. Thornton, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer Litton Industries, Inc.

Roy Wilkins, Executive Director, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People

Katherine Graham Peden, Commissioner of Commerce, State of Kentucky (1963-67)

Herbert Jenkins, Chief of Police, Atlanta, Georgia




Chairman, Richard J. Hughes, Governor of New Jersey

Vice Chairman, William W. Scranton, Former Governor of Pennsylvania

Frank L. Farwell, President, Liberty Mutual Insurance Company

A. Addison Roberts, President, Reliance Insurance Company

Walter E. Washington, Commissioner, District of Columbia; Former Chairman, New York City Housing Authority

George S. Harris, President, Chicago Metropolitan Mutual Assurance Company

Frank M. Wozencraft, Assistant Attorney General In charge of Office of Legal Counsel, U. S. Department of Justice


Chairman, Charles B. Thornton

John Leland Atwood, President and Chief Executive Officer, North American Rockwell Corp.

Martin R. Gainsbrugh, Senior Vice President & Chief Economist; National Industrial Conference Board

Walter E. Hoadley, Senior Vice President & Chief Economist, Bank of America

Louis F. Polk, Jr., Vice President-Finance, International and Development General Mills, Inc.

Lawrence M. Stone, Professor of Law, University of California Berkeley
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Re: Report of the National Advisory (Kerner Report 1967)

Postby admin » Wed Jun 24, 2015 1:28 am


Executive Director: David Ginsburg, David L. Chambers, Spec. Asst.

Deputy Director for Operations: Stephen Kurzman; Lee A. Satterfield, Spec. Asst.

Assistant Deputy Director-Research: Robert Shellow, Ph.D.

Associate Director for Public Safety: Arnold Sagalyn; Paul G. Bower, Asst. Dir.

Associate Director for Program Research: Richard P. Nathan, Ph.D.

Director of Investigations: Milan C. Miskovsky; Stanley P. Hebert, Deputy

Director of Congressional Relations: Henry B. Taliaferro, Jr.

Director of Program Operations: Charles E. Nelson; Herman Wilson, Deputy; George Trask, Spec. Asst.

Director of Research Services: Melvin L. Bergheim

Deputy Executive Director: Victor H. Palmieri; John A. Koskinen, Spec. Asst.

General Counsel: Merle M. McCurdy; Nathaniel Jones, Asst. Gen. Counsel; David E. Birenbaum, Asst. Gen. Counsel; Roger L. Waldman, Asst. Gen. Counsel

Director of Information: Alvin A. Spivak; Lawrence A. Still, Deputy

Special Consultants: Robert Conot; Jacob Rosenthal

Executive Officer: Norman J. McKenzie


James D. Arthur
*Dennis E. Barrett
Patricia Bennett
Leslie Berkowitz
Eric D. Blanchard
David Boesel
*John I. Boswell
Harry M. Bratt
Louis B. Brickman
Anna Byus
Sarah Carey
Esther Carter
Theodore Chamberlain
John M. Christman
Martin J. Connell
Florence F. Conot
Bernard Dobranski
Walter Dukes, Jr.
Harvey Friedman
Geraldine L. Furth
Barbara Garcia-Dobies
Lucy Gilbert
Mildred Glasgow
Louis Goldberg
Melvin Goldstein
Luis Guinot
Harold H. Hair
William H. Hayden
William R. Hill, Jr.
Richard B. Holcomb
Andrew B. Horgan
*Isaac Hunt
Wilbur H. Jenkins
Anthony L. Jones
Hannah J. Kaiser
Robert G. Kelly
Charles E. King
Jane Korff
Karen Krueger
Carl B. Liebman
Eleanor J. McGee
Phyllis K. Mensh
Robert Moss
Barbara P. Newman
Constance Newman
Lloyd Oliver
William Oxley
Jane Pasachoff
Daniel Pearlman
Haywood L. Perry
Diane Phillips
*Thomas Popp
James Porter
John Pride
James Raschard
Norbert C. Rayford
Eleanor Robbins
Salvador A. Romero
Allen Ross
Louise Sagalyn
John K. Scales
Suzanne Schilling
Arlene Shadoan
*Prancis Sharp
*Ira T. Simmons
Shedd H. Smith
*Bruce R. Thomas
John Ursu
Leona Vogt
Steven Waldhorn
Everett Waldo
*B. J. Warren

* Field Team Leaders


Special Assistants to Commissioners: William L. Cowin; Kyran McGrath; William A. Smith; Donald W. Webb; Stephen S. Weiner

Personal Assistants: Doris Claxton: Executive Director; Vivian A. Bullock: Deputy Executive Director; Claudette Johnson: The Commission

Student Assistants

Rene Berblinger
Gerold P. Berger
John Davis
Jesse Epstein
Oliver Holmes
Merry Hudson
Elizabeth Jamison
Richard Lane
Norris D. Wolff
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Re: Report of the National Advisory (Kerner Report 1967)

Postby admin » Wed Jun 24, 2015 1:29 am



The summer of 1967 again brought racial disorders to American cities, and with them shock, fear and bewilderment to the nation.

The worst came during a two-week period in July, first in Newark and then in Detroit. Each set off a chain reaction in neighboring communities.

On July 28, 1967, the President of the United States established this Commission and directed us to answer three basic questions:

What happened?

Why did it happen?

What can be done to prevent it from happening again?

To respond to these questions, we have undertaken a broad range of studies and investigations. We have visited the riot cities; we have heard many witnesses; we have sought the counsel of experts across the country.

This is our basic conclusion: Our nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white -- separate and unequal.

Reaction to last summer's disorders has quickened the movement and deepened the division. Discrimination and segregation have long permeated much of American life; they now threaten the future of every American.

This deepening racial division is not inevitable. The movement apart can be reversed. Choice is still possible. Our principal task is to define that choice and to press for a national resolution.

To pursue our present course will involve 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 the realization of common opportunities for all within a single society.

This alternative will require a commitment to national action -- compassionate, massive and sustained, backed by the resources of the most powerful and the richest nation on this earth. From every American it will require new attitudes, new understanding, and, above all, new will.

The vital needs of the nation must be met; hard choices must be made, and, if necessary, new taxes enacted.

Violence cannot build a better society. Disruption and disorder nourish repression, not justice. They strike at the freedom of every citizen. The community cannot -- it will not -- tolerate coercion and mob rule.

Violence and destruction must be ended -- in the streets of the ghetto and in the lives of people.

Segregation and poverty have created in the racial ghetto a destructive environment totally unknown to most white Americans.

What white Americans have never fully understood -- but what the Negro can never forget -- is that white society is deeply implicated in the ghetto. White institutions created it, white institutions maintain it, and white society condones it.

It is time now to turn with all the purpose at our command to the major unfinished business of this nation. It is time to adopt strategies for action that will produce quick and visible progress. It is time to make good the promises of American democracy to all citizens -- urban and rural, white and black, Spanish-surname, American Indian, and every minority group.

Our recommendations embrace three basic principles:

• To mount programs on a scale equal to the dimension of the problems:
• To aim these programs for high impact in the immediate future in order to close the gap between promise and performance;
• To undertake new initiatives and experiments that can change the system of failure and frustration that now dominates the ghetto and weakens our society.

These programs will require unprecedented levels of funding and performance, but they neither probe deeper nor demand more than the problems which called them forth. There can be no higher priority for national action and no higher claim on the nation's conscience.

We issue this Report now, four months before the date called for by the President. Much remains that can be learned. Continued study is essential.

As Commissioners we have worked together with a sense of the greatest urgency and have sought to compose whatever differences exist among us. Some differences remain. But the gravity of the problem and the pressing need for action are too clear to allow further delay in the issuance of this Report.


Chapter 1: Profiles of Disorder

The report contains profiles of a selection of the disorders that took place during the summer of 1967. These profiles are designed to indicate how the disorders happened, who participated in them, and how local officials, police forces, and the National Guard responded. Illustrative excerpts follow:


... It was decided to attempt to channel the energies of the people into a nonviolent protest. While Lofton promised the crowd that a full investigation would be made of the Smith incident, the other Negro leaders began urging those on the scene to form a line of march toward the city hall.

Some persons joined the line of march. Others milled about in the narrow street. From the dark grounds of the housing project came a barrage of rocks. Some of them fell among the crowd. Others hit persons in the line of march. Many smashed the windows of the police station. The rock throwing, it was believed, was the work of youngsters; approximately 2,500 children lived in the housing project.

Almost at the same time, an old car was set afire in a parking lot. The line of march began to disintegrate. The police, their heads protected by World War I-type helmets, sallied forth to disperse the crowd. A fire engine, arriving on the scene, was pelted with rocks. As police drove people away from the station, they scattered in all directions.

A few minutes later a nearby liquor store was broken into. Some persons, seeing a caravan of cabs appear at city hall to protest Smith's arrest, interpreted this as evidence that the disturbance had been organized, and generated rumors to that effect. However, only a few stores were looted. Within a short period of time, the disorder appeared to have run its course.


....On Saturday, July 15, [Director of Police Dominick] Spina received a report of snipers in a housing project. When he arrived he saw approximately 100 National Guardsmen and police officers crouching behind vehicles, hiding in corners and lying on the ground around the edge of the courtyard.

Since everything appeared quiet and it was broad daylight, Spina walked directly down the middle of the street. Nothing happened. As he came to the last building of the complex, he heard a shot. All around him the troopers jumped, believing themselves to be under sniper fire. A moment later a young Guardsman ran from behind a building.

The Director of Police went over and asked him if he had fired the shot. The soldier said yes, he had fired to scare a man away from a window; that his orders were to keep everyone away from windows.

Spina said he told the soldier: "Do you know what you just did? You have now created a state of hysteria. Every Guardsman up and down this street and every state policeman and every city policeman that is present thinks that somebody just fired a shot and that it is probably a sniper."

A short time later more "gunshots" were heard. Investigating, Spina came upon a Puerto Rican sitting on a wall. In reply to a question as to whether he knew "where the firing is coming from?" the man said:

"That's no firing. That's fireworks. If you look up to the fourth floor, you will see the people who are throwing down these cherry bombs."

By this time four truckloads of National Guardsmen had arrived and troopers and policemen were again crouched everywhere looking for a sniper. The Director of Police remained at the scene for three hours, and the only shot fired was the one by the Guardsman.

Nevertheless, at six o'clock that evening two columns of National Guardsmen and state troopers were directing mass fire at the Hayes Housing Project in response to what they believed were snipers ....


....A spirit of carefree nihilism was taking hold. To riot and destroy appeared more and more to become ends in themselves. Late Sunday afternoon it appeared to one observer that the young people were "dancing amidst the flames."

A Negro plainclothes officer was standing at an intersection when a man threw a Molotov cocktail into a business establishment at the corner. In the heat of the afternoon, fanned by the 20 to 25 m.p.h. winds of both Sunday and Monday, the fire reached the home next door within minutes. As residents uselessly sprayed the flames with garden hoses, the fire jumped from roof to roof of adjacent two- and three-story buildings. Within the hour the entire block was in flames. The ninth house in the burning row belonged to the arsonist who had thrown the Molotov cocktail....


....Employed as a private guard, 55-year-old Julius L. Dorsey, a Negro, was standing in front of a market when accosted by two Negro men and a woman. They demanded he permit them to loot the market. He ignored their demands. They began to berate him. He asked a neighbor to call the police. As the argument grew more heated, Dorsey fired three shots from his pistol into the air.

The police radio reported: "Looters, they have rifles." A patrol car driven by a police officer and carrying three National Guardsmen arrived. As the looters fled, the law enforcement personnel opened fire. When the firing ceased, one person lay dead.

He was Julius L. Dorsey ...


... As the riot alternately waxed and waned, one area of the ghetto remained insulated. On the northeast side the residents of some 150 square blocks inhabited by 21,000 persons had, in 1966, banded together in the Positive Neighborhood Action Committee (PNAC). With professional help from the Institute of Urban Dynamics, they had organized block clubs and made plans for the improvement of the neighborhood....

When the riot broke out, the residents, through the block clubs, were able to organize quickly. Youngsters, agreeing to stay in the neighborhood, participated in detouring traffic. While many persons reportedly sympathized with the idea of a rebellion against the "system," only two small fires were set -- one in an empty building.


... According to Lt. Gen. Throckmorton and Col. Bolling, the city, at this time, was saturated with fear. The National Guardsmen were afraid, the residents were afraid, and the police were afraid. Numerous persons, the majority of them Negroes, were being injured by gunshots of undetermined origin. The general and his staff felt that the major task of the troops was to reduce the fear and restore an air of normalcy.

In order to accomplish this, every effort was made to establish contact and rapport between the troops and the residents. The soldiers -- 20 percent of whom were Negro -- began helping to clean up the streets, collect garbage, and trace persons who had disappeared in the confusion. Residents in the neighborhoods responded with soup and sandwiches for the troops. In areas where the National Guard tried to establish rapport with the citizens, there was a smaller response.


.... A short time later, elements of the crowd -- an older and rougher one than the night before -- appeared in front of the police station. The participants wanted to see the mayor.

Mayor [Patricia] Sheehan went out onto the steps of the station. Using a bullhorn, she talked to the people and asked that she be given an opportunity to correct conditions. The crowd was boisterous. Some persons challenged the mayor. But, finally, the opinion, "She's new! Give her a chance!" prevailed.

A demand was issued by people in the crowd that all persons arrested the previous night be released. Told that this already had been done, the people were suspicious. They asked to be allowed to inspect the jail cells.

It was agreed to permit representatives of the people to look in the cells to satisfy themselves that everyone had been released.

The crowd dispersed. The New Brunswick riot had failed to materialize.

Chapter 2: Patterns of Disorder

The "typical" riot did not take place. The disorders of 1967 were unusual, irregular, complex and unpredictable social processes. Like most human events, they did not unfold in an orderly sequence. However, an analysis of our survey information leads to some conclusions about the riot process.

