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Mr. Bloch. Thank you, sir.
Mr. Mohl, I understand you are appearing at the request of Senator Dirksen.
STATEMENT OF ARTHUR F. MOHL, ON BEHALF OF THE ILLINOIS
ASSOCIATION OF REAL ESTATE BOARDS; ACCOMPANIED BY ROBERT E. COOK, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT
Mr. MOHL. That is correct, sir.
Senator McCLELLAN. Will you identify yourself for the record then ?
Mr. Mohl. My name, Mr. Chairman, is Arthur F. Mohl, of Chicago. I have been engaged in the real estate business in Chicago for 30 years. I appear here as spokesman for the Illinois Association of Real Estate Boards, and unofficially as spokesman for those millions and thousands of frugal property owners whose best interests are in jeopardy.
We urge the rejection of title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1966 for the following reasons:
1. Title IV requires a citizen to unwillingly rent or sell to another citizen. Such a requirement might be just if it were in the public interest, but here it is improperly invoked for the benefit of one citizen against another.
2. Title IV makes no contribution to the problems of the ghettos as evidenced by the fact that New York City-with such a law for 8 years—has experienced serious riots and had a 65-percent increase in substandard housing units over a 10-year period, while Chicago— without such a law-had no major riots and had a 33-percent reduction in substandard housing units.
Senator McCLELLAN. I thought you were about to have a riot in Chicago this week, were you not?
Mr. Mohl. We did not call it a major riot, Mr. Chairman. We do not think it had any racial
Senator MCCLELLAN. We have got these riots down now to where we classify them as little, mediocre
Mr. Mohl. We do not think it had any housing or racial overtones. Senator McCLELLAN. Very well.
Mr. MOHL. 3. Title IV has no means for defining its violation unless the accused admits violation. Most property owners refrain from assigning reasons for refusal to sell or to rent. Inevitably those who prosecute pressure the accused into having to prove his innocence by making him assign a reason for refusal. And if he assigns a reason based on behavior, he exposes himself to character defamation charges.
4. Title IV becomes self-defeating in its application. The Chicago community, of single-family homes known as Marynook has achieved reasonably stabilized integration. Its concern is to persuade as many whites as Negroes to buy and move in—and thus far it has
succeeded. With title IV on the books Marynook would become all Negro, because the residents would be prohibited from holding out for a white buyer.
Even though they may not acknowledge it, Lake Meadows and Prairie Shores, which are privately owned urban renewal projects in Chicago and which are successfully integrated, use quotas in order to maintain stable integration, but title IV would make such a system illegal. The report of Chicago Housing Authority chairman, Charles Swibel, on October 26, 1965, stated clearly that despite its nondiscrimination policy, it cannot achieve integration so long as it is not permitted to assign apartments on a quota system.
As an example, its Leclaire Courts project in an all-white area started out 80 percent white in 1950 but by 1965 its white population was down to 4 percent.
Senator MCCLELLAN. Why is that? Mr. Mohl. Why is it? Senator McCLELLAN. Yes. Mr. Mohl. Because it follows naturally that when a predominance of Negroes move into a building, a predominance of white people move out. This is a human nature fact of life.
Senator McCLELLAN. Can we change that by law, by compulsion?
Mr. Mohl. Most successfully integrated communities maintain benevolent quotas, which title IV would outlaw.
Gentlemen, title IV attempts to deal unnaturally with human beings. We believe, therefore, that the enactment of title IV would contribute to, rather than thwart the growth of, segregated neighborhoods. For this reason alone we urge the subcommittee to reject title IV.
We submit that any law which attempts to regulate a personal relationship between two individual citizens, where the public interest is not involved, is un-American and undemocratic. It is a device by which minority rule prevails, for the great majority of citizens have opposed such a law each time they were permitted to vote.
