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CIVIL RIGHTS

THURSDAY, JUNE 16, 1966

U.S. SENATE,
SUBCOMMITTEE ON CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS,
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY,

Washington, D.C. The subcommittee met, pursuant to recess, at 10:35 a.m., in room 2228, New Senate Office Building, Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts presiding.

Present: Senators Kennedy of Massachusetts and Javits.

Also present: George Autry, chief counsel; H. Houston Groome, Lawrence M. Baskir and Lewis W. Evans, counsel; and John Baker, minority counsel; Rufus L. Edmisten, research assistant.

Senator KENNEDY of Massachusetts. The subcommittee will come to order. Our first witness this morning is Mr. Roy Wilkins.

Mr. Wilkins, I want to welcome you to this committee. As Mr. Wilkins is taking the chair, I would like to state for the record that Senator Ervin is unable to be here today because of a death in his family. Senator Ervin has invited me to preside and I am delighted to do so.

Mr. Roy Wilkins is a gentleman who has appeared many times on many different questions. I consider him to be one of the outstanding authorities on questions of civil rights and civil liberties. He is a man of great dedication and great commitment, and he is a representative of a very effective and dedicated organization. He is here to speak for that organization today.

This morning, he has with him two associates. They need no introduction to the subcommittee, but I will permit him to present them to the committee if he so desires.

STATEMENT OF ROY WILKINS, CHAIRMAN OF THE LEADERSHIP

CONFERENCE ON CIVIL RIGHTS AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF COLORED PEOPLE (NAACP); ACCOMPANIED BY JOSEPH L. RAUH, JR., GENERAL COUNSEL FOR THE CONFERENCE; AND CLARENCE MITCHELL, CHAIRMAN OF ITS LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE, AND DIRECTOR, WASHINGTON BUREAU OF THE NAACP

Mr. WILKINS. Thank you, Senator Kennedy. First, I should like to thank the subcommittee for the opportunity of appearing before it and to express my regret over the circumstances that cause Senator Ervin's absence today. I am sure we all extend to him and his friends our condolences.

With me today, in order to supply the information which I customarily, habitually lack, is Mr. Joseph L. Rauh, Jr., the general counsel of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, on my immediate left, and Mr. Clarence Mitchell, the director of the Washington Bureau of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

I ask the subcommittee's permission for them to supplement my testimony as far as certain details are concerned with which I am not technically familiar.

Senator KENNEDY of Massachusetts. Their comments will be extremely welcome. I must say from my own personal experience I know the value of their contributions to the important civil rights legislation that has been passed by the Senate and the Congress in recent years, and I, for one, feel that their contributions have been extremely significant, and I feel that this committee is extremely fortunate to have the benefits of their thinking, so I welcome them as well.

Mr. Wikins. Thank you, sir. Mr. Chairman, before embarking on this statement, I would like to say that I speak today as chairman of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, an organization representing more than 100 civil rights, religious, labor, civic, and other groups dedicated to equality for all, as well as executive director of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

I submit for the record a list of the organizations, sir, who have formally endorsed the testimony which I am about to give. This list is up to date, from those who were not on it some time ago.

(The list referred to follows:)

LIST OF OVER 100 ORGANIZATIONS THAT ENDORSE THE STATEMENT OF ROY WILKINS,

CHAIRMAN OF THE LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE ON CIVIL RIGHTS

African Methodist Episcopal Church.
AME Zion Church,
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.
Alphia Phi Alpha Fraternity.
Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America.
Amalgamated Meat Cutters & Butcher Workmen.
American Civil Liberties Union.
American Ethical Union.
American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees.
American Federation of Teachers.
American Jewish Committee.
American Jewish Congress.
American Newspaper Guild.
American Veterans Committee.
Americans for Democratic Action.
Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith.
A. Philip Randolph Foundation.
B'nai B'rith Women.
Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters.
Christian Family Movement.
Christian Methodist Episcopal Church.
Church of the Brethern Service Commission.
Citizens Lobby for Freedom & Fair Play.
Congress of Racial Equality.
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.
Episcopal Society for Cultural & Racial Unity.
Frontiers International.
Hotel, Restaurant Employees & Bartenders International Union.
Improved Benevolent & Protective Order of the Elks of the World.