In general:

• The civil disorders of 1967 involved Negroes acting against local symbols of white American society, authority and property in Negro neighborhoods -- rather than against white persons.
• Of 164 disorders reported during the first nine months of 1967, eight (5 percent) were major in terms of violence and damage; 33 (20 percent) were serious but not major; 123 (75 percent) were minor and undoubtedly would not have received national attention as "riots" had the nation not been sensitized by the more serious outbreaks.
• In the 75 disorders studied by a Senate subcommittee, 83 deaths were reported. Eighty-two percent of the deaths and more than half the injuries occurred in Newark and Detroit. About 10 percent of the dead and 38 percent of the injured were public employees, primarily law officers and firemen. The overwhelming majority of the persons killed or injured in all the disorders were Negro civilians.
• Initial damage estimates were greatly exaggerated. In Detroit, newspaper damage estimates at first ranged from $200 million to $500 million; the highest recent estimate is $45 million. In Newark, early estimates ranged from $15 to $25 million. A month later damage was estimated at $10.2 million, over 80 percent in inventory losses.

In the 24 disorders in 23 cities which we surveyed:

• The final incident before the outbreak of disorder, and the initial violence itself, generally took place in the evening or at night at a place in which it was normal for many people to be on the streets.
• Violence usually occurred almost immediately following the occurrence of the final precipitating incident, and then escalated rapidly. With but few exceptions, violence subsided during the day, and flared rapidly again at night. The night-day cycles continued through the early period of the major disorders.
• Disorder generally began with rock and bottle throwing and window breaking. Once store windows were broken, looting usually followed.
• Disorder did not erupt as a result of a single "triggering" or "precipitating" incident. Instead, it was generated out of an increasingly disturbed social atmosphere, in which typically a series of tension-heightening incidents over a period of weeks or months became linked in the minds of many in the Negro community with a reservoir of underlying grievances. At some point in the mounting tension, a further incident -- in itself often routine or trivial -- became the breaking point and the tension spilled over into violence.
• "Prior" incidents, which increased tensions and ultimately led to violence, were police actions in almost half the cases; Police actions were "final" incidents before the outbreak of violence in 12 of the 24 surveyed disorders.
• No particular control tactic was successful in every situation. The varied effectiveness of control techniques emphasizes need for advance training, planning, adequate intelligence systems, and knowledge of the ghetto community.
• Negotiations between Negroes -- including your militants as well as older Negro leaders -- and white officials concerning "terms of peace" occurred during virtually all the disorders surveyed. In many cases, these negotiations involved discussion of underlying grievances as well as the handling of the disorder by control authorities.
• The typical rioter was a teenager or young adult, a lifelong resident of the city in which he rioted, a high school dropout; he was, nevertheless, somewhat better educated than his nonrioting Negro neighbor, and was usually underemployed or employed in a menial job. He was proud of his race, extremely hostile to both whites and middle-class Negroes and, although informed about politics, highly distrustful of the political system.
• A Detroit survey revealed that approximately 11 percent of the total residents of two riot areas admitted participation in the rioting, 20 to 25 percent identified themselves as "bystanders," over 16 percent identified themselves as "counter- ioters" who urged rioters to "cool it," and the remaining 48 to 53 percent said they were at home or elsewhere and did not participate. In a survey of Negro males between the ages of 15 and 35 residing in the disturbance area in Newark, about 45 percent identified themselves as rioters, and about 55 percent as "noninvolved."
• Most rioters were young Negro males. Nearly 53 percent of arrestees were between 15 and 24 years of age; nearly 81 percent between 15 and 35.
• In Detroit and Newark about 74 percent of the rioters were brought up in the North. In contrast, of the noninvolved, 36 percent in Detroit and 52 percent in Newark were brought up in the North.
• What the rioters appeared to be seeking was fuller participation in the social order and the material benefits enjoyed by the majority of American citizens. Rather than rejecting the American system, they were anxious to obtain a place for themselves in it.
• Numerous Negro counter-rioters walked the streets urging rioters to "cool it." The typical counter-rioter was better educated and had higher income than either the rioter or the noninvolved.
• The proportion of Negroes in local government was substantially smaller than the Negro proportion of population.Only three of the 20 cities studied had more than one Negro legislator; none had ever had a Negro mayor or city manager. In only four cities did Negroes hold other important policy-making positions or serve as heads of municipal departments.
• Although almost all cities had some sort of formal grievance mechanism for handling citizen complaints, this typically was regarded by Negroes as ineffective and was generally ignored.
• Although specific grievances varied from city to city, at least 12 deeply held grievances can be identified and ranked into three levels of relative intensity:

First Level of Intensity

1. Police practices

2. Unemployment and underemployment

3. Inadequate housing

Second Level of Intensity

4. Inadequate education

5. Poor recreation facilities and programs

6. Ineffectiveness of the political structure and grievance

Third Level of Intensity

7. Disrespectful white attitudes

8. Discriminatory administration of justice

9. Inadequacy of federal programs

10. Inadequacy of municipal services

11. Discriminatory consumer and credit practices

12. Inadequate welfare programs

• The results of a three-city survey of various federal programs -- manpower, education, housing welfare and community action -- indicate that, despite substantial expenditures, the number of persons assisted constituted only a fraction of those in need.

The background of disorder is often as complex and difficult to analyze as the disorder itself. But we find that certain general conclusions can be drawn:

• Social and economic conditions in the riot cities constituted a clear pattern of severe disadvantage for Negroes compared with whites, whether the Negroes lived in the area where the riot took place or outside it. Negroes had completed fewer years of education and fewer had attended high school. Negroes were twice as likely to be unemployed and three times as likely to be in unskilled and service jobs. Negroes averaged 70 percent of the income earned by whites and were more than twice as likely to be living in poverty. Although housing cost Negroes relatively more, they had worse housing -- three times as likely to be overcrowded and substandard.When compared to white suburbs, the relative disadvantage is even more pronounced.

A study of the aftermath of disorder leads to disturbing conclusions. We find that, despite the institution of some post-riot programs:

• Little basic change in the conditions underlying the outbreak of disorder has taken place. Actions to ameliorate Negro grievances have been limited and sporadic; with but few exceptions, they have not significantly reduced tensions.
• In several cities, the principal official response has been to train and equip the police with more sophisticated weapons.
• In several cities, increasing polarization is evident, with continuing breakdown of inter-racial communication, and growth of white segregationist or black separatist groups.

Chapter 3: Organized Activity

The President directed the Commission to investigate "to what extent, if any, there has been planning or organization in any of the riots."

To carry out this part of the President's charge, the Commission established a special investigative staff supplementing the field teams that made the general examination of the riots in 23 cities. The unit examined data collected by federal agencies and congressional committees, including thousands of documents supplied by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, gathered and evaluated information from local and state law enforcement agencies and officials, and conducted its own field investigation in selected cities.

On the basis of all the information collected, the Commission concludes that:

The urban disorders of the summer of 1967 were not caused by, nor were they the consequence of, any organized plan or "conspiracy."

Specifically, the Commission has found no evidence that all or any of the disorders or the incidents that led to them were planned or directed by any organization or group, international, national or local.

Militant organizations, local and national, and individual agitators, who repeatedly forecast and called for violence, were active in the spring and summer of 1967. We believe that they sought to encourage violence, and that they helped to create an atmosphere that contributed to the outbreak of disorder.

We recognize that the continuation of disorders and the polarization of the races would provide fertile ground for organized exploitation in the future.

Investigations of organized activity are continuing at all levels of government, including committees of Congress. These investigations relate not only to the disorders of 1967 but also to the actions of groups and individuals, particularly in schools and colleges, during this last fall and winter. The Commission has cooperated in these investigations. They should continue.


Chapter 4: The Basic Causes

In addressing the question "Why did it happen?" we shift our focus from the local to the national scene, from the particular events of the summer of 1967 to the factors within the society at large that created a mood of violence among many urban Negroes.

These factors are complex and interacting; they vary significantly in their effect from city to city and from year to year; and the consequences of one disorder, generating new grievances and new demands, become the causes of the next. Thus was created the "thicket of tension, conflicting evidence and extreme opinions" cited by the President.

Despite these complexities, certain fundamental matters are clear. Of these, the most fundamental is the racial attitude and behavior of white Americans toward black Americans. Race prejudice has shaped our history decisively; it now threatens to affect our future.

White racism is essentially responsible for the explosive mixture which has been accumulating in our cities since the end of World War II. Among the ingredients of this mixture are:

• Pervasive discrimination and segregation in employment, education and housing, which have resulted in the continuing exclusion of great numbers of Negroes from the benefits of economic progress.
• Black in-migration and white exodus, which have produced the massive and growing concentrations of impoverished Negroes in our major cities, creating a growing crisis of deteriorating facilities and services and unmet human needs.
• The black ghettos where segregation and poverty converge on the young to destroy opportunity and enforce failure. Crime, drug addiction, dependency on welfare, and bitterness and resentment against society in general and white society in particular are the result.

At the same time, most whites and some Negroes outside the ghetto have prospered to a degree unparalleled in the history of civilization. Through television and other media, this affluence has been flaunted before the eyes of the Negro poor and the jobless ghetto youth.

Yet these facts alone cannot be said to have caused the disorders. Recently, other powerful ingredients have begun to catalyze the mixture:

• Frustrated hopes are the residue of the unfulfilled expectations aroused by the great judicial and legislative victories of the Civil Rights Movement and the dramatic struggle for equal rights in the South.
• A climate that tends toward approval and encouragement of violence as a form of protest has been created by white terrorism directed against nonviolent protest; by the open defiance of law and federal authority by state and local officials resisting desegregation; and by some protest groups engaging in civil disobedience who turn their backs on nonviolence, go beyond the constitutionally protected rights of petition and free assembly, and resort to violence to attempt to compel alteration of laws and policies with which they disagree.
• The frustrations of powerlessness have led some Negroes to the conviction that there is no effective alternative to violence as a means of achieving redress of grievances, and of "moving the system." These frustrations are reflected in alienation and hostility toward the institutions of law and government and the white society which controls them, and in the reach toward racial consciousness and solidarity reflected in the slogan "Black Power."
• A new mood has sprung up among Negroes, particularly among the young, in which self-esteem and enhanced racial pride are replacing apathy and submission to "the system."
• The police are not merely a "spark" factor. To some Negroes police have come to symbolize white power, white racism and white repression. And the fact is that many police do reflect and express these white attitudes. The atmosphere of hostility and cynicism is reinforced by a widespread belief among Negroes in the existence of police brutality and in a "double standard" of justice and protection -- one for Negroes and one for whites.


To this point, we have attempted to identify the prime components of the "explosive mixture." In the chapters that follow we seek to analyze them in the perspective of history. Their meaning, however, is clear:

In the summer of 1967, we have seen in our cities a chain reaction of racial violence. If we are heedless, none of us shall escape the consequences.

Chapter 5: Rejection and Protest: An Historical Sketch

The causes of recent racial disorders are embedded in a tangle of issues and circumstances -- social, economic, political and psychological -- which arise out of the historic pattern of Negro-white relations in America.

In this chapter we trace the pattern, identify the recurrent themes of Negro protest and, most importantly, provide a perspective on the protest activities of the present era.

We describe the Negro's experience in America and the development of slavery as an institution. We show his persistent striving for equality in the face of rigidly maintained social, economic and educational barriers, and repeated mob violence. We portray the ebb and flow of the doctrinal tides -- accommodation, separatism, and self-help -- and their relationship to the current theme of Black Power. We conclude:

The Black Power advocates of today consciously feel that they are the most militant group in the Negro protest movement. Yet they have retreated from a direct confrontation with American society on the issue of integration and, by preaching separatism, unconsciously function as an accommodation to white racism. Much of their economic program, as well as their interest in Negro history, self-help, racial solidarity and separation, is reminiscent of Booker T. Washington. The rhetoric is different, but the ideas are remarkably similar.

Chapter 6: The Formation Of the Racial Ghettos [1]

Throughout the 20th century the Negro population of the United States has been moving steadily from rural areas to urban and from South to North and West. In 1910, 91 percent of the nation's 9.8 million Negroes lived in the South and only 27 percent of American Negroes lived in cities of 2,500 persons or more. Between 1910 and 1966 the total Negro population more than doubled, reaching 21.5 million, and the number living in metropolitan areas rose more than five-fold (from 2.6 million to 14.8 million). The number outside the South rose eleven-fold (from 880,000 to 9.7 million).

Negro migration from the South has resulted from the expectation of thousands of new and highly paid jobs for unskilled workers in the North and the shift to mechanized farming in the South. However, the Negro migration is small when compared to earlier waves of European immigrants. Even between 1960 and 1966, there were 1.8 million immigrants from abroad compared to the 613,000 Negroes who arrived in the North and West from the South.

As a result of the growing number of Negroes in urban areas, natural increase has replaced migration as the primary source of Negro population increase in the cities. Nevertheless, Negro migration from the South win continue unless economic conditions there change dramatically.

Basic data concerning Negro urbanization trends indicate that:

• Almost all Negro population growth (98 percent from 1950 to 1966) is occurring within metropolitan areas, primarily within central cities. [2]
• The vast majority of white population growth (78 percent from 1960 to 1966) is occurring m suburban portions of metropolitan areas. Since 1960, white central-city population has declined by 1.3 million.
• As a result, central cities are becoming more heavily Negro while the suburban fringes around them remain almost entirely white.
• The twelve largest central cities now contain over two-thirds of the Negro population outside the South, and one-third of the Negro total in the United States.

Within the cities, Negroes have been excluded from white residential areas through discriminatory practices. Just as significant is the withdrawal of white families from, or their refusal to enter, neighborhoods where Negroes are moving or already residing. About 20 percent of the urban population of the United States changes residence every year. The refusal of whites to move into "changing" areas when vacancies occur means that most vacancies eventually are occupied by Negroes.

The result, according to a recent study, is that in 1960 the average segregation index for 207 of the largest United States cities was 86.2. In other words, to create an unsegregated population distribution, an average of over 86 percent of all Negroes would have to change their place of residence within the city.

Chapter 7: Unemployment, Family Structure, and Social Disorganization

Although there have been gains in Negro income nationally, and a decline in the number of Negroes below the "poverty level," the condition of Negroes in the central city remains in a state of crisis. Between 2 and 2.5 million Negroes -- 16 to 20 percent of the total Negro population of all central cities -- live in squalor and deprivation in ghetto neighborhoods.

