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The Michigan chronicle. [volume] (Detroit, Mich.) 1936-current, January 15, 1944, Image 6

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We cannot help but admire those among our
nation's leaders who have the courage of their con
victions about democracy and who refuse to be in
timidated by those who insist upon compromising
democratic principles because of their personal preju
dices. One of the most courageous of these national
is the wife of the President of the United
Although she has been bitterly assailed by
Southern Bourbons and Northern reactionaries, Mrs.
Roosevelt walks serenely forward on the path where
justice leads, unflinching and unafraid. In her syn
d’cated news columns for January 5, the First Lady
answered those who criticized her interest in housing
for Negroes, one of the fnost serious problems affect
ing race relations. She exposed the national tendency
to confine Negroes to the slums and ghettoes of this
country and defended the right of all people to
decent housing.
Concluding her statement on the problem, Mrs.
Roosevelt stated: “This proposal to herd our citizens
according to race and religion has many serious dis
advantages and should be fought, I believe, by all
people interested in the future peace and unity of
our nation.” This is a clear, forthright statement
which strikes at the root of our housing problem
and it is also a call to true Americans to resist the
pro-fascist, jim crow movement which is sowing
discord and disunity.
The iittle gangs of racists scattered over the
nation which are dedicated to an American brand
of fascism are seeking to perpetuate and strengthen
the ant-democratic practices which make for anarchy.
Out of the social chaos which is of their own making,
these racists who pose as super-patriots hope to grab
power and create a government which will be re
actionary and tyrannical. They are playing Hitler’s
game and we know it
m. The radata are. the enemies of democracy and of
Be minority groups. They are anti-Negro, anti
'Jabdr and anti-Jew. The housing issue and many
pothers have been carefully manipulated by them as
we in Detroit know only too well. It is clear that
this is the time for strong democratic leaders to assert
themselves and speak out to the deluded masses who
,gre being sucked ir by reactionary propaganda. Those
leaders who are sincerely interested in the “peace
and unity of our nation” must know as Herbert Agar
has written, “this is a time for greatness.”
Mrs. Roosevelt has risen to the occasion and we
hope that some of her courage can find its way into
.the hearts and minds of those who are sitting on the
sidelines, sitting out this death dance between fas
cijm and democracy. Many millions of Americans
tare willing, even eager, to follow that leadership
Which they know smacks of true greatness.
A great deal of the literature and the speeches
'that have come out of the South in these war years
reflect a common point of view which we believe is
dangerous to our democracy and, in the long run,
,may precipitate another Civil War. This point of
view is essentially defeatist and it forecasts doom.
IA typical article appears in the current issue of the
Atlantic Monthly, written by David L. Cohn of
New Orleans and entitled “How The South Feels.”
Obviously sincere Mr. Cohn builds his story
around three acknowledgments which Americans
must accept if they would understand the Southern
mind and improve race relations. Mr. Cohn writes:
“I submit that our understanding depends upon three
candid acknowledgments. The first is that the Negro
question is insoluble, as are all complex social
“Secondly, we must acknowledge that the ques
tion is insoluble because, in the conscious or uncon
scious minds of whites, it is at bottom a blood or
sexual question . . .
“I come now to the third acknowledgment con
cerning the Negro question. If it is insoluble in the
sense mentioned, the issue is confused and harm is
done to the relations of the races when leaders of
both sides, out of sentimentality or refusal to face
the fact, pretend that somehow it is capable of
“No notable improvement of race relations can
be achieved, in my opinion, unless the ground is
cleared by a recognition on the part of both whites
and Negroes that (a) the problem is incapable of
solution, and (b) the issues of segregation must not
be called into question.”
As Mr. Cohn develops his arguments it is clear
that he would have Americans believe that, while
color tyranny can be made more tolerable, it is folly
to believe that democracy will be extended the Negro
in the South. Segregation is the sacred cow and
those who would abolish it risk civil war. He echoes
the most inflammatory statement made in this war
period which was made almost accidentally. It was
the statement of Mark Etheridge who declared that
the Negro must realize that there is no power on
earth, not even the combined military might of the
armies of the Axis and the Allies, which could “force
the Southern white people to abandon the principle
of social segregation.”