We hope that the subcommittee in its consideration of title IV will weigh carefully the future consequences of enacting into law a concept which prohibits private individuals from exercising some degree of selection in the choice of those with whom they will execute a contract for the sale or rental of property. The American is basically an individualist who guards carefully his inherent right to choose his friends, his associates, and those who desire to share his residence whether it be a home, a duplex, or a multifamily structure.
The problem in race relations which develops in the intimacy of housing are far more complex and more delicate than those in education or in employment. We are fearful that the injection of the legal force of the State in the making of these choices will generate resistance and bitterness which would inevitably retard, rather than advance racial amity. For decades, progress in race relations was slow, but now it is improving rapidly for every year sees more and more integrated neighborhoods achieved through natural voluntary methods.
We strongly urge that you do nothing to impede progress, for progress is being made. Let us not forget that in California the people voted 2 to 1 against legislation such as title IV, nevertheless, through voluntary efforts they are achieving notable results.
For example, for the first 11 months of 1965, of the 286,406 listings in all of the State's multiple listing systems, less than six-tenths of 1 percent contained some racial restriction. This is an example of voluntary effort toward open occupancy which I am sure is being duplicated throughout the United States. Give this a chance.
We hope you will reject title IV.
You did not identify the gentleman with you. Will you identify yourself for the record?
Mr. Cook. Yes, my name is Robert E. Cook, executive vice president of the Illinois Association of Real Estate Boards.
Senator MCCLELLAN. Do you wish to make any comments, Mr. Cook?
Mr. Cook. No, sir.
Do I understand this law, you made some reference to it here, this proposed title IV would apply to a room in one's residence if he wanted to rent it?
Mr. MOHL. I am not sure, but I believe it does.
Senator McCLELLAN. The way I read it, it does. There used to be such things as folks having a spare room to rent. I think that still exists to some extent.
Suppose a family in their residence had a spare room that they wanted to rent. Now apply title IV to that and tell me whether there could be any discretion, any choice made by the owner, by the residents of thắt home, as to whether he could have a white tenant, a colored tenant, a Baptist, Catholic, or a Muslim.
Could he make any choice, discriminate in any area whatsoever?
Mr. Mohl. The definition under title IV includes any portion of a structure, which would include the room.
Senator McCLELLAN. What we would call a spare room?
What was that fellow's name, X, Malcolm X, if one of his tribe came along and said
"I want to rent this room, you have got it advertised here for rent, I will pay you the price”, if they declined to rent it to him because of his religion or because of his color, this proposed statute would apply, would it not?
Mr. MOHL. It certainly would.
Senator McCLELLAN. This is punitive, that is damages up to a $500 fine and a year in jail, is it not?
Mr. Moul. That is correct.
Senator McCLELLAN. The sentenced can take his choice, the owner of the property. He can rent it or Mr. Malcolm X can make him pay a fine and he can go to prison for a year. Is that what we are coming to in this country?
Mr. Mohl. That is correct.
Senator MoCLELLAN. The next witness is the Reverend Walter Royal Jones.
All right, you have a prepared statement.
STATEMENT OF REV. WALTER ROYAL JONES, JR., CHAIRMAN,
COMMISSION ON RELIGION AND RACE, UNITARIAN UNIVER-
Senator McCLELLAN. Will you identify yourself for the record, please, sir?
Reverend Jones. I am Walter Royal Jones, Jr., minister of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Unitarian Church of Charlottesville, Va., and chairman of the Commission on Religion and Race and the Department of Social Responsibility of the Unitarian Universalist Association. Senator McCLELLAN. You have someone with you,
Reverend ? Reverend Jones. I have Mr. Robert E. Jones, who is the director of our Washington department.
Senator McCELLAN. You may proceed with your statement.
Reverend Jones. I appear here today in support of S. 3296, a bill to assure nondiscrimination in Federal and State jury selection and service, to facilitate the desegregation of public education and other public facilities, to provide judicial relief against discriminatory housing practices, to prescribe penalties for certain acts of violence or intimidation, and for other purposes.