Employment is a key problem. It not only controls the present for the Negro American but, in a most profound way, it is creating the future as well. Yet, despite continuing economic growth and declining national unemployment rates, the unemployment rate for Negroes in 1967 was more than double that for whites.

Equally important is the undesirable nature of many jobs open to Negroes and other minorities. Negro men are more than three times as likely as white men to be in low-paying, unskilled or service jobs. This concentration of male Negro employment at the lowest end of the occupational scale is the single most important cause of poverty among Negroes.

In one study of low-income neighborhoods, the "subemployment rate," including both unemployment and underemployment, was about 33 percent, or 8.8 times greater than the overall unemployment rate for all United States workers.

Employment problems, aggravated by the constant arrival of new unemployed migrants, many of them from depressed rural areas, create persistent poverty in the ghetto. In 1966, about 11.9 percent of the nation's whites and 40.6 percent of its nonwhites were below the "poverty level" defined by the Social Security Administration (currently $3,335 per year for an urban family of four). Over 40 percent of the nonwhites below the poverty level live in the central cities.

Employment problems have drastic social impact in the ghetto. Men who are chronically unemployed or employed in the lowest status jobs are often unable or unwilling to remain with their families. The handicap imposed on children growing up without fathers in an atmosphere of poverty and deprivation is increased as mothers are forced to work to provide support.

[Michael Moore] Tamarla Owens was the mother of the 6-year-old boy.
In order to get food stamps and health care for her children ...


Tamarla was forced to work as part of the state of Michigan's Welfare-to-Work Program.
This program was so successful in tossing poor people off welfare ...
that it's founder, Gerald Miller ...
was soon hired by the number-one firm in the country ...
that states turn to to privatize their welfare systems.
That firm was Lockheed Martin.
With the cold war over and no enemy left to frighten the public ...
Lockheed had found the perfect way to diversify ...
and the perfect way to profit from people's fears ...
with an enemy much closer to home ...
poor Black mothers like Tamarla Owens.


[Sheriff Robert Pickell, Flint, Michigan] So you've got a one-parent family ...


and the mother's travelling 60 miles, an hour, an hour and a half away to go to work ...
an hour, an hour and a half to come home. How does that help a community?
But that's part of the state, you know, making parents responsible ...
making them work for --

[Michael Moore] Welfare-to-Work.

[Sheriff Robert Pickell, Flint, Michigan] Welfare-to-Work.
That's a program that ought to be stopped ...
because it really has no merit.
I think it adds more to the problem than it does to solve it.

[Michael Moore] Really?

[Sheriff Robert Pickell, Flint, Michigan] I do.

[Michael Moore] You're the sheriff, and you feel this way?

[Sheriff Robert Pickell, Flint, Michigan] I do. I do.
I wish I could put two parents in every home ...
and make every parent equally responsible, but I can't do that.


But we're not doing anything by taking the one parent and putting them on a bus ...
and sending them out of town to make $5.50 an hour.
What's the point in doing that?
Where does the state benefit?


Where does Flint and Genesee County benefit from that?
We have a child dead. I think that may be, in part, part of the problem.
We drove the one parent out.
Now, you or anybody else that can tell me ...
that that best serves a community ...
I shake my head and wonder why.

-- Bowling for Columbine, directed by Michael Moore

The culture of poverty that results from unemployment and family breakup generates a system of ruthless, exploitative relationships within the ghetto. Prostitution, dope addiction, and crime create an environmental "jungle" characterized by personal insecurity and tension. Children growing up under such conditions are likely participants in civil disorder.

Chapter 8: Conditions of Life In the Racial Ghetto

A striking difference in environment from that of white, middle-class Americans profoundly influences the lives of residents of the ghetto.

Crime rates, consistently higher than in other areas, create a pronounced sense of insecurity. For example, in one city one low-income Negro district had 35 times as many serious crimes against persons as a high-income white district. Unless drastic steps are taken, the crime problems in poverty areas are likely to continue to multiply as the growing youth and rapid urbanization of the population outstrip police resources.

Poor health and sanitation conditions in the ghetto result in higher mortality rates, a higher incidence of major diseases, and lower availability and utilization of medical services. The infant mortality rate for nonwhite babies under the age of one month is 58 percent higher than for whites; for one to 12 months it is almost three times as high. The level of sanitation in the ghetto is far below that in high income areas. Garbage collection is often inadequate. Of an estimated 14,000 cases of rat bite in the United States in 1965, most were in ghetto neighborhoods.

Ghetto residents believe they are "exploited" by local merchants; and evidence substantiates some of these beliefs. A study conducted in one city by the Federal Trade Commission showed that distinctly higher prices were charged for goods sold in ghetto stores than in other areas.

Lack of knowledge regarding credit purchasing creates special pitfalls for the disadvantaged. In many states garnishment practices compound these difficulties by allowing creditors to deprive individuals of their wages without hearing or trial.

Chapter 9: Comparing the Immigrant and Negro Experience

In this chapter, we address ourselves to a fundamental question that many white Americans are asking: why have so many Negroes, unlike the European immigrants, been unable to escape from the ghetto and from poverty. We believe the following factors play a part:

• The Maturing Economy: When the European immigrants arrived, they gained an economic foothold by providing the unskilled labor needed by industry. Unlike the immigrant, the Negro migrant found little opportunity in the city. The economy, by then matured, had little use for the unskilled labor he had to offer.
• The Disability of Race: The structure of discrimination has stringently narrowed opportunities for the Negro and restricted his prospects. European immigrants suffered from discrimination, but never so pervasively.
• Entry into the Political System: The immigrants usually settled in rapidly growing cities with powerful and expanding political machines, which traded economic advantages for political support. Ward-level grievance machinery, as well as personal representation, enabled the immigrant to make his voice heard and his power felt.
• By the time the Negro arrived, these political machines were no longer so powerful or so well equipped to provide jobs or other favors, and in many cases were unwilling to share their influence with Negroes.
• Cultural Factors: Coming from societies with a low standard of living and at a time when job aspirations were low the immigrants sensed little deprivation in being forced to take the less desirable and poorer-paying jobs. Their large and cohesive families contributed to total income. Their vision of the future -- one that led to a life outside of the ghetto -- provided the incentive necessary to endure the present.
• Although Negro men worked as hard as the immigrants, they were unable to support their families. The entrepreneurial opportunities had vanished. As a result of slavery and long periods of unemployment, the Negro family structure had become matriarchal; the males played a secondary and marginal family role -- one which offered little compensation for their hard and unrewarding labor. Above all, segregation denied Negroes access to good jobs and the opportunity to leave the ghetto. For them, the future seemed to lead only to a dead end.

Today, whites tend to exaggerate how well and quickly they escaped from poverty. The fact is that immigrants who came from rural backgrounds, as many Negroes do, are only now, after three generations, finally beginning to move into the middle class.

By contrast, Negroes began concentrating in the city less than two generations ago, and under much less favorable conditions. Although some Negroes have escaped poverty, few have been able to escape the urban ghetto.


Chapter 10: The Community Response

Our investigation of the 1967 riot cities establishes that virtually every major episode of violence was foreshadowed by an accumulation of unresolved grievances and by widespread dissatisfaction among Negroes with the unwillingness or inability of local government to respond.

Overcoming these conditions is essential for community support of law enforcement and civil order. City governments need new and more vital channels of communication to the residents of the ghetto; they need to improve their capacity to respond effectively to community needs before they become community grievances; and they need to provide opportunity for meaningful involvement of ghetto residents in shaping policies and programs which affect the community.

The Commission recommends that local governments:

• Develop Neighborhood Action Task Forces as joint community-government efforts through which more effective communication can be achieved, and the delivery of city services to ghetto residents improved.
• Establish comprehensive grievance-response mechanisms in order to bring all public agencies under public scrutiny.
• Bring the institutions of local government closer to the people they serve by establishing neighborhood outlets for local, state and federal administrative and public service agencies.
• Expand opportunities for ghetto residents to participate in the formulation of public policy and the implementation of programs affecting them through improved political representation, creation of institutional channels for community action, expansion of legal services, and legislative hearings on ghetto problems.

In this effort, city governments will require state and federal support.

The Commission recommends:

• State and federal financial assistance for mayors and city councils to support the research, consultants, staff and other resources needed to respond effectively to federal program initiatives.
• State cooperation in providing municipalities with the jurisdictional tools needed to deal with their problems; a fuller measure of financial aid to urban areas; and the focusing of the interests of suburban communities on the physical, social and cultural environment of the central city.

Chapter 11: Police and the Community

The abrasive relationship between the police and the minority communities has been a major -- and explosive -- source of grievance, tension and disorder. The blame must be shared by the total society.

The police are faced with demands for increased protection and service in the ghetto. Yet the aggressive patrol practices thought necessary to meet these demands themselves create tension and hostility. The resulting grievances have been further aggravated by the lack of effective mechanisms for handling complaints against the police. Special programs for bettering police-community relations have been instituted, but these alone are not enough. Police administrators, with the guidance of public officials, and the support of the entire community, must take vigorous action to improve law enforcement and to decrease the potential for disorder.

Winston sank his arms to his sides and slowly refilled his lungs with air. His mind slid away into the labyrinthine world of doublethink. To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy, to forget whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again: and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself. That was the ultimate subtlety: consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed. Even to understand the word 'doublethink' involved the use of doublethink.

-- Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984), by George Orwell

The Commission recommends that city government and police authorities:

• Review police operations in the ghetto to ensure proper conduct by police officers, and eliminate abrasive practices.
• Provide more adequate police protection to ghetto residents to eliminate their high sense of insecurity, and the belief of many Negro citizens in the existence of a dual standard of law enforcement.
• Establish fair and effective mechanisms for the redress of grievances against the police, and other municipal employees.
• Develop and adopt policy guidelines to assist officers in making critical decisions in areas where police conduct can create tension.
• Develop and use innovative programs to ensure widespread community support for law enforcement.
• Recruit more Negroes into the regular police force, and review promotion policies to ensure fair promotion for Negro officers.
• Establish a "Community Service Officer" program to attract ghetto youths between the ages of 17 and 21 to police work. These junior officers would perform duties in ghetto neighborhoods, but would not have full police authority. The federal government should provide support equal to 90 percent of the costs of employing CSOs on the basis of one for every ten regular officers.

Chapter 12: Control of Disorder

Preserving civil peace is the first responsibility of government. Unless the rule of law prevails, our society will lack not only order but also the environment essential to social and economic progress.

Chumbawamba – Don't Pass Go

Didn't he know it was a waste of time?
All stitched up by a thin blue line
Didn't he know it was a waste of time?
All stitched up by a thin blue line
Well the facts said 'yes'
But the judge said 'no'
Go straight to jail
And don't pass go
He didn't understand
And he told them so
Go straight to jail
And don't pass go
Don't pass go
There ain't no justice, just us
There ain't no justice, just us
Didn't he know it was a waste of time?
All stitched up by a thin blue line
A little self-protection
They don't want to know
Go straight to jail
And don't pass go
And he won't say sorry
Play the old Jim Crow
Go straight to jail
And don't pass go
Don't pass go
Didn't he know it was a waste of time?
All stitched up by a thin blue line
White paranoia
It runs the show
Go straight to jail
And don't pass go
You want table manners
You get rule of law
Go straight to jail
And don't pass go
Don't pass go
Didn't he know it was a waste of time?
All stitched up by a thin blue line
Don't pass go
Didn't he know it was a waste of time?
All stitched up by a thin blue line
Don't pass go
Didn't he know it was a waste of time?
All stitched up by a thin blue line
Don't pass go
Didn't he know it was a waste of time?
All stitched up by a thin blue line

Copyright Notice: "Readymades," © 2002 Chumbawamba

The maintenance of civil order cannot be left to the police alone. The police need guidance, as well as support, from mayors and other public officials. It is the responsibility of public officials to determine proper police policies, support adequate police standards for personnel and performance, and participate in planning for the control of disorders.

To maintain control of incidents which could lead to disorders, the Commission recommends that local officials:

• Assign seasoned, well-trained policemen and supervisory officers to patrol ghetto areas, and to respond to disturbances.
• Develop plans which will quickly muster maximum police manpower and highly qualified senior commanders at the outbreak of disorders.
• Provide special training in the prevention of disorders, and prepare police for riot control and for operation in units with adequate command and control and field communication for proper discipline and effectiveness.
• Develop guidelines governing the use of control equipment and provide alternatives to the use of lethal weapons.Federal support for research in this area is needed.
• Establish an intelligence system to provide police and other public officials with reliable information that may help to prevent the outbreak of a disorder and to institute effective control measures in the event a riot erupts.
• Develop continuing contacts with ghetto residents to make use of the forces for order which exist within the community.
• Establish machinery for neutralizing rumors, and enabling Negro leaders and residents to obtain the facts. Create special rumor details to collect, evaluate, and dispel rumors that may lead to a civil disorder.

The Commission believes there is a grave danger that some communities may resort to the indiscriminate and excessive use of force. The harmful effects of overreaction are incalculable. The Commission condemns moves to equip police departments with mass destruction weapons, such as automatic rifles, machine guns and tanks. Weapons which are designed to destroy, not to control, have no place in densely populated urban communities.

The Commission recognizes the sound principle of local authority and responsibility in law enforcement, but recommends that the federal government share in the financing of programs for improvement of police forces, both in their normal law enforcement activities as well as in their response to civil disorders.

To assist government authorities in planning their response to civil disorder, this report contains a Supplement on Control of Disorder. It deals with specific problems encountered during riot-control operations, and includes:

• Assessment of the present capabilities of police, National Guard and Army forces to control major riots, and recommendations for improvement;
• Recommended means by which the control operations of those forces may be coordinated with the response of other agencies, such as fire departments, and with the community at large;
• Recommendations for review and revision of federal, state and local laws needed to provide the framework for control efforts and for the call-up and interrelated action of public safety forces.