Somehow we cannot understand how intelligent,
even “liberal,” white Southerners can really believe
such nonsense nor can we understand why they
should choose this hour in American history to tell
the nation that we cannot achieve here at home
what millions are risking their lives to achieve
abroad. With thirteen million Negroes, one. tenth
of the nation, struggling forward despite their frus
trations, their man-made handicaps, their poverty,
here we have eminent spokesmen from the white
South declaring that no matter how deserving we
may be or may become, we are doomed from birth
to an inferior and subservient status in American
We cannot understand why these spokesmen
should hurl such a challenge in the teeth of the Negro
people, why they should threaten the forces of de
mocracy, why they should repudiate the announced
aims of this bloody war. It is sheer nonsense to be
lieve that the Southern white man cannot change and
be changed. The forces of organized labor working
in the South, to cite one agency, are already making
changes and that is why the vested interests of the
South are fighting labor. Even Virginus Dabney of
the famed Richmond Times Dispatch has urged the
abolition of jim crow street cars in Richmond and he
is still alive.
These spokesmen for the South who insist upon
the insolubility of the race problem are doing a great
injustice to the very people they presume to repre
sent. They do not know that the social institutions
which perpetuate this racism are not only subject to
change but that many Southerners would welcome
the change. There is nothing immutable about social
institutions for they are man made and men can
make a Nazi state, a democracy or what they will.
These Southern defeatists, however, can bring to
pass their dire predictions by propagandizing their
people and strenthening the popular myths of racism.
They can incite them to violence as their forefathers
did on the eve of the rebellion. It is time for these
forecasters of doom to face the facts of life and
recognize the stupidity of their position in this period
when the whole world is on the march for freedom
These spokesmen are not realists, they are defeatists
playing with fire.
The Facts In Our News
A well-known white woman told
the following storjr In the presence
of Senator Charles Diggs, Mrs.
Crystal Bird Faucet and your cor
respondent. This well-known wo
man was standing in line the day
before New Year’s to get her liquor
ration. (An American scene, so do
not get excited.) Just in front of
her in the line was her friend
whose husband had Just returned
from the South Pacific. They were
discussing rather feelingly the ex
periences as related to them by the
returned husband and soldier. The
line moved along inside the door.
Just as they stepped Inside the door,
the voice of a man from behind
them said, “I could not help but
overhear your conversation about
the war. It all Interested me very
much because I have two sons In
the war. They are fine boys and I
should like to tell you something
about them.** By this time the two
women had turned completely
around and were looking squarely
into the face of a middle-aged Ne
gro man. The story that he told was
that Just before Christmas he and
his wife had written letters to their
two sons In the army. One was
stationed In the South Pacific
where he had seen battle and also
had demonstrated courage. The
other was stationed In North Africa
where he. too, had learned to walk
upright In the presence of bursting
shells and machine guns that
barked death on every hand to all
men who stood In their way, re
gardless of their 'olor. The letters
sent to the boys were seeking to
find out what the boys wanted their
parents to send them for Christmas.
The parents wanted to send some
thing useful to the boys on the
After a while, answers came from
both boys and arrived at the
parents’ home a ferw days apart.
What do you think the answers
were to the parents’ request as to
what to give for Christmas presents
to their beloved boys? The answers
were the same in both letters, even
though the boys were widely sepa
rated from each other by long dis
tances, and could not have had
any opportunity to compare notes
on what each desired as a Christ
mas gift from their parents. Both
letters asked that their father and
mother each give a blood donation
to the blood bank through the Red
The two white womer listening
to this story were amazed, and at
the same time felt ashamed. Here
were these two Negro boys writing
from the battlefields of the world
saying that the one thing that their
parents could give to them was
that the parents make a gift of
blood to the blood bank in order
that some wounded soldier would
have a better chance at life The
reader may ask. why were these
white woman so amased and felt so
ashamed? These two women knew
that the American Red Cross bad
given way to discrimination, racial
myths, and Just pure ignorance in
the matter of taking blood from
Negro blood donors. These boys,
with their parents, knew that Ne
groes had been refused the oppor
tunity to give blood. They knew
that after much fighting, blood of
Negroes was accepted in a most
disgraceful manner, but Anally ac
cepted. These women did not ex
pect a statement that would come
from two Negro boys in a segre
gated army, to the effect that they
still have faith in America and
Its democratic processes even
though at times It is hard to believe
in democracy because of the actions
of certain individuals and groups
toward Negroes as we all fight to
keep our country free.
