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I took the liberty of suggesting, Sir, both today and in my communication to you that problems

exist in the business of employment among Negroes and especially in the lower echelon,

in the building trades, in the State Highway Department and in all the ramifications of

State employment, but especially with respect to contracts and contractors and Federal monies.



Roy Wilkins and Spiro Agnew Speak

At Press Conference in Annapolis, Maryland


19 July 1967

Governor Agnew:  Let me say at the outset, ladies and gentlemen, that I consider it somewhat unfortunate that the visit Mr. Roy Wilkins has paid the State of Maryland at my request—the request having been made some four weeks ago or better—comes starkly outlined against the backdrop of the recent violence in Newark and Plainfield, N. J. To some extent this thwarts the entire purpose of my asking Mr. Wilkins here.

It thwarts it because in my admiration for his efforts in civil rights, the responsibility of his pronouncements, and his outstanding leadership, I did not want to react or show any reaction to action that was taken—that I consider to be unfortunate and not in the best interest of both the white and the Negro communities.

I wanted to have Mr. Wilkins here to show him that we, the white citizens of this country and particularly those of us in positions of political leadership, do appreciate the kind of guidance that his organization and he, individually, is offering. I wanted to show that we can make efforts and make progress to afford equal rights for all our citizens—not because we are worried about some outburst that is taking place, but because we want to do something on our own initiative once in a while without the dramatization of turmoil.

Unfortunately, we have had these riots and there will be those who will say that Mr. Wilkins has been invited here to put out a potential fire in Maryland. I am sure that he can assure you that this is not the case. We have had some very fruitful discussions. We have talked about the needs of education and job opportunities, the needs in the housing area and accommodations, and we have covered the gamut of the entire spectrum of the problems that beset our country in its failure to afford civil opportunity to all our citizens.

We have some pretty good ideas about how to proceed and I certainly want to express to you, Sir, my very deep appreciation, in spite of your very heavy schedule and in spite of some persistent requests that you yield to a more immediate need than this meeting, that you did come here and spend this time with us.I feel reassured by my conversations with you, and I just want to urge the Maryland community, white and Negro, that this is the kind of leadership that we have got to follow if we are going to achieve what we are really setting out to do.

Roy Wilkins: Governor Agnew, I want to thank you for the invitation. I certainly think I can put a date on the first exploration for this meeting—it was something like June 4th or 5th—long before our Boston convention, and certainly no one had in mind what happened in New Jersey. As I recall your letter, it was to explore the situation in Maryland with a view toward some affirmative action while things were quiet, and as a policy of the State and not a policy engendered or stimulated by violence.

I am very happy to be here and to learn what is being done in Maryland. Of course, you were the first to state that all is not as it should be, but the State is working on these problems. I took the liberty of suggesting, Sir, both today and in my communication to you that problems exist in the business of employment among Negroes and especially in the lower echelon, in the building trades, in the State Highway Department and in all the ramifications of State employment, but especially with respect to contracts and contractors and Federal monies.

A recent decision in Columbus, Ohio, had held that the State, as a signatory to a contract—the Governor and other responsible State officials— had the prime duty, not the secondary duty, to determine that the people with whom they signed the contract did not discriminate in their employment policies. The ruling there in Columbus was that a $12, 800, 000 medical building could not be built on the campus of Ohio State University by the State of Ohio because the contractor did discriminate, and I suggest that this decision in Ohio might be helpful in Maryland, although it is not binding upon Maryland, that its lawyers, its Attorney General and others might want to study.

I think the time has come for us to realize that while we need not be headstrong and headlong in our actions, there is an urgency in this Negro-white problem, and in spite of all the surface indications of arrogance and bigotry on the part of both Negroes and whites, that the root of correction lies in better schools, better jobs, better housing, better administration of justice all along the line, with particular emphasis on police-community relations. It would be my hope that Maryland, which has been proud of its title as the "Free State of Maryland" and which has had more than its share of individualists in the United States, might be the one to show the way in many of these areas. Thank you for inviting me, Governor.

Governor Agnew: Nice to have you, sir.

Press Question: In the light of what Mr. Wilkins was just saying, Governor, Mrs. [Juanita  Elizabeth Jackson]  Mitchell said in the afternoon papers that the State is rampant with discrimination in both hiring and promotion of employees. Do you have any comment?