Chapter 13: The Administration of Justice Under Emergency Conditions

In many of the cities which experienced disorders last summer, there were recurring breakdowns in the mechanisms for processing, prosecuting and protecting arrested persons. These resulted mainly from long-standing structural deficiencies in criminal court systems, and from the failure of communities to anticipate and plan for the emergency demands of civil disorders.

In part, because of this, there were few successful prosecutions for serious crimes committed during the riots. In those cities where mass arrests occurred many arrestees were deprived of basic legal rights.

The Commission recommends that the cities and states:

• Undertake reform of the lower courts so as to improve the quality of justice rendered under normal conditions.
• Plan comprehensive measures by which the criminal justice system may be supplemented during civil disorders so that its deliberative functions are protected, and the quality of justice is maintained.

Such emergency plans require broad community participation and dedicated leadership by the bench and bar. They should include:

• Laws sufficient to deter and punish riot conduct.
• Additional judges, bail and probation officers, and clerical staff.
• Arrangements for volunteer lawyers to help prosecutors and to represent riot defendants at every stage of proceedings.
• Policies to ensure proper and individual bail, arraignment, pretrial, trial and sentencing proceedings.
• Procedures for processing arrested persons, such as summons and release, and release on personal recognizance, which permit separation of minor offenders from those dangerous to the community, in order that serious offenders may be detained and prosecuted effectively.
• Adequate emergency processing and detention facilities.

Chapter 14: Damages: Repair and Compensation

The Commission recommends that the federal government:

• Amend the Federal Disaster Act -- which now applies only to natural disasters -- to permit federal emergency food and medical assistance to cities during major civil disorders, and provide long-term economic assistance afterwards.
• With the cooperation of the states, create incentives for the private insurance industry to provide more adequate property-insurance coverage in inner-city areas.

The Commission endorses the report of the National Advisory Panel on Insurance in Riot-Affected Areas: "Meeting the Insurance Crisis of our Cities."
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Chapter 15: The News Media and the Riots

In his charge to the Commission, the President asked: "What effect do the mass media have on the riots?"

The Commission determined that the answer to the President's question did not lie solely in the performance of the press and broadcasters in reporting the riots. Our analysis had to consider also the overall treatment by the media of the Negro ghettos, community relations, racial attitudes, and poverty -- day by day and month by month, year in and year out.

A wide range of interviews with government officials, law enforcement authorities, media personnel and other citizens, including ghetto residents, as well as a quantitative analysis of riot coverage and a special conference with industry representatives, leads us to conclude that:

• Despite instances of sensationalism, inaccuracy and distortion, newspapers, radio and television tried on the whole to give a balanced, factual account of the 1967 disorders.
• Elements of the news media failed to portray accurately the scale and character of the violence that occurred last summer. The overall effect was, we believe, an exaggeration of both mood and event.
• Important segments of the media failed to report adequately on the causes and consequences of civil disorders and on the underlying problems of race relations. They have not communicated to the majority of their audience -- which is white -- a sense of the degradation, misery and hopelessness of life in the ghetto.

These failings must be corrected, and the improvement must come from within the industry. Freedom of the press is not the issue. Any effort to impose governmental restrictions would be inconsistent with fundamental constitutional precepts.

We have seen evidence that the news media are becoming aware of and concerned about their performance in this field. As that concern grows, coverage will improve. But much more must be done, and it must be done soon.

The Commission recommends that the media:

• Expand coverage of the Negro community and of race problems through permanent assignment of reporters familiar with urban and racial affairs, and through establishment of more and better links with the Negro community.
• Integrate Negroes and Negro activities into all aspects of coverage and content, including newspaper articles and television programming. The news media must publish newspapers and produce programs that recognize the existence and activities of Negroes as a group within the community and as a part of the larger community.
• Recruit more Negroes into journalism and broadcasting and promote those who are qualified to positions of significant responsibility. Recruitment should begin in high schools and continue through college; where necessary, aid for training should be provided.
• Improve coordination with police in reporting riot news through advance planning, and cooperate with the police in the designation of police information officers, establishment of information centers, and development of mutually acceptable guidelines for riot reporting and the conduct of media personnel.
• Accelerate efforts to ensure accurate and responsible reporting of riot and racial news, through adoption by all news gathering organizations of stringent internal staff guidelines.
• Cooperate in the establishment of a privately organized and funded Institute of Urban Communications to train and educate journalists in urban affairs, recruit and train more Negro journalists, develop methods for improving police-press relations, review coverage of riots and racial issues, and support continuing research in the urban field.

[Pat Warren, Action 6 News]


There had been much concern on the part of many people that the police would make a violent assault on the MOVE members. [Shakes her head “no.”] As it turned out the police acted with precision and restraint.



-- Mumia: Long Distance Revolutionary. A Journey With Mumia Abu-Jamal, directed by Stephen Vittoria

OBJECTIVITY IN JOURNALISM is an illusion, a hollow word, yet it becomes so real to its perpetrators, who have been poisoned with the lie from the first day of journalism school, that they end up not only believing in it, but letting it form the whole foundation of their profession. It's always been a great ideal, but in reality it's a misguided belief. And they end up using it to justify everything they do.

When you look at the news today -- I'm talking now about national network newscasts -- it is astounding that what used to make the local news, if that, is now considered as having national importance. Local crime stories, especially the most lurid ones, become national news stories not because of anything extraordinary about them, but because that is the stuff that sells. It's the old jingle: "If it bleeds, it leads." They don't feed the public pieces that stimulate intelligent thought, pieces that might make people talk or even ask questions about the fundamental relationships of power, rank, and status in this country. They're more interested in sensation.

It's almost as if the average newscast has been reduced and molded to fit Hard Copy or some other such show like that. The end product is trash, but it is trash that has been carefully designed to attract you emotionally, to touch you sensationally, to get you looking (but not thinking). It doesn't provoke you or encourage you to question the fundamentals. The real issues behind a story are often ignored. They're not considered important enough to be raised. That's why many people -- not only MOVE, but other groups who are misunderstood and misrepresented -- share MOVE's "f.t.p." attitude toward the media: Fuck the press!

By the seventies, people began to admit that the media was in the hip-pocket of big business. Well, today the media is big business. The major media organizations are not just controlled by it -- they are part of it. Many of them are owned by huge multinational corporations. And if you think they don't control what comes over the air, you're in for a surprise. If I control your paycheck, I tell you what to say and what not to say.

When Rizzo was mayor, he was always taking the Philadelphia media to task and -- especially during the time of the 1978 MOVE confrontation -- accusing them of stirring things up with their advocacy journalism. They lacked objectivity, he complained. Well, Rizzo was right on one count, because, as I said earlier, journalistic "objectivity" is non-existent. Who's objective? But as far as the slant of their advocacy goes, I don't know who Rizzo thinks they were advocating. It sure wasn't MOVE.

Neither the brutal police assault on the MOVE compound in August 1978 nor the bombing of their new compound in May 1985 -- in which eleven of their members were killed, and a whole neighborhood was destroyed -- could ever have happened without the media. It was in their interest to create the fires of carnage and hatred, and feed those fires. The media built the scaffolding around the MOVE standoff, and the information they disseminated became the catalyst for the final conflagration. The next step after that was for them to whitewash the whole thing to save face for the "investigative" commission.

The frightening thing is that the press's involvement in the MOVE debacle was in no way unique; it is instructive for the present, the future, and for any number of contexts and loci, not just racist Philadelphia. Don't forget -- two things always define the media's perspective: money and power. And the resulting "blindness" is therefore often willful.

I remember being down in Philadelphia at my petition hearing in the fall of 1995 -- I was being shuttled back to the prison, and the sheriff had turned the radio on. The newscaster was announcing that ABC had just been acquired by the Disney Corporation. I laughed. I was in the back of the van laughing and laughing and thinking to myself that it won't be long before they have Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck on the evening news.

On a deeper level, of course, it's no laughing matter. When the power of the press is exercised in concert with the political machinery that is in place today -- I'm talking about the right wing shift in American politics -- what you have is a dangerous, malevolent concoction. It might sound paranoid, but that's what you have.

Just recently there's been considerable controversy about the planes that were shot down over Cuba. The alternative press is asking some interesting questions, but what about the mainstream media? There's a whole history to this incident that is being withheld by the government and the press. I can't help wondering about the fact that when Cuba was the whorehouse of the Caribbean -- when it was a Mafia safe-haven -- you didn't hear anybody talking about invading Cuba or changing the government. It was only when a government of the Cubans' own choice rose to power and said that they were no longer willing to be our whorehouse -- "We are an independent sovereign country, and we will have the government we want, not the government you want" -- that our government began plotting to kill President Castro and to destroy Cuba through an economic blockade that, according to international law, amounted to an act of war. Has our government, our press, acted on the right side of history? Have they stood on the right side of fundamental justice?

Cuba's only one of many examples. Fundamentally, the United States Government has allied itself for decades with some of the darkest forces in history for the sake of economic gain, for political self-interest, for the protection of the status quo. And it continues to do so, domestically as well. That's why we have the likes of David Duke running for governor and the likes of Pat Buchanan running for President (in spite of having Klansmen on his staff). It's why everybody is talking about welfare queens and slamming the poor. It is also why the safest political platform of the decade is based on promises of "getting tough on crime." Their line is that it's okay to despise the poor, because they have it "too good" anyway. Besides, they claim, it's the poor, the minorities who are causing a rise in violent crime: "What we need is more executions. What we need to do is start chopping people's heads off ... " The level of political discourse in our country is anti-life. And the press is not innocent.

-- Death Blossoms: Reflections From a Prisoner of Conscience, by Mumia Abu-Jamal

Chapter 16: The Future of the Cities

By 1985, the Negro population in central cities is expected to increase by 72 percent to approximately 20.8 million. Coupled with the continued exodus of white families to the suburbs, this growth will produce majority Negro populations in many of the nation's largest cities.

The future of these cities, and of their burgeoning Negro populations, is grim. Most new employment opportunities are being created in suburbs and outlying areas. This trend will continue unless important changes in public policy are made.

In prospect, therefore, is further deterioration of already inadequate municipal tax bases in the face of increasing demands for public services, and continuing unemployment and poverty among the urban Negro population:

Three choices are open to the nation:

• We can maintain present policies, continuing both the proportion of the nation's resources now allocated to programs for the unemployed and the disadvantaged, and the inadequate and failing effort to achieve an integrated society.
• We can adopt a policy of "enrichment" aimed at improving dramatically the quality of ghetto life while abandoning integration as a goal.
• We can pursue integration by combining ghetto "enrichment" with policies which will encourage Negro movement out of central city areas.

The first choice, continuance of present policies, has ominous consequences for our society. The share of the nation's resources now allocated to programs for the disadvantaged is insufficient to arrest the deterioration of life in central city ghettos. Under such conditions, a rising proportion of Negroes may come to see in the deprivation and segregation they experience, a justification for violent protest, or for extending support to now isolated extremists who advocate civil disruption. Large-scale and continuing violence could result, followed by white retaliation, and, ultimately, the separation of the two communities in a garrison state.

Even if violence does not occur, the consequences are unacceptable. Development of a racially integrated society, extraordinarily difficult today, will be virtually impossible when the present black ghetto population of 12.5 million has grown to almost 21 million.

To continue present policies is to make permanent the division of our country into two societies; one, largely Negro and poor, located in the central cities; the other, predominantly white and affluent, located in the suburbs and in outlying areas.

The second choice, ghetto enrichment coupled with abandonment of integration, is also unacceptable. It is another way of choosing a permanently divided country. Moreover, equality cannot be achieved under conditions of nearly complete separation. In a country where the economy, and particularly the resources of employment, are predominantly white, a policy of separation can only relegate Negroes to a permanently inferior economic status.

We believe that the only possible choice for America is the third -- a policy which combines ghetto enrichment with programs designed to encourage integration of substantial numbers of Negroes into the society outside the ghetto.

Enrichment must be an important adjunct to integration, for no matter how ambitious or energetic the program, few Negroes now living in central cities can be quickly integrated. In the meantime, large-scale improvement in the quality of ghetto life is essential.

But this can be no more than an interim strategy. Programs must be developed which will permit substantial Negro movement out of the ghettos. The primary goal must be a single society, in which every citizen will be free to live and work according to his capabilities and desires, not his color.

Chapter 17: Recommendations For National Action


No American -- white or black -- can escape the consequences of the continuing social and economic decay of our major cities.

Only a commitment to national action on an unprecedented scale can shape a future compatible with the historic ideals of American society.

The great productivity of our economy, and a federal revenue system which is highly responsive to economic growth, can provide the resources.

The major need is to generate new will -- the will to tax ourselves to the extent necessary to meet the vital needs of the nation.

We have set forth goals and proposed strategies to reach those goals. We discuss and recommend programs not to commit each of us to specific parts of such programs but to illustrate the type and dimension of action needed.

The major goal is the creation of a true union -- a single society and a single American identity. Toward that goal, we propose the following objectives for national action:

• Opening up opportunities to those who are restricted by racial segregation and discrimination, and eliminating all barriers to their choice of jobs, education and housing.
• Removing the frustration of powerlessness among the disadvantaged by providing the means for them to deal with the problems that affect their own lives and by increasing the capacity of our public and private institutions to respond to these problems.
• Increasing communication across racial lines to destroy stereotypes, to halt polarization, end distrust and hostility, and create common ground for efforts toward public order and social justice.

We propose these aims to fulfill our pledge of equality and to meet the fundamental needs of a democratic and civilized society -- domestic peace and social justice.

Pervasive unemployment and underemployment are the most persistent and serious grievances in minority areas. They are inextricably linked to the problem of civil disorder.

Despite growing federal expenditures for manpower development and training programs, and sustained general economic prosperity and increasing demands for skilled workers, about two million -- white and nonwhite -- are permanently unemployed. About ten million are underemployed, of whom 6.5 million work full time for wages below the poverty line.

The 500,000 "hard-core" unemployed in the central cities who lack a basic education and are unable to hold a steady job are made up in large part of Negro males between the ages of 18 and 25. In the riot cities which we surveyed, Negroes were three times as likely as whites to hold unskilled jobs, which are often part time, seasonal, low-paying and "dead end."