There has been much said about
the contributions Negroes are mak
ing to our present war effort. All
that has been said has been good,
but has not been said with equality
and justice to the greatness of the
American people. In our newsreels,
where Negro soldiers have acted
heroically and with the true
American spirit of do or die, when
these new sreels reach the American
screens, prejudiced and narrow
minds have clipped out the part
that would depict the Negro soldier
acting nobly in line with the
noblest American tradition to fight
for country and home shoulder to
shoulder with one’s countrymen.
News releases have been greatly
unfair to Americas black soldiers.
Black soldiers have broken up
German gun nests in the face of
tremendous odds and great danger.
They have swept on to capture
Japanese strongholds In malaria
infested Jungles, but the daily
newspapers many times do not even
refer to such heroism. Such actions
on the part of daily newspapers Is
a sin against democracy, and cer
tainly a sin against their own right
to publish all of the news, no mat
ter to whom It gives credit and
no matter to whom it may give
condemnation. These dailies who
yell about the freedom of the press
ought to be sure that they them
selves are free from bigotry and
narrow-mindedness *in reporting
the news.
The American people are great.
They are so great that they really
repudiate any effort to keep from
them the acts of their sons as their
sons fight for democracy, no mat
ter w hat the color of the sons might
be. American Negroes sometimes.
1 think, are greater than the gen
eral American population In this
crisis. Negroes are being buffeted
about, discriminated against, mis
represented, and most of the time
not even represented where repre
sentation Is certainly due. In the
face of all this, and all of this Is
galling. Negroes have kept the faith
In American institutions r 1 in the
process of democracy *1 so yield
itself to the veaminga of all its
peoples that they may have free
dom, happiness and Justice before
the Murk
“The Negro Automobile Worker.”
an article by Lloyd Bailer in the
Journal of Political Economy for
October 1943, traces the position of
the Negro in the automobile indus
try from 1910 to the present time,
showing what gains have been
made since the conversion of the
industry to war production.
Mr. Bailer points out that al
though Negroes constituted only
four per cent of the total automo?
bile workers in the period from 1930
to 1940, their importance was de
rived not from numbers but from
the fact that they were concen
trated in particular plants notably
in the Detroit area.
Since the conversion of ’ the
plants to war work Mr. Bailer
states: "The hiring of new Negro
workers has also progressed to such
an extent that Negro employment
in the industry is now substantially
higher than the normal peacetime
level.” However, the upgrading of
Negroes and the hiring of skilled
Negro workers has not kept pace
with this increase nor has there
been any appreciable change in em
ployment practices of those small
plants which did not employ Ne
groes before the war period.
Negro women constitute “the
largest neglected source of labor
already resident *ln the area” and
the majority of those employed are
used in menial jobs.
Mr. Bailer shows the effect on
the situation of the groups like the
Klan, the Black Legion and Pro-
Nazi organizations. “Of the dis
tinguishable groups among work
ers in Michigan the southern white
and the Polish appeared to exhibit
the highest degree of racial feeling.”
Bailer points to the procedure
used at Briggs in introducing Ne
groes into skilled and semi-skilled
work as a model which can well be
followed by other plants and which
shows that improvement is pos
Mr. Bailer has given facts and
figures to buttress his statements.
The article presents in clear fash
ion the state of affairs today as re
gards the Negro in the automobile
* * *
The recent riots in Detroit and
New York are discussed in articles
by Earl Brown and Harold Or
lansky. Mr. Brown in ’•Why Race
Riots,” published by the Public Af
fairs Committee <3O Rockfeller
Plaza, New' York 20) goes to the
root of Dctro’it’s racial situation to
show how the riot of June 1943
developed. Among the basic causes
according to Mr. Brown, were the
presence of many religious and po
litical fanatics, labor conflicts,
housing shortage and political cor
"The Harlem Riot, a Study In
Mass Frustration,” by Harold Or
lansky (Social Analysis, Box 399,
New York 1) states that the riot
was racial in character although
city officials, tha white and Negro
press, all insisted that It was the
work of 4 small grodp of Negro
hoodlums. Mr. Orlansky offers the
frustration of the Negro as a cause
of the outbreak in Harlem: “Hi*
goal is equality, but he is jailed in
a skin that denies equality. He is
scorned, tolerated, or patronized,
but never simply or wholely ac
cepted as a fellow man. Naturally,
he is bitter and resentful.”