Governor Agnew:  One of the things that we are most interested in working toward is the removal of all discrimination in the State of Maryland, and I mean all the discrimination. Dr. [Gilbert] Ware of my staff is presently engaged in working up a "Code of Fair Practices, " a set of regulations to be used by the executive branch, and hopefully by all branches of the government, to be sure that discrimination is removed wherever it exists. I for one won't be satisfied until it is totally removed. I certainly believe that there is some discrimination in the State government.

I don't fault Mrs. Mitchell's finding in that respect. Whether it is as serious as she indicates will be revealed by a very impartial and exhaustive examination by Dr. Ware in this regard. I expect to have some results very soon. On contracts that Mr. Wilkins mentioned, we are most interested in seeing that discrimination on the part of those who benefit from government contracts is removed and we are taking steps in that regard. We have already taken steps to make certain that there is a fairer representation on the draft boards. I think out of the last 15 appointments, the only 15 that I have made (recommended to the President), over one-third have been Negroes.

Press Question: Governor, the Legislature at the last session defeated a bill that would accomplish what Mr. Wilkins has achieved in Columbus, Ohio. Are you considering issuing an executive order that might achieve the same thing?

Governor Agnew:  I am considering doing that if I think it's a valid device that will  stand up. On the other hand, I think it should be done by legislation, if practicable, simply to reflect the policy of the State, and I will offer such legislation again at the coming session—irrespective of whether we will be able to move forward in certain areas by executive order or not.

Press Question: Well, sir, is there a possibility for an interim executive order?

Governor Agnew: It definitely exists.

Press Question: Governor, I wonder if Mr. Wilkins will tell us if this conference is unusual and if other governors have requested similar conferences with him with no immediate pressure to do so?

Roy Wilkins: Well, it's the first conference of its kind, but I honestly can't say that it is unique. Governor Agnew was the first governor to suggest this voluntarily—with no pressures at all—not from Mrs. Mitchell or a State organization or anyone else. We have had responses from governors all over the country in respect to the Columbus, Ohio, thing which I used as a broadcast letter to governors themselves, indicating that they would like to discuss this matter and others in their state, but no one went as far as Governor Agnew, nor as promptly or as quickly. As a matter of fact, his letter came before the Columbus, Ohio, letter was sent out.

It reflects what I believe—and I say this because I am not voting in Maryland and have no allegiances at all—it reflects a very happy development in American politics, that the chief office holder in the State, the chief administrative officer, would feel within himself that he wanted to approach a difficult problem with all the advice he could get, and I discount all the nice things he said about my leadership. The mere fact that he wanted to discuss this, wanted to evaluate what his State is doing, and does this voluntarily, without any pressure, without party pressure or anything else, is a very satisfying development.

Press Question: In line with that, Governor, last week you'll recall that Baltimore Negro ministers said they had to ask for a meeting with you because they felt that the line of communication was not as clear as they felt it ought to be. Yet four weeks ago you invited Mr. Wilkins here. Do you regard Mr. Wilkins as being able to do more than the ministers in Baltimore?

Governor Agnew:  No, I wouldn't put it on that basis. But I will say that in every great movement there are certain leaders who are able to capture the imagination and respect of most of the people, are interested in what's going on, and I place Mr. Wilkins in that particular position of leadership where he has not only struck the spark of respect in the Negro community but in the white community. He is a common rallying point because of the sagacity of what he said—and because of his ability to keep down the sometimes very difficult to suppress, immediate emotional reactions, that makes him of singular value in approaching this problem. The ministers, of course, are valuable also. There is no question about it. Not just the ministers. The people on the streets are valuable. Every cross section of our population has its place in solving this tremendous problem we have to face.

Roy Wilkins: May I please have this one remark on this because I wouldn't want to come to Maryland and leave—because you can never tell what will occur to a reporter, of course. I don't pose to know more about Maryland's problems than the ministers do. I didn't come in the context of being an alternative to the voice of the Negro citizens of Maryland. It's simply a supplementary voice, if you will have that kind of an interpretation, but not an alternative voice.

Press Question: Mr. Wilkins, did the Governor ask you anything about "riot control, " and if he didn't ask you that, what would you have told him if he did?

Roy Wilkins: The Governor did not ask me about "riot control" since this conference was not in the context of preventing riots. I would expect that Governor Agnew would consult with the Negro citizens of his own State and with the white citizens of his own State on "riot controls." There isn't any use in my answering an iffy question.

Press Question: Would you have a formula you would give Governor Agnew?

Roy Wilkins: No one has a formula for preventing riots that will guarantee their prevention. There is one formula after a riot starts—all people who believe in law and order believe that riots should be stopped once they get started. Our business, and I presume it is the business of the Governor, is to try to prevent riots from starting.