Negro males between the ages of 15 and 25 predominated among the rioters. More than 20 percent of the rioters were unemployed, and many who were employed held intermittent, low status, unskilled jobs which they regarded as below their education and ability.

The Commission recommends that the federal government:

• Undertake joint efforts with cities and states to consolidate existing manpower programs to avoid fragmentation and duplication.
• Take immediate action to create 2,000,000 new jobs over the next three years -- one million in the public sector and one million in the private sector -- to absorb the hard-core unemployed and materially reduce the level of underemployment for all workers, black and white. We propose 250,000 public sector and 300,000 private sector jobs in the first year.
• Provide on-the-job training by both public and private employers with reimbursement to private employers for the extra costs of training the hard-core unemployed, by contract or by tax credits.
• Provide tax and other incentives to investment in rural as well as urban poverty areas in order to offer to the rural poor an alternative to migration to urban centers.

[Michael Moore] [Dick Clark's] restaurant and the Fudgery here in Auburn Hills ...
applied for special tax breaks, because they were using welfare people as employees.
I decided to fly out to California ...
to ask Dick Clark what he thought about a system ...


that forces poor, single mothers ...
to work two low-wage jobs to survive.


[Michael Moore] I'm doing a documentary ...
on these school shootings and, you know, guns and all that.
And in my hometown of Flint, Michigan, which you know ...
this little 6-year-old shot a 6-year-old.

[Dick Clark] Get in the car, Dave! Watch your arm! Watch your arm!

[Michael Moore] Oh, I'm sorry. Sorry.

[Dick Clark] I'm sorry. We're really late.

[Michael Moore] Anyways, but the mother of the kid who did the shooting ...
works at Dick Clark's All-American Grill...

[Dick Clark] Forget it!

[Michael Moore] in Oakland County.

[Dick Clark] Close the door.

[Michael Moore] It's a Welfare-to-Work program ...

[Dick Clark] Close the door. Close the door.

[Michael Moore] These people are forced to ...


[Dick Clark] Goodbye! [Waves goodbye]

[Michael Moore] No, no, no, no.

[Dick Clark] Come on!

[Michael Moore] I want you to help me convince the governor of Michigan...


It's a Welfare-to-work ... These women are forced to work!
They've got kids at home! Dick!


Ah, Jeez!

-- Bowling for Columbine, directed by Michael Moore

• Take new and vigorous action to remove artificial barriers to employment and promotion, including not only racial discrimination but, in certain cases, arrest records or lack of a high school diploma. Strengthen those agencies such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, charged with eliminating discriminatory practices, and provide full support for Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act allowing federal grant-in-aid funds to be withheld from activities which discriminate on grounds of color or race.

The Commission commends the recent public commitment of the National Council of the Building and Construction Trades Unions, AFL-CIO, to encourage and recruit Negro membership in apprenticeship programs. This commitment should be intensified and implemented.


Education in a democratic society must equip children to develop their potential and to participate fully in American life. For the community at large, the schools have discharged this responsibility well. But for many minorities, and particularly for the children of the ghetto, the schools have failed to provide the educational experience which could overcome the effects of discrimination and deprivation.

This failure is one of the persistent sources of grievance and resentment within the Negro community. The hostility of Negro parents and students toward the school system is generating increasing conflict and causing disruption within many city school districts. But the most dramatic evidence of the relationship between educational practices and civil disorders lies in the high incidence of riot participation by ghetto youth who have not completed high school.

The bleak record of public education for ghetto children is growing worse. In the critical skills -- verbal and reading ability -- Negro students are falling further behind whites with each year of school completed. The high unemployment and underemployment rate for Negro youth is evidence, in part, of the growing educational crisis.

We support integration as the priority education strategy; it is essential to the future of American society. In this last summer's disorders we have seen the consequences of racial isolation at all levels, and of attitudes toward race, on both sides, produced by three centuries of myth, ignorance and bias. It is indispensable that opportunities for interaction between the races be expanded.

We recognize that the growing dominance of pupils from disadvantaged minorities in city school populations will not soon be reversed. No matter how great the effort toward desegregation, many children of the ghetto will not, within their school careers, attend integrated schools.

If existing disadvantages are not to be perpetuated, we must drastically improve the quality of ghetto education. Equality of results with all-white schools must be the goal.

To implement these strategies, the Commission recommends:

• Sharply increased efforts to eliminate de facto segregation in our schools through substantial federal aid to school systems seeking to desegregate either within the system or in cooperation with neighboring school systems.
• Elimination of racial discrimination in Northern as well as Southern schools by vigorous application of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
• Extension of quality early childhood education to every disadvantaged child in the country.
• Efforts to improve dramatically schools serving disadvantaged children through substantial federal funding of year-round compensatory education programs, improved teaching, and expanded experimentation and research.
• Elimination of illiteracy through greater federal support for adult basic education.
• Enlarged opportunities for parent and community participation in the public schools.
• Reoriented vocational education emphasizing work-experience training and the involvement of business and industry.
• Expanded opportunities for higher education through increased federal assistance to disadvantaged students.
• Revision of state aid formulas to assure more per student aid to districts having a high proportion of disadvantaged school-age children.


Our present system of public welfare is designed to save money instead of people, and tragically ends up doing neither. This system has two critical deficiencies:

First, it excludes large numbers of persons who are in great need, and who, if provided a decent level of support, might be able to become more productive and self-sufficient. No federal funds are available for millions of men and women who are needy but neither aged, handicapped nor the parents of minor children.

Second, for those included, the system provides assistance well below the minimum necessary for a decent level of existence, and imposes restrictions that encourage continued dependency on welfare and undermine self-respect.

A welter of statutory requirements and administrative practices and regulations operate to remind recipients that they are considered untrustworthy, promiscuous and lazy. Residence requirements prevent assistance to people in need who are newly arrived in the state. Regular searches of recipients' homes violate privacy. Inadequate social services compound the problems.

The Commission recommends that the federal government, acting with state and local governments where necessary, reform the existing welfare system to:

• Establish uniform national standards of assistance at least as high as the annual "poverty level" of income, now set by the Social Security Administration at $3,335 per year for an urban family of four.
• Require that all states receiving federal welfare contributions participate in the Aid to Families with Dependent Children -- Unemployed Parents program (AFDC-UP) that permits assistance to families with both father and mother in the home, thus aiding the family while it is still intact.
• Bear a substantially greater portion of all welfare costs -- at least 90 percent of total payments.
• Increase incentives for seeking employment and job training, but remove restrictions recently enacted by the Congress that would compel mothers of young children to work

Even though Tamarla worked up to 70 hours a week at these two jobs in the mall ...
she did not earn enough to pay her rent.
And one week before the shooting ...
was told by her landlord that he was evicting her.


With nowhere to go, and not wanting to take her two children out of school ...
Tamarla asked her brother if they could stay with him for a few weeks.
It was there that Tamarla's son found a small, .32 calibre gun ...
and took it to school.
Tamarla did not see him take the gun to school ...
because she was on a state bus to go serve drinks and make fudge ...
for rich people.

-- Bowling for Columbine, directed by Michael Moore

• :Provide more adequate social services through neighborhood centers and family-planning programs.
• Remove the freeze placed by the 1967 welfare amendments on the percentage of children in a state that can be covered by federal assistance.
• Eliminate residence requirements.

As a long-range goal, the Commission recommends that the federal government seek to develop a national system of income supplementation based strictly on need with two broad and basic purposes:

To provide, for those who can work or who do work, any necessary supplements in such a way as to develop incentives for fuller employment;
To provide, for those who cannot work and for mothers who decide to remain with their children, a minimum standard of decent living, and to aid in the saving of children from the prison of poverty that has held their parents.
A broad system of supplementation would involve substantially greater federal expenditures than anything now contemplated. The cost will range widely depending on the standard of need accepted as the "basic allowance" to individuals and families, and on the rate at which additional income above this level is taxed. Yet if the deepening cycle of poverty and dependence on welfare can be broken, if the children of the poor can be given the opportunity to scale the wall that now separates them from the rest of society, the return on this investment will be great indeed.


After more than three decades of fragmented and grossly underfunded federal housing programs, nearly six million substandard housing units remain occupied in the United States.

The housing problem is particularly acute in the minority ghettos. Nearly two-thirds of all non-white families living in the central cities today live in neighborhoods marked with substandard housing and general urban blight. Two major factors are responsible.

First: Many ghetto residents simply cannot pay the rent necessary to support decent housing. In Detroit, for example, over 40 percent of the non-white occupied units in 1960 required rent of over 35 percent of the tenants' income.

Second: Discrimination prevents access to many non-slum areas, particularly the suburbs, where good housing exists. In addition, by creating a "back pressure" in the racial ghettos, it makes it possible for landlords to break up apartments for denser occupancy, and keeps prices and rents of deteriorated ghetto housing higher than they would be in a truly free market.

To date, federal programs have been able to do comparatively little to provide housing for the disadvantaged. In the 31-year history of subsidized federal housing, only about 800,000 units have been constructed, with recent production averaging about 50,000 units a year. By comparison, over a period only three years longer, FHA insurance guarantees have made possible the construction of over ten million middle and upper-income units.

Two points are fundamental to the Commission's recommendations:

First: Federal housing programs must be given a new thrust aimed at overcoming the prevailing patterns of racial segregation. If this is not done, those programs will continue to concentrate the most impoverished and dependent segments of the population into the central-city ghettos where there is already a critical gap between the needs of the population and the public resources to deal with them.

Second: The private sector must be brought into the production and financing of low and moderate rental housing to supply the capabilities and capital necessary to meet the housing needs of the nation.

The Commission recommends that the federal government:

• Enact a comprehensive and enforceable federal open housing law to cover the sale or rental of all housing, including single family homes.
• Reorient federal housing programs to place more low and moderate income housing outside of ghetto areas.
• Bring within the reach of low and moderate income families within the next five years six million new and existing units of decent housing, beginning with 600,000 units in the next year.

To reach this goal we recommend:

• Expansion and modification of the rent supplement program to permit use of supplements for existing housing, thus greatly increasing the reach of the program.
• Expansion and modification of the below-market interest rate program to enlarge the interest subsidy to all sponsors and provide interest-free loans to nonprofit sponsors to cover pre-construction costs, and permit sale of projects to nonprofit corporations, cooperatives, or condominiums.
• Creation of an ownership supplement program similar to present rent supplements, to make home ownership possible for low income families.
• Federal write down of interest rates on loans to private builders constructing moderate-rent housing.
• Expansion of the public housing program, with emphasis on small units on scattered sites, and leasing and "turnkey" programs.
• Expansion of the Model Cities program.
• Expansion and reorientation of the urban renewal program to give priority to projects directly assisting low-income households to obtain adequate housing.


One of the first witnesses to be invited to appear before this Commission was Dr. Kenneth B. Clark, a distinguished and perceptive scholar. Referring to the reports of earlier riot commissions, he said:

I read that report ... of the 1919 riot in Chicago, and it is as if I were reading the report of the investigating committee on the Harlem riot of '35, the report of the investigating committee on the Harlem riot of '43, the report of the McCone Commission on the Watts riot.

I must again in candor say to you members of this Commission -- it is a kind of Alice in Wonderland -- with the same moving picture re-shown over and over again, the same analysis, the same recommendations, and the same inaction.

These words come to our minds as we conclude this report.

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

-- Albert Einstein

We have provided an honest beginning. We have learned much. But we have uncovered no startling truths, no unique insights, no simple solutions. The destruction and the bitterness of racial disorder, the harsh polemics of black revolt and white repression have been seen and heard before in this country.

It is time now to end the destruction and the violence, not only in the streets of the ghetto but in the lives of people.




1. The term "ghetto" 88 used in this report refers to an area within a city characterized by poverty and acute social disorganization, and Inhabited by members of a racial or ethnic group under conditions of Involuntary segregation.

2. A "central city" is the largest city of a standard metropolitan statistical area, that Is, a metropolitan area containing at least one city of 50,000 or more inhabitants.
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Re: Report of the National Advisory (Kerner Report 1967)

Postby admin » Wed Jun 24, 2015 1:34 am


The summer of 1967 brought racial disorder again to American cities, deepening the bitter residue of fear and threatening the future of all Americans.

We are charged by the President with the responsibility to examine this condition and to speak the truth as we see it. Two fundamental questions confront us:

How can we as a people end the resort to violence while we build a better society?

How can the nation realize the promise of a single society -- one nation indivisible -- which yet remains unfulfilled?

Violence surely cannot build that society. Disruption and disorder will nourish not justice but repression. Those few who would destroy civil order and the rule of law strike at the freedom of every citizen. They must know that the community cannot and will not tolerate coercion and mob action.

We have worked together these past months with a sense of the greatest urgency. Although much remains that can be learned, we have determined to say now what we have learned. We do this in the hope that the American public will understand the nature and gravity of the problem and that those who have power to act -- at all levels of government and in all sections of the community -- will listen and respond.

This sense of urgency has led us to consolidate in this single report the interim and final reports called for by the President. To accomplish this, it has been necessary to do without the benefit of some studies still under way which will not be completed for months to come. Certain of these studies -- a 15-city general population survey of Negro and white attitudes, a special population survey of attitudes of community leaders, elected officials, administrators and teachers, a report on the application of mediation techniques, and a further analysis of riot arrestees -- will be issued later, with other materials, as supplemental reports.

We believe that to wait until mid-summer to present our findings and recommendations may be to forfeit whatever opportunity exists for this report to affect this year the dangerous climate of tension and apprehension that pervades our cities.


Last summer nearly 150 cities reported disorders in Negro -- and in some instances, Puerto Rican -- neighborhoods. [1] These ranged from minor disturbances to major outbursts involving sustained and widespread looting and destruction of property. The worst came during a two-week period in July when large-scale disorders erupted first in Newark and then in Detroit, each setting off a chain reaction in neighboring communities.

It was in this troubled and turbulent setting that the President of the United States established this Commission. He called upon it "to guide the country through a thicket of tension, conflicting evidence and extreme opinions."