Two recent books which I was
able to sandwich in with my usual
literary fare are both well worth!
reading. Katherina Butler Hatha
way in her autogiographv, “The
Little Locksmith." reveals the
courage and beauty of spirt of a
person who suffered e. physical
handicap throughout her life. It is
a book which one does not easily
forget. “The Little Locksmith" was
published posthumously.
Vincent Sheehan’s latest book.
“Between the Thunder and the
Sun” throws some light on the
events in Europe which led up to
the war. Mr. Sheehan writes also
of the fall of France, the bombing
of England, and the attitudes in this
country when many here still be
lieved that we could stay out of
the war. Mr. Sheehan's earlier
books display his talent for making
history. This one is no .xception.
J. J. Starks, prominent minister and
educator, and for more than a dec
ade president of Benedict college
here, died Tuesday night in Lord
Samaritan-Waverly hospital, fol
lowing an illness of a week. Hos
pital attaches stated that a kidney
ailment was the cause of death.
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Public Health Notes
Sanitation was the first work in
public health. Sanitary Divisions
absorbed the largest part of the
budget and personnel of our early
health departments. This is a nat-
ural procedure
because of the
old theory
which held the
idea that disease
originates from
filth and decay
ing matter.
Even now the
association of
good sanitation
as a health as
set is so firmly
.established i n
the public mind
that more com
plaints of dirty
or untidy prem
ises are likely
t PtHH
Dr. C. Scott
to oe sent to the health department
than complaints of the presence of
diseases or the traffic of poor food
Since the function of a Bureau
of Sanitation includes investiga
tions of all matters which relate
to the hygiene of environment, con
sequently the amount of work that
is done by the division depends
upon the type of community in
which it operates. The limited
finances of small towns end rural
areas prevent the community own
ership of public works facilities
such as water and sewage disposal
and therefore these areas have to
depend almost entirely upon the
local sanitarian to keep such fa
cilities in a condition which is con
ducive to community health. Their
activity and authority in such places
have a wide range. However in
densely populated communities the
responsibility is too great for any
one division to take and we find
many such facilities must be op
erated and controlled by spec-al
commissions. For example, the
large city has a specific board to
handle the problem of water supply
another commission controls hous
ing problems and still another has
charge of garbage and refuse col
lection *nd disposal, etc. In such
cases as these the Sanitary Divi
sion acts in a cooperative capacity.
One of the most important serv
ices of the Bureau of Sanitation
is their inspection and investiga
tion. Complaints may come from
personal sources or they may come
from courts. The Bureau serves
orders for corrections to be made
and re-investigates to see that the
corrections are made. Inspection
is made of establishments for the
purpose of authorizing the issuance
of licenses. Summonses are served.
General inspections are made wher
ever and whenever the Bureau
thinks advisable. Materials are
gathered by investigators for analy
sis. Throughout all the work ef
forts at public health education re
garding sanitation are exerted.
Although the Detroit Water board
is directly and solely responsible
for supplying good water to the
city, the Sanitary Bureau of the
Health Department cooperates in
checking the efficiency of the serv-
ice. “Raw" water, or the untreated
water at the source of intake at
the river, is examined. Tap water
is analyzed at different parts of
the city. The latter plan is of spe
cial value because no matter how
good the water may be at the outlet
of the treating plant there are many
possible means of contamination
before it reaches the small cot
tages in the suburbs. The water
supply is also checked for private
water systems, such as sterilizing
units in hospitals. Private indus
trial water supplies are checked,
particularly those which have dual
water systems, that is. city water
for drinking purposes and untreat
ed water from the river for cer
tain purposes in manufacturing
where’clean w; ter is not neces
sary Samples of water at beaches
in swimming pools are analyzed to
prevent the possibility of spread
of diseases from these sources.
Inspections of buildings in regard
to sanitation is done and recom
mendations made. If necessary,
corrections ore demanded by court
order and even condemnation pro
ceedings instituted.
A special service of the Sanitary
Division is a regular inspection of
all Bedding and Mattress factories
in the city.
The suppression of such nuisances
as odors is a service of the Bureau.