Press Question: Mr. Wilkins, on the Hill yesterday there was an allegation that in Newark it was Federal antipoverty workers who have agitated the Negro community to the point of helping precipitate the riot. In your experience in that city or others where Federal workers are involved, do you think there is any substance to such an allegation?

Roy Wilkins: I only saw it as an allegation. I have no knowledge that there is any authenticity to it. As a matter of fact, I understood that the whole thing started over the arrest of a cab driver and it was the reaction of the cab drivers to his arrest which caused the riot. Now someone else said it was the "poverty workers, " so a rumor mill like Newark can turn out all sorts of things. In Plainfield they said a policeman shot a 7-year-old boy, and then they found out that no 7-year-old boy had been involved in a riot at all. In Harlem we had a riot about 15 years ago, or 20 years ago, in which they charged that a boy had been taken out of the back room of a W. T. Grant store and beaten to death. Actually, the kid had stolen a knife off a counter and had been apprehended. The knife was taken away from him and he was scolded and scooted out of the back door in order to get him home, but someone spread the idea that he had been beaten to death. They said his bloody body was in the back room. I don't know about the poverty rumors.

Press Question: At the same time, Mr. Wilkins, the NAACP passed a resolution blaming the city officials of Newark for a good portion of the riots. Will you comment?

Roy Wilkins: Yes, I'll be very glad to speak about that particular sentence. That sentence did not say that any of the—if you go back and read it again—it did not say that the Mayor of Newark started the riot. It said that he has ignored advice from the Negro community on an appointment to the Board of Education, and that the housing situation in Newark was terrible, which it is. 

The percentage of substandard housing occupied by Negroes in Newark is something like the third highest in the United States. This does not say that they started the riot, but it says that they made no effort to correct conditions that contribute to unrest and dissatisfaction that finally could be triggered into a riot. I would like to have you read that resolution and be careful about saying that the NAACP had adopted a resolution which said that the Mayor started the riot. Don't use such shorthand. That's too short.

Press Question: Mr. Wilkins, have you been in Baltimore recently or have you firsthand knowledge of conditions in Baltimore? Are you competent, and if so will you assess Baltimore's flashpoint? 

Roy Wilkins: I will not assess the Baltimore flashpoint because I don't think I know enough about Baltimore's flashpoint. I didn't come here to talk about Baltimore's flashpoint.

Press Question: Governor, what is your reading about the Baltimore and Eastern Shore problems?

Governor Agnew:  I am glad you asked me that question because I don't think there is any such thing as a "flashpoint." I believe that the talk about a flashpoint and a "dynamite situation" and the preoccupation of people who reflect this point of view can cause more trouble than anything else that would trigger a riot. The people are malleable and in a constant state of flux, and they are not interested in rioting for the sake of rioting. But when the suggestion is constantly made that there is a flashpoint, that we're living in a room full of volatile fumes that a single match can ignite, is repeated and reiterated over and over again, you have too many people believing it and you can cause riots with that kind of philosophy.

Press Question: Governor, as a result of your meeting with Mr. Wilkins, have you made plans to do anything specific?

Governor Agnew:  The only thing that we have decided to do is to keep doing what we are doing and to move forward as quickly as we can in all areas to remove discrimination in our State. We have also decided that it is important for the leadership in government to reflect its appreciation of the proper leadership in the civil rights movement, the responsible leadership. And I don't say that Mr. Wilkins is the only responsible leader. There are others doing a wonderful job in this area, not only in the NAACP but other organizations.

But I think it's time for the white community and it's time for the Negro community to assess the civil rights leadership on an individual basis and not simply say the Negro leadership. There is no such all inclusive term as the Negro leadership or the white leadership. We have got to do it on individual assessment.

Press Question: Governor, would you include Mrs. Mitchell among those responsible leaders in Maryland?

Governor Agnew: I think Mrs. Mitchell has done an excellent job, and most of her good work and the toughest part of her job was done at a time when she bore the brunt of what she had to do singlehandedly. Sometimes Mrs. Mitchell becomes impatient with the speed at which government is moving, and we had some long conversations on that. But I think in the majority of instances she approves of what is taking place, and I can't blame her for wanting to see the achievement immediately. We are moving as quickly as we can and will continue to move.

Press Question: Governor, she said this morning that she agreed with the Ministerial Alliance that there was a lack of communication flowing out of the Governor's office to the Negro community. Do you plan to take any specific steps so that you will get an ear-to-the-ground so to speak?