In his charge, the President framed the Commission's mandate in these words:

"We need to know the answers to three basic questions about these riots:

What happened?

Why did it happen?

What can be done to prevent it from happening again and again?"

The three parts of this report offer answers to these questions.

Part I tells "What happened?" Chapter 1 is a profile of the 1967 disorders told through a narrative of the summer's events in 10 of the 23 cities surveyed by the Commission. Chapter 2 calls on data from all 23 cities to construct an analytical profile. Chapter 3 is the report of the Commission on the issue of conspiracy.

Part II responds to the question "Why did it happen?" Early in our investigation it became clear that the disorders were not the result of contemporary conditions alone; Chapter 5 identifies some of the historical factors that are an essential part of the background of last summer's outbreaks. Chapters 6 through 9 deal with present conditions, examining the impact of ghetto formation, unemployment, and family structures, and conditions of life in the ghettos, and the differences between the Negro experience and that of other urban immigrant groups.

Part III contains our answer to the question "What can be done?" Our recommendations begin with organizing the community to respond more effectively to ghetto needs and then proceed with police-community relations, control of disorders, the administration of justice under emergency conditions, compensation for property damage, the role of the news media, and national action in the critical areas of employment, education, welfare and housing.

In formulating this report, we have attempted to draw on all relevant sources. During closed hearings held from August through December, we heard over 130 witnesses, including federal, state and local officials, experts from the military establishment and law enforcement agencies, universities and foundations, Negro leaders and representatives of the business community. We personally visited eight cities in which major disturbances had occurred. We met together for 24 days to review and revise the several drafts of our report. Through our staff we also undertook field surveys in 23 cities in which disorders occurred during the summer of 1967, and took sworn testimony in nine of the cities investigated and from Negro leaders and militants across the country. Expert consultants and advisors supplemented the work of our staff in all the areas covered in our report.


Much of our report is directed to the condition of those Americans who are also Negroes and to the social and economic environment in which they live -- many in the black ghettos of our cities. But this nation is confronted with the issue of justice for all its people -- white as well as black, rural as well as urban. In particular, we are concerned for those who have continued to keep faith with society in the preservation of public order -- the people of Spanish surname, the American Indian, and other minority groups to whom this country owes so much.

We wish it to be clear that in focusing on the Negro, we do not mean to imply any priority of need. It will not do to fight misery in the black ghetto and leave untouched the reality of injustice and deprivation elsewhere in our society. The first priority is order and justice for all Americans.

In speaking of the Negro, we do not speak of "them." We speak of us -- for the freedoms and opportunities of all Americans are diminished and imperiled when they are denied to some Americans. The tragic waste of human spirit and resources, the unrecoverable loss to the nation which this denial has already caused -- and continues to produce -- no longer can be ignored or afforded.

Two premises underlie the work of the Commission:

• that this nation cannot abide violence and disorder if it is to ensure the safety of its people and their progress in a free society.
• that this nation will deserve neither safety nor progress unless it can demonstrate the wisdom and the will to undertake decisive action against the root causes of racial disorder.

This report is addressed to the institutions of government and to the conscience of the nation, but even more urgently, to the minds and hearts of each citizen. The responsibility for decisive action, never more clearly demanded in the history of our country, rests on all of us.

We do not know whether the tide of racial disorder has begun to recede. We recognize as we must that the conditions underlying the disorders will not be obliterated before the end of this year or the end of the next and that, so long as these conditions exist, a potential for disorder remains. But we believe that the likelihood of disorder can be markedly lessened by an American commitment to confront those conditions and eliminate them -- a commitment so clear that Negro citizens will know its truth and accept its goal. The most important step toward domestic peace is an act of will; this country can do for its people what it chooses to do.

The pages that follow set forth our conclusions and the facts upon which they are based. Our plea for civil order and our recommendations for social and economic change are a call to national action. We are aware of the breadth and scope of those recommendations but they neither probe deeper nor demand more than the problems which call them forth.




1. See tables page 2-14.
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Re: Report of the National Advisory (Kerner Report 1967)

Postby admin » Wed Jun 24, 2015 1:35 am



Chapter 1: Profiles of Disorder


The President directed the Commission to produce "a profile of the riots -- of the rioters, of their environment, of their victims, of their causes and effects."

In response to this mandate the Commission constructed profiles of the riots in 10 of the 23 cities under investigation. Brief summaries of what were often conflicting views and perceptions of confusing episodes, they are, we believe, a fair and accurate picture of what happened. [1]

From the profiles, we have sought to build a composite view of the riots as well as of the environment out of which they erupted.


The summer of 1967 was not the beginning of the current wave of disorders. Omens of violence had appeared much earlier.


In 1963, serious disorders, involving both whites and Negroes, broke out in Birmingham, Savannah, Cambridge, Md., Chicago, and Philadelphia. Sometimes the mobs battled each other; more often they fought the police.

The most violent encounters took place in Birmingham. Police used dogs, firehoses and cattle prods against marchers, many of whom were children. White racists shot at Negroes and bombed Negro residences. Negroes retaliated by burning white-owned businesses in Negro areas. On a quiet Sunday morning, a bomb exploded beneath a Negro church. Four young girls in a Sunday school class were killed.

In the spring of 1964, the arrest and conviction of civil rights demonstrators provoked violence in Jacksonville. A shot fired from a passing car killed a Negro woman. When a bomb threat forced evacuation of an all-Negro high school, the students stoned policemen and firemen and burned the cars of newsmen. For the first time, Negroes used Molotov cocktails in setting fires.

Two weeks later, at a demonstration protesting school segregation in Cleveland, a bulldozer accidentally killed a young white minister. When police moved in to disperse a crowd composed primarily of Negroes, violence erupted.

In late June, white segregationists broke through police lines and attacked civil rights demonstrators in St. Augustine, Florida. In Philadelphia, Mississippi, law enforcement officers were implicated in the lynch murders of three civil rights workers. On July 10 Ku Klux Klansmen shot and killed a Negro United States Army lieutenant colonel, Lemuel Penn, as he was driving through Georgia.

On July 16, in New York City, several young Negroes walking to summer school classes became involved in a dispute with a white building superintendent. When an off-duty police lieutenant intervened, a 15-year-old boy attacked him with a knife. The officer shot and killed the boy.

A crowd of teenagers gathered and smashed store windows. Police arrived in force, and dispersed the group.

On the following day, the Progressive Labor Movement, a Marxist-Leninist organization, printed and passed out inflammatory leaflets charging the police with brutality.

On the second day after the shooting, a rally called by the Congress of Racial Equality to protest the Mississippi lynch murders developed into a march on a precinct police station. The crowd clashed with the police; one person was killed, and 12 police officers and 19 citizens were injured.

For several days thereafter the pattern was repeated: despite exhortations of Negro community leaders against violence, protest rallies became uncontrollable. Police battled mobs in Harlem and in the Bedford Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn. Firemen fought fires started with Molotov cocktails. When bricks and bottles were thrown, police responded with gunfire. Widespread looting followed and many persons were injured.

A week later a riot broke out in Rochester when police tried to arrest an intoxicated Negro youth at a street dance. After two days of violence, the National Guard restored order.

During the first two weeks of August, disorders took place in three New Jersey communities: Jersey City, Elizabeth, and Paterson.

On August 15, when a white liquor store owner in the Chicago suburb of Dixmoor had a Negro woman arrested for stealing a bottle of whiskey, he was accused of having manhandled her. A crowd gathered in front of the store, broke the store window, and threw rocks at passing cars. The police restored order. The next day. when the disturbance was renewed, a Molotov cocktail set the liquor store afire. Several persons were injured.

The final violence of the summer occurred in Philadelphia. A Negro couple's car stalled at an intersection in an area known as ''The Jungle" -- where, with almost 2,000 persons living in each block, there is the greatest incidence of crime, disease, unemployment. and poverty occurs in the city. When two police officers, one white and one black, attempted to move the car, the wife of the owner became abusive and the officers arrested her. Police officers and Negro spectators gathered at the scene. Two nights of rioting, resulting in extensive damage.


In the spring of 1965, the nation's attention shifted back to the South. When civil rights workers staged a nonviolent demonstration in Selma, Alabama, police and state troopers forcibly interrupted their march. Within the next few weeks racists murdered a white clergyman and a white housewife active in civil rights.

In the small Louisiana town of Bogalusa, when Negro demonstrators attacked by whites received inadequate police protection, the Negroes formed a self-defense group called the "Deacons for Defense and Justice."

As late as the second week of August. there had been few disturbances outside the South. But, on the evening of August 11. as Los Angeles sweltered in a heat wave, a highway patrolman halted a young Negro driver for speeding. The young man appeared intoxicated, and the patrolman arrested him. As a crowd gathered, law enforcement officers were called to the scene. A highway patrolman mistakenly struck a bystander with his billy club. A young Negro woman, who was erroneously accused of spitting on the police, was dragged into the middle of the street.

When the police departed. members of the crowd began hurling rocks at passing cars, beating white motorists, and overturning cars and setting them on fire. The police reacted hesitantly. Actions they did take further inflamed the people on the streets.

The following day the area was calm. Community leaders attempting to mediate between Negro residents and the police received little cooperation from municipal authorities. That evening the previous night's pattern of violence was repeated.

Not until almost 30 hours after the initial flareup did window smashing, looting, and arson begin. Yet the police utilized only a small part of their forces.

Few police were on hand the next morning when huge crowds gathered in the business district of Watts, two miles from the location of the original disturbance, and began looting. In the absence of police response, the looting became bolder and spread into other areas. Hundreds of women and children from five housing projects clustered in or near Watts took part. Around noon, extensive firebombing began. Few white persons were attacked; the principal intent of the rioters now seemed to be to destroy property owned by whites, in order to drive white "exploiters" out of the ghetto.

The chief of police asked for National Guard help, but the arrival of the military units was delayed for several hours. When the Guardsmen arrived, they, together with police, made heavy use of firearms. Reports of "sniper fire" increased. Several persons were killed by mistake. Many more were injured.

Thirty-six hours after the first Guard units arrived, the main force of the riot had been blunted. Almost 4,000 persons were arrested. Thirty-four were killed and hundreds injured. Approximately $35 million in damage had been inflicted.

The Los Angeles riot, the worst in the United States since the Detroit riot of 1943, shocked all who had been confident that race relations were improving in the North, and evoked a new mood in the ghettos around the country.


The events of 1966 made it appear that domestic turmoil had become part of the American scene.

In March, a fight between several Negroes and Mexican-Americans resulted in a new flareup in Watts. In May, after a police officer accidentally shot and killed a Negro, demonstrations by Negro militants again increased tension in Los Angeles.

Evidence was accumulating that a major proportion of riot participants were youths. Increasing race pride, skepticism about their job prospects, and dissatisfaction with the inadequacy of their education, caused unrest among students in Negro colleges and high schools. Students and youths were the principal participants in at least six of the 13 spring and early summer disorders of 1966.

July 12, 1966, was a hot day in Chicago. Negro youngsters were playing in water gushing from an illegally opened fire hydrant. Two police officers, arriving on the scene closed the hydrant. A Negro youth turned it on again, and the police officers arrested him. A crowd gathered. Police reinforcements arrived. As the crowd became unruly, seven Negro youths were arrested.

Rumors spread that the arrested youths had been beaten, and that police were turning off fire hydrants in Negro neighborhoods but leaving them on in white areas. Sporadic window breaking, rock throwing, and firebombing lasted for several hours. Most of the participants were teenagers.

In Chicago, as in other cities, the long-standing grievances of the Negro community needed only minor incidents trigger violence.

In 1961 when Negroes, after being evacuated from a burning tenement, had been sheltered in a church in an all-white area, a crowd of residents had gathered and threatened to attack the church unless the Negroes were removed.

Segregated schools and housing had led to repeated picketing and marches by civil rights organizations. When marchers had gone into white neighborhoods, they had been met on several occasions by KKK signs and crowds throwing eggs and tomatoes. In 1965, when a Chicago fire truck had killed a Negro woman in an accident, Negroes had congregated to protest against the fire station's all-white complement. Rock throwing and looting had broken out. More than 170 persons were arrested in two days.

On the evening of July 13, 1966, the day after the fire hydrant incident, rock throwing, looting and fire-bombing began again. For several days thereafter the pattern of violence was repeated. Police responding to calls were subjected to random gunfire. Rumors spread. The press talked in highly exaggerated terms of "guerrilla warfare" and "sniper fire."

Before the police and 4,200 National Guardsmen managed to restore order, scores of civilians and police had been injured. There were 533 arrests, including 155 juveniles. Three Negroes were killed by stray bullets, among them a 13-year-old boy and a 14-year-old pregnant girl.

Less than a week later, Ohio National Guardsmen were mobilized to deal with an outbreak of rioting that continued for four nights in the Hough section of Cleveland. It is probable that Negro extremists, although they neither instigated nor organized the disorder, exploited and enlarged it. Amidst widespread reports of "sniper fire," four Negroes, including one young woman, were killed; many others, several children among them, were injured. Law enforcement officers were responsible for two of the deaths, a white man firing from a car for a third, and a group of young white vigilantes for the fourth.

[Some news media keeping "tally sheets" of the disturbances began to apply the term "riot" to acts of vandalism and relatively minor disorders.]

At the end of July, the National States Rights Party, a white extremist organization that advocates deporting Negroes and other minorities, preached racial hatred at a series of rallies in Baltimore. Bands of white youths were incited into chasing and beating Negroes. A court order halted the rallies.

Forty-three disorders and riots were reported during 1966. Although there were considerable variations in circumstances, intensity, and length, they were usual1y ignited by a minor incident fueled by antagonism between the Negro population and the police.

Spring 1967

In the spring of 1967 disorders broke out at three Southern Negro universities at which SNCC (Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee), a militant anti-white organization, had been attempting to organize the students.

On Friday, April 7, learning that Stokely Carmichael was speaking at two primarily Negro universities, Fisk and Tennessee A&I, in Nashville, and receiving information that some persons were preparing to riot, the police adopted an emergency riot plan. On the fol1owing day Carmichael and others, including South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond, spoke at a symposium at Vanderbilt University.