An effort is made to control rats,
mosquitoes and such obnoxious and
disease carrying vermin. Thi* ia
largely an educational work, for
the public must assume tha largest
part of the responsibility in pre
venting their existence. Commer
cial funigations are supervised by
special inspectors to see that the
proper precautions for safety are
carried out.
The technical workers of the Bu
reau are for the most part sanitary
engineers. There are specially
trained investigators and of course
a clerical staff.
Insurance Companies
Cited As Race Aids
ing the history of Negro insurance,
A. T. Spaulding, actuary and assist
ant secretary of the North Carolina
Mutual Life Insurance company,
calls it “the Negro's greatest
achievement,” as he revealed that
ending December 31, 1942. 39 of 42
companies had $474,226,628 of in
surance in force, $22,571.068 71 In
premium income and a total income
of $24.532,560 64. Policyholders re
ceived $6,161,213.82 in payments, he
“Next to his faith In God. the
Negro's faith in his own life insur
ance companies has been one of the
greatest contributing factors toward
his own progress.” deefared Spauld
ing in a recent article on Negro in-
Poet’s Corner
By Langston Hughes (For ANP)
Many clocks in many towers
Have struck for me delightful
M.iny cities, many towns
Have gathered laughter,
Scattered frowns.
Many clocks ih many towers
Have laughed their hours.
Some dsy In some higher tower
A clock will strike its final hour.
When it tolls I shall go
Not wishing that the hour be slow.
I shall then remember still
How it struck one gay December
Near the Kremlin white with snow
And the midnight a warm ember
Of love's glow.
I shall then still sweet recall
How one evening near Los Halles
We walked together arm in arm
Hearing Notre Dame's grave charm.
Then shall t still realize
How. round the world, the bells
are wise.
So when I hear that last bell toll,
Willingly, I'll bring my soul
For many clocks in many towers.
Have struck for me delightful *
So there will be no need to fesr
That final hour drawing near.
* * *
By William Henry Hag (Far ANP) i
I shall keep on koeplitf on.
Keep on shall be my motto;
Till the vice I point ie gone
The fight will be much hotter.
Stop the vice and I will stop—
That is the way to calm me.
Don't believe that you can chop
My neck or head and harm me— (
That will but intensify
My zeal to keep crusading
Till the people all know why
The gang keeps on evading.
surance In Life’s edition of Best
Insurance News “These two great
faiths are the foundation stones
upon which are laid his spiritual
and financial security and provide
his closest unity and his greatest
Beginning with the ancient In
surance societies of Rome. Spaulding
said that the need of insuranee
among colored people in America
was noted after the church tried
to handle the burden of relief but
found it too enormous. As early as
1787 two distinct classes of Negroes
were in the United States, namely
free Negroes and slave Negroes, the
former gathering their forces to or
ganize on April 12. 1787. the Free
African society in Philadelphia
“It was the forerunner of what
seems to have been the first real
insurance company organized by
Negroes in this country—the Afri
can Insurance company organized
in Philadelphia in 1810 with a capi
tal of $5,000." Spaulding wrote. '•'Hie
organizers copied the Free African
society pattern of organization.”
The Brown Fellowship society, a
group of free mulattoes and quad
roons. was organized in Charleston,
S. C., in 1790 “to aid one another in
distress and also to promote social
relationships among themselves,"
while in 1815 the Burying Ground
.Society of Free People of Color of
City of Richmond was organized in
Richmond. Va. That burial a.«sod
ation had a total of 743 free Negro
members or subscribers.
With competition from largo
white companies like the Prudential
Insurance company of Newark and
the Metropolitan Life Insurance
company of New York, colored in
surance companies were compelled
to take the leavings in order to
survive, until the high mortality
rate among colored people made
thAm bad risks for white companies.
Both the Prudential and Metropoli
tan changed their attitude and re
fused to insure colored people.
As a means of advancing Negro
insurance, the National Negro # Tri
surance association was foundeu in
October, 1921, at Durham. N. C„
first to advance the best Interest
of insurance among Negroes in
America; second, to publish a Jour
nal for circulation between the com
panies; third, to recommend courses
of study In insurance In various
Negro colleges and universities, and
fourth, to drive from the business
all unworthy agents and employes,
declared Spauldmg
Ma* Lerner. noted liberal thinker
and chief editorial writer for the
newspaper PM. will appear at
Hampton Institute next Monday
evening in the 1943-44 Lecture Senes
of the college.

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