Governor Agnew:  Let me say, in response to that, it is not only in the area of civil rights and civil opportunities that the Governor's office is not able to communicate as well with the total sector of the State as it would like to. There is always criticism. We are a State of almost 4 million people—we are approaching that figure—and the Governor can't talk to everybody as frequently as he would like. So we have this criticism—not just in the field of civil rights but in every field where citizens are interested in some cause or objective. We are going to try to improve our communication, but we are not naive enough to think that we will not be able to communicate as frequently as we should and as people would desire us to communicate with them.

Press Question: Governor, in view of the success of this meeting, do you expect to invite Mr. [Whitney] Young here also?   

Governor Agnew:  I had no thought about inviting Mr. Young here, but I would imagine Mr. Young would reflect the same basic philosophies that we have discussed. I say this because of reading what he has had to say in the past. If Mr. Young would like to talk with me, or any other leader in the civil rights movement would like to talk to me, I am
available. I want to learn how to cope with this problem as best I can, and communication won't hurt us.

Press Question: Governor, is there any specific objective that will result from this meeting?

Governor Agnew:  There is no specific objective that arises as a result of the meeting. I think the overall target is so inclusive, and the removal of discrimination wherever it exists has got to be done. I will leave my administration completely flexible to move in every area. Naturally, we are interested in the problems that Mr. Wilkins has specifically raised to me by letter previously, such as the problems of the contractual relationships with the State and the problems of the draft board. We are interested in the accusations of discrimination within State government and the State employment itself, and we will move on specific complaints as quickly as we can.

Press Question: Mr. Wilkins, the Governor stated just a few minutes ago, "We are moving as quickly as we can." Is not part of the ferment in the Negro communities the fact that the government may not be moving as swiftly as the people want it to?

Roy Wilkins: I think the Governor also said that Mrs. Mitchell, who is head of our State organization, generally approves of what has been done and I think his words were that she is somewhat impatient. He might have added, and he did inside, that it is a good thing in our type of government for people to be impatient. 

When you say, however, too impatient for the people—here too, the Governor pointed out that he is the Governor of the whole State—of Maryland's Western Shores, South Shores, Eastern Shores and all the other shores, and white and black in Baltimore City, Somerset County too. Everybody recognizes that government is the art of the possible, the great exponent of which now sits in our White House, but we also recognize that when problems become acute we give them special recognition and attention.

I took the Governor's invitation to mean that he was inclined to recognize this as a problem which requires special attention. It was not designed for this conference to bring out concrete representation as to what should be done in the State of Maryland. I don't pose to be an expert. I leave that to Mrs. Mitchell. She is an expert on every furrow and cranny in the State of Maryland.

This conference means simply that the Governor felt that with all the stresses and strains and pressures on him on other problems, and recognizing what comes out must be the art of the possible, he still wanted to give this special attention and special recognition. 

What will come out of it I don't know. It could be either that the Governor or the Legislature, or the business community, or financial community, or the farming community, or a dozen other specialized groups will bring their pressures to bear to minimize the gains. I don't regard that as any indictment of Governor Agnew's intentions in this matter.

Press Question: Mr. Wilkins, some of the younger civil rights organizations seem to be disowning white membership. Is this a bad development?

Roy Wilkins: I don't want to comment on their determinations. I only want to say that the NAACP started out as an interracial organization in 1909 and expects to continue as one. We don't think that freedom is "black freedom" or freedom is "white freedom." We think that freedom belongs to everybody, and everybody who believes this should fight for it. 

Press Question: Would it be better if all of them were interracial?

Roy Wilkins: Here again, I don't want to pass judgment on someone else's policy. They had a meeting, they adopted a rule, and they said that this is the rule for the people in the room. They voted 322 or 92 to 6 or 52 to 1, or whatever was there, and said this is our policy. I just feel that our policy, the NAACP policy, is the best policy. Our policy is interracial activity in a multiracial society. How can you proceed in a multiracial society on a racial basis? This is sort of self-defeating.

Press Question: Governor, does that mean that you agree basically with Mr. Wilkins' philosophy, he being noted as the leading moderate Negro leader in the country? Is this your philosophy too?  

Governor Agnew: I don't think that Mr. Wilkins is a moderate leader in the sense that he is impeding or not aggressive enough in achieving the objectives that his organization has set. I think he is much more effective because he is reasonable and articulate, and not emotional, in his approach to the problem. So when you say moderate this again is a characterization that can mean many things to many people. Among some of the younger Negro element, it may mean slow, uncle tomish.