That evening the Negro operator of a restaurant located near Fisk University summoned police to arrest an al1egedly intoxicated Negro soldier.

Within a few minutes students, many of them members of SNCC, began to picket the restaurant. A squad of riot police arrived and soon became the focus of attention. Spectators gathered. When a city bus was halted and attacked by members of the crowd, a Negro police lieutenant fired five shots into the air.

Rocks and bottles were thrown, and additional police were called into the area. Officers fired a number of shots over the beads of the crowd. The students and spectators gradually dispersed.

On the fol1owing evening, after negotiations between students and police broke down, crowds again began forming. Police fired over their heads, and shots were fired back at the police. On the fringes of the campus several white youths aimed shots at a police patrol wagon.

A few days later, when police raided the homes of several young Negro militants, they confiscated a half dozen bottles prepared as Molotov cocktails.

About a month later, students at Jackson State College, in Jackson, Mississippi, were standing around after a political rally when two Negro police officers pursued a speeding car, driven by a Negro student, onto the campus. When the officers tried to arrest the driver, the students interfered. The police called for reinforcements. A crowd of several hundred persons quickly gathered. Rock-throwing began but then stopped.

On the following evening, an even larger crowd assembled. When police attempted to disperse it by gunfire, three persons were hit. One of them, a young Negro, died the next day. The National Guard restored order.

Six days later, on May 16, two separate Negro protests were taking place in Houston. One group was picketing a garbage dump in a Negro residential neighborhood, where a Negro child had drowned. Another was demonstrating at a junior high school on the grounds that Negro students were disciplined more harshly than white.

That evening college students who had participated in the protests returned to the campus of Texas Southern University. About 50 of them were grouped around a 21-year-old student, D.W., a Vietnam veteran, who was seeking to stimulate further protest action. A dispute broke out, and D. W. reportedly slapped another student. When the student threatened D. W. he left, armed himself with a pistol, and returned.

In response to the report of a disturbance, two unmarked police cars with four officers arrived. Two of the officers questioned D.W., discovered he was armed with a pistol, and arrested him.

A short time later, when one of the police cars returned to the campus, it was met by rocks and bottles thrown by students. As police called for reinforcements, sporadic gunshots reportedly came from the men's dormitory. The police returned the fire.

For several hours, gunfire punctuated unsuccessful attempts by community leaders to negotiate a truce between the students and the police.

When several tar barrels were set afire in the street and shooting broke out again, police decided to enter the dormitory. A patrolman, struck by a ricocheting bullet, was killed. After clearing all 480 occupants from the building, police searched it and found one shotgun and two .22 caliber pistols. The origin of the shot that killed the officer was not determined.

As the summer of 1967 approached, Americans, conditioned by three years of reports of riots, expected violence. But they had no answers to hard questions: What was causing the turmoil? Was it organized and, if so, by whom? Was there a pattern to the disorders?


On Sunday, June 11, 1967, Tampa, Florida, sweltered in the 94-degree heat. A humid wind ruffled the bay, where thousands of persons watched the hydroplane races. Since early morning the Police Department's Selective Enforcement Unit, designed as a riot control squad, had been employed to keep order at the races.

At 5:30 P.M., a block from the waterfront, a photo supply warehouse was broken into. Forty-five minutes later two police officers spotted three Negro youths as they walked near the State Building. When the youths caught sight of the officers, they ducked into an alley. The officers gave chase. As they ran, the suspects left a trail of photographic equipment scattered from yellow paper bags they were carrying.

The officers transmitted a general broadcast over the police radio. As other officers arrived on the scene, a chase began through and around the streets, houses, and alleys of the neighborhood. When Negro residents of the area adjacent to the Central Park Village Housing Project became aware of the chase, they began to participate. Some attempted to help the officers in locating the suspects.

R. C. Oates, one of 17 Negros on the 511-man Tampa police force, spotted 19-year-old Martin Chambers, bare to the waist, wriggling away beneath one of the houses. Oates called for Chambers to surrender. Ignoring him, Chambers emerged running from beneath the house. A white officer, J. L. Calvert, took up the pursuit.

Pursuing Calvert, in turn, were three young Negroes, all spectators. Behind one of the houses a high cyclone fence created a two-foot wide alley twenty-five feet in length.

As Chambers darted along the fence, Officer Calvert rounded the comer of the house. Calvert yelled to him to halt. Chambers ignored him. Calvert pointed his .38 revolver and fired. The slug entered the back of Chambers and passed completely through his body. Raising his hands over his head, he clutched at the cyclone fence.

When the three youths running behind Officer Calvert came upon the scene, they assumed Chambers had been shot standing in the position in which they saw him. Rumor quickly spread through the neighborhood that a white police officer had shot a Negro youth who had had his hands over his head and was trying to surrender.

The ambulance that had been summoned became lost on the way. The gathering crowd viewing the bloody, critically injured youth grew increasingly belligerent.

Finally, Officer Oates loaded Chambers into his car and drove him to the hospital. The youth died shortly thereafter.

As officers were leaving the scene, a thunderstorm broke. Beneath the pelting rain, the spectators scattered. When an officer went back to check the area he found no one on the streets.

A few minutes after 7:00 P.M., the Selective Enforcement Unit, tired and sun-parched, reported in from the races. A half hour later a report was received that 500 persons were gathering. A police car was sent into the area to check the report. The officers could find no one. The men of the Selective Enforcement Unit were told to go home.

The men in the scout car had not, however, penetrated into the Central Park Village Housing complex where, as the rain ended, hundreds of persons poured from the apartments. At least half were teenagers and young adults. As they began to mill about and discuss the shooting, old grievances, both real and imagined, were resurrected: discriminatory practices of local stores, advantages taken by white men of Negro girls, the kicking in the face of a Negro boy by a white man as the Negro lay handcuffed on the ground, blackballing of two Negro high schools by the athletic conference.

Although officials prided themselves on supposedly good race relations and relative acceptance by whites of integration of schools and facilities, Negroes, composing almost 20 percent of the population, [2] had had no one of their own race to represent them in positions of policy or power, nor to appeal to for redress of grievances.

There was no Negro on the city council; none on the school board: none in the fire department; none of high rank on the police force. Six of every 10 houses inhabited by Negroes were unsound. Many were shacks with broken window panes, gas leaks, and rat holes in the walls. Rents averaged $50 to $60 a month. Such recreational facilities as did exist lacked equipment and supervisors. Young toughs intimidated the children who tried to use them.

The majority of Negro children never reached the eighth grade. In the high schools, only 3 to 4 percent of Negro seniors attained the minimum passing score on the State's college entrance examination, one-tenth the percentage of white students.

A difference of at least three-and-a-half years in educational attainment separated the average Negro and white. Fifty-five percent of the Negro men in Tampa were working in unskilled jobs. More than half of the families had incomes of less than $3,000 a year. The result was that 40 percent of the Negro children lived in broken homes, and the city's crime rate ranked in the top 25 percent in the nation.

About a month before, police-community relations had been severely strained by the actions of a pail of white officers who were subsequently transferred to another beat.

When Officer Oates returned to the area he attempted to convince the crowd to disperse by announcing that a complete investigation would be made into the shooting. He seemed to be making headway when a young woman came running down the street screaming that the police had killed her brother. Her hysteria galvanized the crowd. Rock throwing began. Police cars driving into the area were stoned. The police, relying on a previous experience when, after withdrawal of their units, the crowd had dispersed, decided to send no more patrol cars into the vicinity.

This time the maneuver did not work. From nearby bars and tawdry night spots patrons joined the throng. A window was smashed. Haphazard looting began. As fluid bands of rioters moved down the Central Avenue business district, stores whose proprietors were particularly disliked were singled out. A grocery store, a liquor store, a restaurant were hit. The first fire was set.

Because of the dismissal of the Selective Enforcement Unit and the lack of accurate intelligence information, the police department was slow to react. Although Sheriff Malcolm Beard of Hillsborough County was in contact with the Department throughout the evening, it was not until after 11:00 P.M. that a request for deputies was made to him.

At 11:30 P.M. a recall order, issued earlier by the police department, began to bring officers back into the area. By this time, the streets in the vicinity of the housing project were lighted by the flames of burning buildings.

Falling power lines whipped sparks about the skirmish line of officers as they moved down the street. The popping noise of what sounded to the officers like gunshots came from the direction of the housing project.

The officers did not return the fire. Police announced from a sound car that anyone caught armed would be shot. The firing ceased. Then, and throughout the succeeding two days, law enforcement officers refrained from the use of firearms. No officer or civilian suffered a gunshot wound during the riot.

Driving along the expressway, a young white couple, Mr. and Mrs. C. D., were startled by the fires. Deciding to investigate, they took the off-ramp into the midst of the riot. The car was swarmed over. Its windows were shattered. C. D. was dragged into the street.

As he emerged from a bar in which he had spent the evening, 19-year old J. C., a Negro fruit-picker from Arkansas, was as surprised by the riot as Mr. and Mrs. C. D. Rushing toward the station wagon in which the young woman was trapped, he interposed himself between her and the mob. Although rocks and beer cans smashed the windows, she was able to drive off. J. C. pushed through to where the white man lay. With the hoots and jeers of rioting youths ringing in his ears, J. C. helped him, also, to escape.

By 1:00 A.M., police officers and sheriff's deputies had surrounded an area several blocks square. Firemen began to extinguish the flames which, by this time, had spread to several other establishments from the three stores in which they had, originally, been set. No resistance was met Control was soon re-established.

Governor Claude Kirk flew to Tampa. Since the chief of police was absent, and since the Governor regarded the sheriff as his "direct arm," Sheriff Beard was placed in charge of the combined forces of the police and sheriff's departments.

For the next 12 hours the situation remained quiet but tense. By afternoon of Monday, June 12, the sheriff's and police forces both had been fully committed. The men were tired. There were none in reserve.

As a precaution, the Sheriff requested that a National Guard contingent be made available.

Late in the afternoon Governor Kirk met with the residents at a school in the Central Park Village area. It was a tense meeting. Most speakers, whether white or Negro, were booed and hissed. The meeting broke up without concrete results. Nevertheless, the Governor believed it had enabled the residents to let off steam.

That evening, as National Guard troops began to supplant local forces in maintaining a perimeter and establishing roving patrols, anti-poverty workers went from door to door, urging citizens to stay off the streets.

A reported attempt by Black Muslims to incite further violence failed. Although there were scattered reports of trouble from several areas of the city, and a few fires were set -- largely in vacant buildings -- there were no major incidents. Several youths with a cache of Molotov cocktails were arrested. They were white.

All the next day false reports poured into Police Headquarters. Everyday scenes took on menacing tones. Twenty Negro men, bared to the waist and carrying clubs were reported to be gathering. They turned out to be construction workers.

Mayor Nuccio met with residents. At their suggestion that the man most likely to carry weight with the youngsters was Coach Jim Williams, he placed a call to Tallahassee, where Williams was attending a coaching clinic.

An impressive-looking man with graying hair, Williams arrived in Tampa almost 48 hours after the shooting of Martin Chambers. Together with another coach he went to an eatery called The Greek Stand, behind which he found a number of youngsters fashioning an arsenal of bottles, bricks, and Molotov cocktails. As in the crowds that were once more beginning to gather, the principal complaint was the presence of the National Guard, which, the residents asserted, gave them a feeling of being hemmed in. Williams decided to attempt to negotiate the removal of the National Guard if the people would agree to keep the peace and to disperse.

When Sheriff Beard arrived at a meeting called for the College Hill Elementary School, Robert Gilder of the NAACP was speaking to leaders of the Negro youth. Some were college students who had been unable to get summer jobs. One was a Vietnam veteran who had been turned down for a position as a swimming pool lifeguard. The youths believed that discrimination had played a part in their failure to find jobs.

The suggestion was made to Sheriff Beard that the National Guard be pulled out of the Negro areas, and that these young men, as well as others, be given the opportunity to keep order. The idea, which was encouraged by James Hammond, Director of the Commission of Community Relations, made sense to the Sheriff. He decided to take a chance on the Youth Patrol.

In another part of the city, West Tampa, two Negro community leaders, Dr. James O. Brookins and attorney Delano S. Stewart, were advised by acquaintances that, unless the intensive patrolling of Negro neighborhoods ceased, people planned to set fires in industrial districts that evening. Like Coach Williams, Dr. Brookins and Stewart contacted neighborhood youths, and invited Sheriff Beard to a meeting. The concept of the Youth Patrol was expanded. Participants were identified first by phosphorescent arm bands, and later by white hats.

During the next 24 hours 126 youths, some of whom had participated in the riot, were recruited into the patrol. Many were high school dropouts.

On Wednesday, the inquiry into the death of Martin Chambers was concluded. With the verdict that Officer Calvert had fired the shot justifiably and in the line of duty, apprehension rose that trouble would erupt again. The leaders of the Youth Patrol were called in. The Sheriff explained the law to them, and pointed out that the verdict was in conformance with the law. Despite the fact that the verdict was not to their liking, the White Hats continued to keep order.


On Monday, June 12, before order had been restored in Tampa, trouble erupted 940 miles away in Cincinnati.

Beginning in October, 1965, assaults on middle-aged white women, several of whom were murdered, had generated an atmosphere of fear. When the "Cincinnati Strangler" was tentatively identified as a Negro, a new element of tension was injected into relations between the races.

In December, 1966, a Negro jazz musician named Posteal Laskey was arrested and charged with one of the murders. In May of 1967 he was convicted and sentenced to death. Two of the principal witnesses against Laskey were Negroes. Nevertheless, many Negroes felt that, because of the charged atmosphere, he had not received a fair trial.

They were further aroused when, at about the same time, a white man, convicted of manslaughter in the death of his girlfriend, received a suspended sentence. Although the cases were dissimilar, there was talk in the Negro community that the difference in the sentences demonstrated a double standard of justice for white and for black.

A drive began in the Negro community to raise funds for an appeal. Laskey's cousin, Peter Frakes, began walking the streets on behalf of this appeal carrying a sandwich board declaring: "Cincinnati Guilty -- Laskey Innocent," After warning him several times, police arrested Frakes on a charge of blocking pedestrian traffic.