The revolution for civil rights taking place in our time is delayed thunder from the bolt of lightning that struck in 1776, when Thomas Jefferson and his colleagues proclaimed the concept of a government and a society predicated on the equality of men before God and the law. Our Nation's history has in large measure been wrought in the reverberations issuing from that original shock. The civil rights movement is but the latest, although in many ways the widest spreading, as it touches the dignity of men among all minorities.
The Congress is to be commended for its growing sensitivity and response to the mounting imperative, over recent years. But the legal posture of our Nation is still wanting in some particulars, a need which features of the present bill are designed to meet.
The Unitarian Universalist denomination, and its antecedents the American Unitarian Association and the Universalist Church of America, have a history of commitment to human rights going as far back as 1790, when Universalists adopted one of the earliest resolu
tions against slavery. Down across the years in pronouncements and action, laymen and ministers continued this witness.
At its most recent general assembly in Miami May 16 to 22, the association adopted a comprehensive consensus on racial justice, gathering and rounding out the substance of resolutions passed over the past 5 years. All of the matters touched in the present bill find echo and support in that consensus, which was passed with a near-unanimous vote of the delegates.
I believe there were tallied 3 dissents at the time out of 800 delegates. A copy of the consensus is appended to this testimony,
I am also submitting for the record the reports of two official observers to the trial of the men accused of slaying the Rev. James J. Reeb, held in Selma, Ala., the week of December 6, 1965.
Senator JAVITS. Without objection, let it be received.
SPECIAL REPORT—THE REEB MURDER TRIAL
I. JUSTICE IN AN ALIENATED COMMUNITY
by Rev. Walter Royal Jones, Jr. Chairman, Unitarian Universalist Commission on Religion and Race Minister, Thomas Jefferson Memorial Unitarian Church, Charlottesville, Virginia
THE GENERAL SITUATION IN SELMA
Selma is getting ready for Christmas. The pervasive shabbiness of Broad Street is partly concealed, partly accented by the bright decorations which, especially at night, give an air of commercial gaiety. But Selma is still a town out of another generation. There are a few contemporary bank buildings and stores, but by and large the architecture dates from the 19th century and earlier, more often decrepit than graceful. As one approaches the Edmund Pattus Bridge from Highway 80, one sees a billboard extending welcome from the Selma National Bank. Selma, it proclaims, is "the Town With 100% Human Interest.”
On the surface, little tension is visible. Negroes can be seen patronizing Broad Street stores alongside whites, despite a partial boycott Dolls for Negro girls grace the windows of the five-and-ten-cent store, alongside white dolls. There seems to be full freedom of movement for Negro shoppers.
Although it takes a while to penetrate, however, the tension is there. I was only one of many outsiders in Selma the week of the trial, of course. presence was noted. In the courtroom, where I sat beside Daniel Bickford, a Boston attorney also observing the trial for the Unitarian Universalist Association, I heard whispered speculation whether we were Department of Justice lawyers. In restaurants, the strange face was noted, with many a lengthy and inquiring glance. In the Negro section, on the other hand, quite to my surprise, there were some who allowed as having recognized me from March ninth. Whatever the case of memory, identification with the Unitarian Universalist Association was an instant open-sesame.
Monday evening (December 6) I retraced the steps of the march to the bridge, having parked—quite by coincidence—directly in front of Walker's Cafe. The highway and streets bore nothing but traffic, this night. Traffic, and the ghosts of another day. It seemed a longer walk, than in the tension of that other afternoon, with the Sheriffs deputies lining the streets, taking photographs, and making cryptic radio reports from their patrol cars.
I stopped at the parsonage of the Brown Memorial Chapel, to inquire after Lonzey West, who might put me in touch with the Rev. Francis Walter, an Episcopal priest who is our interreligious “man in Selma.” He is the new director of the Selma Inter-Religious Ministry. At West's home, and later in the Brown Chapel where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., once again spoke on Tuesday night, I learned about the SCLC boycott of downtown stores, and the projected march to protest segregated southern justice.