I don't consider him moderate in that respect. I think he is skillful, and I think he represents the kind of leadership that does not divide the races but unites them. I think that is where his tremendous value comes in. I am delighted that he is here and that the people in Maryland, through the news media, have a chance to personally observe him, to listen to the way he handles the questions, and to see how his mind works because this is his real strength.

Press Question: Governor, I'd like to renew the question of Baltimore in another context because when Watts broke out Mayor Yorty of Los Angeles evidenced great surprise. Just recently in Plainfield the people said it could never happen here. In that context, what does everything you've looked at show you about the situation in Baltimore?

Governor Agnew:  Everything that I have seen indicates that I have no cause for unrest, and as I mentioned at the outset of this meeting the main reason I wanted Mr. Wilkins here at a time when there was no problem was to demonstrate that the way we can be most effective in our solutions to the problems that exist is to act independently of suggestion or force and act because we are convinced within us that the action is needed and not simply to put out a fire.

I don't think any fire exists in Baltimore; I don't see any reason to feel that Baltimore is close to an explosion. On the other hand, I would be remiss if I didn't say that there have been explosions where they were not expected before. I have no way of judging this, and I emphasize that the least amount of attention devoted to the fact that riots do happen the better off we are going to be. Nobody wants riots. Riots don't solve anything. Riots simply impede the progress we're all interested in.

Press Question: Governor, you mentioned housing as one of the areas in which we can move a little bit more. Montgomery County appears to be on the verge of passing a liberal, far-reaching bill. What is your position on this bill?

Governor Agnew: I am not familiar with the bill, but my position on housing has been the same since I've prepared it, and I've supported it. It's not changed. I've never attempted to conceal it or to justify it in any fashion. It's just the way I feel about the question.

Press Question: Governor, you said that there was some discrimination in employment in State government. How fast do you think you can get rid of it?

Governor Agnew:  I don't think it will take too long. I am not sure of the device we'll use to do it, but I can assure you that every bit of the executive power will be directed to the removal of it.

Press: Thank you very much, Governor.

Source: State Archives

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Roy Wilkins (August 30, 1901 – September 8, 1981) was a prominent civil rights activist in the United States from the 1930s to the 1970s. Wilkins' most notable role was in his leadership of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Wilkins graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in sociology in 1923. He worked as a journalist at The Minnesota Daily and became editor of St. Paul Appeal, an African-American newspaper. After he graduated he became the editor of the The Call (Kansas City). In 1929, he married social worker Aminda "Minnie" Badeau; the couple had no children.

Between 1931 and 1934, Wilkins was assistant NAACP secretary under Walter Francis White. When W. E. B. Du Bois left the organization in 1934, he replaced him as editor of The Crisis, the official magazine of the NAACP. From 1949–50 Wilkins chaired the National Emergency Civil Rights Mobilization, which comprised more than 100 local and national groups. In 1950, Wilkins—along with A. Philip Randolph, founder of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, and Arnold Aronson, a leader of the National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council—founded the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR). LCCR has become the premier civil rights coalition, and has coordinated the national legislative campaign on behalf of every major civil rights law since 1957.

In 1955, Roy Wilkins was chosen to be the executive secretary of the NAACP and in 1964 he became its executive director. He had an excellent reputation as an articulate spokesperson for the civil rights movement. One of his first actions was to provide support to civil rights activists in Mississippi who were being subject to a "credit squeeze" by members of the White Citizens Councils.

Wilkins backed a proposal suggested by Dr. T.R.M. Howard of Mound Bayou, Mississippi, who headed the Regional Council of Negro Leadership, a leading civil rights organization in the state. Under the plan, black businesses and voluntary associations shifted their accounts to the black-owned Tri-State Bank of Memphis, Tennessee. By the end of 1955, about $280,000 had been deposited in Tri-State for this purpose.

 The money enabled Tri-State to extend loans to credit-worthy blacks who were denied loans by white banks. Wilkins participated in the March on Washington (August 1963) which he helped organize, the Selma to Montgomery marches (1965), and the March Against Fear (1966). .  .  .  In 1951, J. Edgar Hoover and the state department, in collusion with the NAACP and Wilkins (then editor of The Crisis, the official magazine of the NAACP), arranged for a ghost-written leaflet to be printed and distributed in Africa. The purpose of the leaflet was to spread negative press and views about the Black political radical and entertainer Paul Robeson throughout Africa. . . .

Gil Scott-Heron mentioned Wilkins in his most famous spoken word song "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" with this lyric: "There will be no slow motion or still life of Roy Wilkins strolling through Watts in a red, black and green liberation jumpsuit that he has been saving for just the proper occasion."