Many Negroes viewed his arrest as evidence of police harassment, similar to the apparently selective enforcement of the city's anti-loitering ordinance. Between January, 1966, and June, 1967, 170 of some 240 persons arrested under the ordinance were Negro.

Frakes was arrested at 12:35 A.M. on Sunday, June 11. That evening, concurrently with the commencement of a Negro Baptist Convention, it was announced in one of the churches that a meeting to protest the Frakes arrest and the anti-loitering ordinance would be held the following night on the grounds of a junior high school in the Avondale District.

Part of the significance of such a protest meeting lay in the context of past events. Without the city's realizing what was occurring, over the years protest through political and non-violent channels had become increasingly difficult for Negroes. To young, militant Negroes, especially, such protest appeared to have become almost futile.

Although the city's Negro population had been rising swiftly -- in 1967, 135,000 out of the city's 500,000 residents were Negroes -- there was only one Negro on the city council. In the 1950's, with a far smaller Negro population, there had been two. Negroes attributed this to dilution of the Negro vote through abolition of the proportional representation system of electing the nine councilmen. When a Negro received the largest total vote of any of the councilmen -- traditionally the criterion for choosing the mayor -- tradition had been cast aside, and a white man was picked for mayor.

Although, by 1967, 40 percent of the school children were Negro, there was only one Negro on the Board of Education. Of 81 members of various city commissions, only one was a Negro.

Under the leadership of the NAACP, picketing, to protest lack of Negro membership in building trades unions, took place at the construction site of a new city convention hall. It produced no results. When the Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth, who had been one of the leaders of the Birmingham demonstrations of 1963, staged a protest against alleged discriminatory practices at the County Hospital, he and his followers were arrested and convicted of trespassing.

Traditional Negro leaders drawn from the middle class lost influence as promises made by the city produced petty results. In the spring of 1967, a group of 14 white and 14 Negro business and community leaders, called the Committee of 28, talked about 2,000 job openings for young Negroes. Only 65 materialized. Almost one out of every eight Cincinnati Negroes was unemployed. Two of every five Negro families were living on or below the border of poverty.

A study of the West End section of the city indicated that one out of every four Negro men living there was out of work. In one public housing area two-thirds of the fathers were missing. Of private housing occupied by Negroes, one-fourth was overcrowded, and half was deteriorated or dilapidated.

In the 90-degree temperature of Monday, June 12th, as throughout the summer, Negro youngsters roamed the streets. The two swimming pools available to them could accommodate only a handful. In the Avondale section -- once a prosperous white middle class community, but now the home of more than half the city's Negro population -- Negro youths watched white workers going to work at white-owned stores and businesses. One youth began to count the number of delivery trucks being driven by Negroes. During the course of the afternoon, of the 52 trucks he counted, only one had a Negro driver. His sampling was remarkably accurate. According to a study conducted by the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission, less than 2 percent of truck drivers in the Cincinnati area are Negro.

Late in the afternoon the youth began to interfere with deliveries being made by white drivers. Dr. Bruce Green, president of the local NAACP chapter, was notified. Dr. Green asked his colleague, Dr. Robert Reid, the director of the Opportunities Industrialization Center, to go and try to calm the youngsters. Dr. Reid found several whom he knew, and convinced them to go with him to the Avondale Special Services Office to talk things over.

They were drawing up plans for a meeting with merchants of the Avondale area when word came of an altercation at a nearby drugstore. Several of the youths left the meeting and rushed over to the store. Dr. Reid followed them. The owner of the store was complaining to the police that earlier the youths had been interfering with his business; he declared that he wasn't going to stand for it.

Dr. Reid was attempting to mediate when a police sergeant arrived and asked the officers what was going on. One allegedly replied that they had been called in because "young nigger punks were disrupting deliveries to the stores."

A dispute arose between Dr. Reid and the sergeant as to whether the officer had said "nigger." After further discussion the sergeant told the kids to "break it up!" Dr. Reid, together with some of the youngsters, returned to the Special Services Office. After talking to the youngsters again, Dr. Reid left to attend a meeting elsewhere.

Soon after, some of the youngsters headed for the junior high school, where the meeting protesting the Frakes arrest and the anti-loitering ordinance was scheduled to take place.

The police department, alerted to the possibility of a disturbance, mobilized. However, the police were wary of becoming, as some Negro militants had complained, an inciting factor. Some months earlier, when Ku Klux Klansmen had been attracted to the scene of a speech by Stokely Carmichael, a Negro crowd, reacting to the heavy police patrolling, had gathered about the car of a plainclothesman and attempted to overturn it. On Monday, June 12, the department decided to withhold its men from the immediate area of the meeting.

It appeared for a time as if this policy might be rewarded. Near the end of the rally, however, a Negro real estate broker arose to defend the police and the anti-loitering ordinance. The crowd, including the youngsters who had had the encounter with the police officers only a short time earlier, was incensed. When the meeting broke up, a missile was hurled through the window of a nearby church. A small fire was set in the street. A Molotov cocktail was thrown through the window of a drug store.

The police were able to react quickly. There was only one major confrontation between them and the mob. Little resistance was offered.

Although windows were broken in some two dozen stores, there was virtually no looting. There were 14 arrests, some unconnected with the disturbance. Among those arrested was a community worker, now studying for a doctorate at Brandeis University. When he went to the area to help get people off the streets, he was arrested and charged with loitering.

The next morning a judge of the Municipal Court, before whom most of the persons charged were to be brought, said be intended to mete out the maximum sentence to anyone found guilty of a riot-connected offense. Although the judge later told the Commission that he knew his statement was a "violation of judicial ethics," he said that he made it because the "city was in a state of siege," and he intended it to act as a deterrent against further violence.

Maximum sentences were, in fact, pronounced by the judge on all convicted in his court, regardless of the circumstances of the arrest, or the background of the persons arrested. Police were charging most white persons arrested with disorderly conduct -- for which the maximum sentence is 30 days in jail and a $100 fine. Many Negroes, however, were charged with violation of the Riot Act -- for which the maximum sentence is one year in jail plus a $500 fine. The consequent impression among a major portion of the Negro community was of discriminatory justice.

Tuesday morning Negro leaders presented a list of 11 demands and grievances stemming from the Monday night meeting to the municipal government. Included were demands for repeal of the anti-loitering law, release of all prisoners arrested during the disturbance, full employment for Negroes, and equal justice in the courts.

Municipal officials agreed that the city council would consider the demands. However, they rejected a suggestion that they attend an open-air meeting of residents in the Avondale section. City leaders did not want to give stature to the militants by recognizing them as the de facto representatives of the community. Yet, by all indications, the militants were the only persons with influence on the people on the streets.

Mayor Walton H. Bachrach declared that he was "quite surprised" by the disturbance because the council had "worked like hell" to help Negroes. Municipal officials, whose contacts were, as in other cities, generally with a few middle-class Negroes, appeared not to realize the volatile frustrations of Negroes in the ghetto.

Early in the evening a crowd, consisting mostly of teenagers and young adults, began to gather in the Avondale District. When, after a short time, no one appeared to give direction, they began to mill about. A few minutes before 7:00 P.M. cars were stoned and windows were broken. Police moved in to disperse the gathering.

Fires were set. When firemen reached the scene they were barraged with rocks and bottles. A full-scale confrontation took place between police riot squads and the Negro crowd. As police swept the streets, people scattered. According to the chief of police, at approximately 7: 15, "All hell broke loose."

The disorder leaped to other sections of the city. The confusion and rapidity with which it spread made it almost impossible to determine its scope.

Many reports of fires set by Molotov cocktails, cars being stoned, and windows being broken were received by the police. A white motorist -- who died three weeks later -- and a Negro sitting on his porch suffered gunshot wounds. Rumors spread of Negro gangs raiding white neighborhoods, of shootings, and of organization of the riot. Nearly all of them were determined later to be unfounded.

At 9:40 P.M., following a request for aid to surrounding communities, Mayor Bachrach placed a call to the Governor asking for mobilization of the National Guard.

At 2:30 A.M., Wednesday the first Guard units appeared on the streets. They followed a policy of restraint in the use of weapons. Few shots were fired. Two hours later, the streets were quiet. Most of the damage was minor. Of 40-odd fires reported before dawn, only 11 resulted in a loss of more than $1,000. The fire department log listed four as having caused major damage.

That afternoon the city council held an open session. The chamber was jammed with Negro residents, many of whom gave vociferous support as their spokesmen criticized the city administration. When the audience became unruly, a detail of National Guardsmen was stationed outside the council chamber. Their presence resulted in a misunderstanding, causing many of the Negroes to walk out, and the meeting to end.

Wednesday night there were virtually no reports of riotous activity until 9:00 P.M., when scattered incidents of violence again began to take place. One person was injured by a gunshot.

Despite fears of a clash between Negroes and SAMS -- white Southern Appalachian migrants whose economic conditions paralleled those of Negroes -- such a clash was averted.

H. "Rap" Brown, arriving in the city on Thursday, attempted to capitalize on the discontent by presenting a list of 20 "demands." Their principal effect would have been total removal of all white persons, whatever their capacity, from the ghetto area. Demand No. 18 stated that "at any meeting to settle grievances ... any white proposal or white representative objected to by black representatives must be rejected automatically." No. 20 demanded a veto power over police officers patrolling the community.

His appearance had no galvanizing effect. Although scattered incidents occurred for three days after the arrival of the National Guard, the disorder never returned to its early intensity.

Of 63 reported injuries, 12 were serious enough to require hospitalization; 56 of the persons injured were white. Most of the injuries resulted from thrown objects or glass shards. Of the 107 persons arrested Tuesday night, when the main disturbance took place, 75 were 21 years of age or younger. Of the total of 404 persons arrested, 128 were juveniles, and 338 were 26 years of age or younger. Of the adults arrested. 29 percent were unemployed.


On Saturday, June 17, as the National Guard was being withdrawn from Cincinnati, the same type of minor police arrest that had initiated the Cincinnati riot took place in Atlanta.

Rapid industrialization following World War II, coupled with annexations that quadrupled the area of the city, made Atlanta a vigorous and booming community. Pragmatic business and political leaders worked to give it a reputation as the moderate stronghold of the Deep South.

Nevertheless, despite acceptance, in principle, of integration of schools and facilities, the fact that the city is headquarters both for civil rights organizations and segregationist elements created a strong and ever-present potential for conflict.

The rapidly growing Negro population, which, by the summer of 1967 had reached an estimated 44 percent, and was scattered in several ghettos throughout the city, was maintaining constant pressure on surrounding white residential areas. Some real estate agents engaged in "blockbusting tactics." [3] to stimulate panic sales by white homeowners. The city police were continually on the alert to keep marches and countermarches of civil rights and white supremacist organizations from flaring into violence.

In September 1966, following a fatal shooting by a police officer of a Negro auto thief who was resisting arrest, only the dramatic ghetto appearance of Mayor Ivan Allen, Jr. had averted a riot.

Boasting that Atlanta had the largest KKK membership in the country, the Klan, on June 4, 1967, marched through one of the poorer Negro sections. A massive police escort prevented a racial clash.

According to Mayor Allen, 55 percent of municipal employees hired in 1967 were Negroes, bringing their proportion of the city work force to 28 percent. Of 908 police department employees, 85 are Negro -- a higher proportion of Negroes than in most major city police departments in the nation.

To the Negro community, however, it appeared that the progress made served only to reduce the level of inequality. Equal conditions for blacks and whites remained a hope for the future. Different pay scales for black and white municipal employees performing the same jobs had been only recently eliminated.

The economic and educational gap between the black and white populations may, in fact, have been increasing. The average white Atlantan was a high school graduate; the average Negro Atlantan had not completed the eighth grade.

In 1960 the median income of a Negro family was less than half of the white's $6,350 a year, and 48 percent of Negro families earned less than $3,000 a year. Fifty percent of the men worked in unskilled jobs, and many more Negro women than men, 7.9 percent as against 4.9 percent of the respective work forces, held well-paying, white collar jobs.

Living on marginal incomes in cramped and deteriorating quarters -- one-third of the housing was overcrowded and more than half substandard -- families were breaking up at an increasing rate. In approximately four out of every 10 Negro homes the father was missing. In the case of families living in public housing projects, more than 60 percent are headed by females.

Mayor Allen estimated there were 25,000 jobs -in the city waiting to be filled because people lacked the education or skills to fill them. Yet overcrowding in many Negro schools forced the scheduling of extended and double sessions. Although Negroes comprised 60 percent of the school population, there were 14 "white" high schools compared to 9 Negro.

The city has integrated Its schools, but de facto segregation as a result of housing patterns has had the effect of continuing separate schooling of nearly all white and Negro pupils. White high school students attended classes 6-1/2 hours a day; Negroes in high schools with double sessions attended 4-1/2.

One Atlanta newspaper continued to advertise jobs by race, and in some industrial plants there were Negro jobs and white jobs, with little chance for advancement by Negroes.

Shortly after 8:00 P.M. on Saturday, June 17, a young Negro, E. W., carrying a can of beer, attempted to enter the Flamingo Grill in the Dixie Hills Shopping Center. When a Negro security guard told the youth he could not enter, a scuffle ensued. Police officers were called to the guard's aid. E. W. received help from his 19-year-old sister, who flailed away at the officers with her purse. Another 19-year-old Negro youth entered the fray. All three were arrested.

Although some 200 to 300 persons had been drawn to the scene of the incident, when police asked them to disperse, they complied.

Because the area is isolated from the city in terms of transportation, and there are few recreational facilities, the shopping center is a natural gathering place. The next night, Sunday, an even bigger crowd was on hand.

As they mingled, residents discussed their grievances. They were bitter about their inability to get the city government to correct conditions and make improvements. Garbage sometimes was not picked up for two weeks in succession. Overflowing garbage cans, littered streets, and cluttered empty lots were breeding grounds for rats. Inadequate storm drains led to flooded streets. Although residents had obtained title to several empty lots for use as playgrounds, the city failed to provide the equipment and men necessary to convert them.
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