Source: Wikipedia

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Spiro Theodore Agnew (November 9, 1918 – September 17, 1996) was the 39th Vice President of the United States (1969-1973), serving under President Richard Nixon, and the 55th Governor of Maryland (1967-1969). He was also the first Greek American to hold these offices.

During his fifth year as Vice President, in the late summer of 1973, Agnew was under investigation by the United States Attorney's office in Baltimore, Maryland, on charges of extortion, tax fraud, bribery and conspiracy. In October, he was formally charged with having accepted bribes totaling more than $100,000, while holding office as Baltimore County Executive, Governor of Maryland, and Vice President of the United States. On October 10, 1973, Agnew was allowed to plead no contest to a single charge that he had failed to report $29,500 of income received in 1967, with the condition that he resign the office of Vice President.

Agnew is the only Vice President in United States history to resign because of criminal charges. Ten years after leaving office, in January 1983, Agnew paid the state of Maryland nearly $270,000 as a result of a civil suit that stemmed from the bribery allegations. . . .

Agnew ran for the position of Governor of Maryland in 1966. In this overwhelmingly Democratic state, he was elected after the Democratic nominee, George P. Mahoney, a Baltimore paving contractor and perennial candidate running on an anti-integration platform, narrowly won the Democratic gubernatorial primary out of a crowded slate of eight candidates, trumping early favorite Carlton R. Sickles. Coming on the heels of the recently passed federal Fair Housing Act of 1965, Mahoney's campaign embraced the slogan "your home is your castle". Many Democrats opposed to segregation then crossed party lines to give Agnew the governorship by 82,000 votes.

As governor, Agnew worked with the Democratic legislature to pass tax and judicial reforms, as well as tough anti-pollution laws. Projecting an image of racial moderation, Agnew signed the state's first open-housing laws and succeeded in getting the repeal of an anti-miscegenation law. However, during the riots that followed the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., in the spring of 1968, Agnew angered many African American leaders by lecturing them about their constituents in stating, "I call on you to publicly repudiate all black racists. This, so far, you have been unwilling to do."

Source: Wikipedia

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The NAACP Black Power and the African American Freedom Struggle, 1966-1969—By Simon Hall—The NAACP’s executive director, Roy Wilkins, had been appointed assistant secretary in 1931. Three years later he replaced W. E. B. Du Bois as editor of The Crisis, the association’s magazine, before succeeding Walter White as head of the organization in 1955. Reluctant to commit the association to a strategy of civil disobedience and protest, Roy Wilkins also equivocated about the efforts of groups like SNCC to build a civil rights movement from the bottom up by fostering indigenous black leadership and empowering local African Americans.

Indeed, Wilkins agreed with civil rights strategist Bayard Rustin that the black movement needed to align itself with the liberal wing of the Democratic Party to effect a progressive political re-alignment in order to best advance the cause of civil rights. Rustin was not noted as a friend of black radicals even in the early 1960s, and his reaction to Black Power was unsurprising.

On 5 July 1966 Wilkins addressed more than 1,500 delegates to the NAACP’s 57th annual convention at Los Angeles’ First Methodist Church. The veteran civil rights leader attacked Black Power in remarkably uncompromising language. “No matter how endlessly they try to explain it,” he said, “the term ‘Black Power’ means anti-white power . . . it has to mean ‘going-it-alone.’ It has to mean separatism.” For the NAACP leader, it was a “reverse Mississippi, a reverse Hitler, a reverse Ku Klux Klan” that could result only in “Black death.” Wilkins explained that the NAACP had fought racial discrimination for too long to ally itself with a concept that rested on “the ranging of race against race,” and described Black Power as “the father of hatred and the mother of violence.”

Wilkins kept up his attacks in the aftermath of the convention. On 13 July he told New York’s Republican Senator Jacob K. Javits that the NAACP stood by his “branding Black power . . . as carrying unmistakable connotations of being antiwhite . . .” In August, Wilkins declined to participate in an upcoming planning conference for a National Conference on Black Power. On 17 October, in a mailing sent to NAACP supporters, Wilkins reiterated his opposition to Black Power. Then, in an address before his native Missouri NAACP state conference in November, he called on delegates to “throw out . . . this ‘Black Power’ business” on the grounds that it made “thousands . . . sorrowful, apprehensive and fearful.”

Some of Wilkins’s hostility can be understood as a product of his deteriorating  relationship with SNCC and Stokely Carmichael. Never a fan of the “young squirts” and “smart-alecks” who formed the shock-troops of the civil rights movement, the NAACP leader’s rapport with the SNCC chairman had recently hit an all-time low. At a 7 June meeting in Memphis to discuss strategy for the “March Against Fear,” Carmichael started “acting crazy”: “cursing real bad,” the SNCC leader showered Wilkins with expletives, accusing the veteran civil rights leader of “selling out the people.” Wilkins left the meeting “in disgust” and withdrew the national NAACP from the march.OnlineLibrary

posted 1 June 2011 

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What We Want

By Stokely Carmichael

Reverend Marion Bascom Civilrighting / A Christian Goon Squad in Black Baltimore

Clarence Logan and the Northwood Movement  / Chester Wickwire Desegregating Gwynn Oak Amusement Park

Roy Wilkins and Spiro Agnew in Annapolis  /  Agnew Speaks to Black Baltimore Leaders 1968

Wayfarer 4th Quarter 1967—Black Baltimore

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Walter Hall Lively /  Forty Years of Determined Struggle  / The Wayfarer 4th Quarter 1967 Black Baltimore

Putting Baltimore's People First  Dominance of Johns Hopkins   A Brief Economic History of Modern Baltimore

Understanding the Monumental City: A Bibliographic Essay on Baltimore History (Richard J. Cox)

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The End of Black Rage? Class and Delusion in Black America (Jared Ball)

The Black Generation Gap (Ellis Cose)  /

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Black Power, A Critique of the System / Black Power  / What We Want

Amite County   Beginning   Kish Mir Tuchas     A Tribute to Kwame Toure/Stokely Carmichael

Standing Fast: The Autobiography of Roy Wilkins

By Roy Wilkins and Tom Mathews

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The Shadows of Youth

The Remarkable Journey of the Civil Rights Generation

By Andrew B. Lewis

With deep admiration and rigorous scholarship, historian Lewis (Gonna Sit at the Welcome Table) revisits the ragtag band of young men and women who formed the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Impatient with what they considered the overly cautious and accommodating pace of the NAACP and Martin Luther King Jr., the black college students and their white allies, inspired by Gandhi's principles of nonviolence and moral integrity, risked their lives to challenge a deeply entrenched system. Fanning out over the Jim Crow South, SNCC organized sit-ins, voter registration drives, Freedom Schools and protest marches. Despite early successes, the movement disintegrated in the late 1960s, succeeded by the militant Black Power movement. The highly readable history follows the later careers of the principal leaders.

Some, like Stokely Carmichael and H. Rap Brown, became bitter and disillusioned. Others, including Marion Barry, Julian Bond and John Lewis, tempered their idealism and moved from protest to politics, assuming positions of leadership within the very institutions they had challenged. According to the author, No organization contributed more to the civil rights movement than SNCC, and with his eloquent book, he offers a deserved tribute.—Publishers Weekly

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Obama and Black Americans: the Paradox of Hope—By Gary Younge—But for all the ways black America has felt better about itself and looked better to others, it has not actually fared better. In fact, it has been doing worse. The economic gap between black and white has grown since Obama took power. Under his tenure black unemployment, poverty and foreclosures are at their highest levels for at least a decade.

Millions of black kids may well aspire to the presidency now that a black man is in the White House. But such a trajectory is less likely for them now than it was under Bush. Herein lies what is at best a paradox and at worst a contradiction within Obama’s core base of support. The very group most likely to support him—black Americans—is the same group that is doing worse under him.—TheNation

*   *   *   *   *'s 25 Best Selling Books



#1 - Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark
#2 - Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree
#3 - Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane
#4 - Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper
#5 - Stackin' Paper 2 Genesis' Payback by Joy King
#6 - Thug Lovin' (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark
#7 - When I Get Where I'm Going by Cheryl Robinson
#8 - Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby
#9 - The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane

#10 - Covenant: A Thriller  by Brandon Massey

#11 - Diary Of A Street Diva  by Ashley and JaQuavis

#12 - Don't Ever Tell  by Brandon Massey

#13 - For colored girls who have considered suicide  by Ntozake Shange

#14 - For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree

#15 - Homemade Loves  by J. California Cooper

#16 - The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper

#17 - Player Haters by Carl Weber

#18 - Purple Panties: An Anthology by Sidney Molare

#19 - Stackin' Paper by Joy King

#20 - Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey

#21 - The Upper Room by Mary Monroe

#22 – Thug Matrimony  by Wahida Clark

#23 - Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark

#24 - Married Men by Carl Weber

#25 - I Dreamt I Was in Heaven - The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter


#1 - Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable
#2 - Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans
#3 - Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane
#4 - Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper
#5 - Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You're Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant
#6 - Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey
#7 - The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight
#8 - The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing
#9 - The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson

#10 - John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History  by Ahati N. N. Toure

#11 - Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley

#12 -The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

#13 - The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell

#14 - The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

#15 - Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can't Commit  by RM Johnson

#16 - Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins

#17 - Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell

#18 - A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

#19 - John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard

#20 - Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris

#21 - Age Ain't Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice

#22 - 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino
#23 - Chicken Soup for the Prisoner's Soul by Tom Lagana
#24 - 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields

#25 - Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

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Across That Bridge: Life Lessons and a Vision for Change

By John Lewis

The Civil Rights Movement gave rise to the protest culture we know today, and the experiences of leaders like Congressman Lewis have never been more relevant. Now, more than ever, this nation needs a strong and moral voice to guide an engaged population through visionary change. Congressman John Lewis was a leader in the American Civil Rights Movement. He was chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and played a key role in the struggle to end segregation. Despite more than forty arrests, physical attacks, and serious injuries, John Lewis remained a devoted advocate of the philosophy of nonviolence. He is the author of his autobiography, Walking with the Wind: A Memoir of a Movement, and is the recipient of numerous awards from national and international institutions, including the Lincoln Medal; the John F. Kennedy “Profile in Courage” Lifetime Achievement Award (the only one of its kind ever awarded); the NAACP Spingarn Medal; and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor, among many others.

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Here lies Jim Crow: Civil rights in Maryland

 By C. Fraser Smith

Though he lived throughout much of the South—and even worked his way into parts of the North for a time—Jim Crow was conceived and buried in Maryland. From Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney's infamous decision in the Dred Scott case to Thurgood Marshall's eloquent and effective work on Brown v. Board of Education, the battle for black equality is very much the story of Free State women and men. Here, Baltimore Sun columnist C. Fraser Smith recounts that tale through the stories, words, and deeds of famous, infamous, and little-known Marylanders. He traces the roots of Jim Crow laws from Dred Scott to Plessy v. Ferguson and describes the parallel and opposite early efforts of those who struggled to establish freedom and basic rights for African Americans.

Following the historical trail of evidence, Smith relates latter-day examples of Maryland residents who trod those same steps, from the thrice-failed attempt to deny black people the vote in the early twentieth century to nascent demonstrations for open access to lunch counters, movie theaters, stores, golf courses, and other public and private institutions—struggles that occurred decades before the now-celebrated historical figures strode onto the national civil rights scene.

Smith's lively account includes the grand themes and the state's major players in the movement—Frederick Douglass, Harriett Tubman, Thurgood Marshall, and Lillie May Jackson, among others.—and also tells the story of the struggle via several of Maryland's important but relatively unknown men and women—such as Gloria Richardson, John Prentiss Poe, William L. "Little Willie" Adams, and Walter Sondheim—who prepared Jim Crow's grave and waited for the nation to deliver the body.Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008

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Michelle Alexander: US Prisons, The New Jim Crow  / Judge Mathis Weighs in on the execution of Troy Davis

The New Jim Crow

Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness 

By Michelle Alexander

The mass incarceration of people of color through the War on Drugs is a big part of the reason that a black child born today is less likely to be raised by both parents than a black child born during slavery. The absence of black fathers from families across America is not simply a function of laziness, immaturity, or too much time watching Sports Center. Hundreds of thousands of black men have disappeared into prisons and jails, locked away for drug crimes that are largely ignored when committed by whites. Most people seem to imagine that the drug war—which has swept millions of poor people of color behind bars—has been aimed at rooting out drug kingpins or violent drug offenders. Nothing could be further from the truth. This war has been focused overwhelmingly on low-level drug offenses, like marijuana possession—the very crimes that happen with equal frequency in middle class white communities.

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

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update 8 March 2012




Home  Civil Rights: Struggle for Black Power   Amin Sharif Table   Baltimore Index Page

Related files:   Spiro Agnew Speaks to Black Baltimore, 1968  Roy Wilkins and Spiro Agnew in Annapolis  Reverend Marion Bascom's Civil Righting  

Clarence Logan and the Northwood Movement  Chester Wickwire Desegregating Gwynn Oak Amusement Park  Commentary on "Color Line and War"    

Walter Hall Lively   Forty Years of Determined Struggle   Juanita E. Jackson Bio  The Exiles: Kathleen Cleaver Interview