LIST OF OVER 100 ORGANIZATIONS THAT ENDORSE THE STATEMENT OF ROY WILKINS,

CHAIRMAN OF THE LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE ON CIVIL RIGHTS—Continued Industrial Union Department-AFL/CIO International Ladies Garment Workers Union of America. International Union of Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers. Iota Phi Lambda, Inc. Japanese-American Citizens League. Jewish Labor Committee. Jewish War Veterans. League for Industrial Democracy. National Alliance of Postal & Federal Employees. National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. National Association of College Women. National Council of Puerto Rican Volunteers, Inc. National Association of Colored Women's Clubs, Inc. National Association of Negro Business & Professional Women's Clubs, Inc. National Association of Real Estate Brokers, Inc. National Bar Association. National Beauty Culturists League, Inc. National Catholic Social Action Conference. National Catholic Conference for Interracial Justice. National Community Relations Advisory Council. National Council of Catholic Men. National Council of Catholic Women. National Council of Churches-Commission on Religion & Race. National Council of Jewish Women. National Council of Negro Women, National Council of Senior Citizens, Inc. National Dental Association. National Farmers Union. National Federation of Catholic College Students. National Federation of Settlements & Neighborhood Centers. National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods. National Jewish Welfare Board. National Medical Association. National Newspaper Publishers Association. National Organization for Mexican-American Services. National Student Christian Federation. Yational Urban League. Negro American Labor Council. North American Federation of the Third Order of St. Francis. Northern Student Movement. Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity. Phi Delta Kappa Sorority. Pioneer Women. Presbyterian Interracial Council. Protestant Episcopal Church—Division of Christian Citizenship. Retail, Wholesale & Department Store Union. Southern Beauty Congress. Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Transport Workers Union of America. l'nion of American Hebrew Congregations. l'nitarian Universalist Association-Commission on Religion & Race. l'nitarian Universalist Fellowship for Social Justice. I'nited Automobile Workers of America. United Church of Christ, Committee for Racial Justice Now. United Church of Christ, Council for Christian Social Action. l'nited Church Women. United Hebrew Trades. United Packinghouse, Food & Allied Workers. l'nited Presbyterian Church, Commission on Religion & Race. United Presbyterian Church, Office of Church & Society. l'nited Rubber Workers. United States National Student Association.

LIST OF OVER 100 ORGANIZATIONS THAT ENDORSE THE STATEMENT OF ROY WILKINS,

CHAIRMAN OF THE LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE ON CIVIL RIGHTS-Continued

United States Youth Council.
United Steelworkers of America.
United Transport Service Employees of America.
Women's International League for Peace & Freedom.
Workers Defense League.
Workmen's Circle.
Young Women's Christian Association of the USA.
Zeta Phi Beta Sorority.

OTHER ORGANIZATIONS

Citizens Crusade Against Poverty.
Executive Committee of the Division of Human Relations and Economic Affairs,

General Board of Christian Social Concern of the Methodist Church.

NOTE.—Other organizations will be made a part of the record as we receive them.

Mr. WILKINS. With the subcommittee's permission and in the interests of conserving the time of the Senator, I should like to summarize and touch in points upon the written testimony which has already been submitted for the record and which I would like to request be included in the record in toto.

Senator KENNEDY of Massachusetts. It will be included in its entirety.

Mr. WILKINS. And then, sir, I would like at the conclusion to present a short supplementary statement.

At a meeting on May 5, specially called to consider the administration's civil rights program as proposed in S. 3296, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights endorsed the program and agreed to recommend that its associated organizations work for its passage. Pursuant to the will of the conference as expressed at that meeting, I am here to present the conference's views on this proposed legislation. We support S. 3296 and urge certain vital strengthening amendments.

The need for me and others to return to testify on another major civil rights bill so soon after passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 is occasioned by the cumulative effect of nearly a century of neglect of section 5 of the 14th and section 2 of the 15th amendments. These sections, which authorize Congress to enact appropriate legislation to enforce the amendments, were a dead letter from the 1870's until passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1957. This long period of congressional inaction spawned problems which could not be resolved in any one or even a number of congressional enactments, in the light of the existing political realities. As Congress responded to pressing needs by passage of civil rights legislation in 1957, 1960, 1964 and 1965, experience under this legislation and reaction and resistance to it have indicated the need for further legislative action to refine and protect the rights encompassed by these laws. We believe that the proposal sent to Congress by the President goes a long way toward pointing out the areas of concern in which such legislative action is urgently needed.

The first two titles of S. 3296 concern themselves with reform of the jury selection system—both Federal and State. The conditions that make this reform necessary are a prime example of a situation created by the Nation's neglect to which I have previously referred. Despite the adoption of the 14th amendment 98 years ago and despite the Supreme Court's upholding, in ex parte Virginia in 1880, the statute making jury discrimination a criminal act, the practice of exclusion of Negroes from juries still exists. It exists not on an accidental or limited basis, but as part of widespread, systematic, and concerted State action practiced in contempt of the Constitution and in total disregard of the civil rights of millions of American citizens whose skin happens to be colored.

I need not elaborate on the details on where or how this racial exclusion is practiced. I am sure the subcommittee has been well briefed on this point. I cannot, however, refrain from citing once again the case of Lowndes County, Ala., which I believe the Attorney General has already brought to your attention. In this county a Federal court found that no Negro had ever served on a jury, despite the fact that Negroes comprised 72 percent of the population from which juries were selected.

Through the years jury exclusion has been a matter of continuing concern to civil rights organizations, and a substantial number of cases have been handled by lawyers of the NAACP and the NAACP legal defense fund, including such landmark ones as Hale v. K’entucky, Hill v. T'exas, and Shepherd v. Florida, to mention only a few. This experience in the courts has led the Leadership Conference to the conclusion that while case-by-case litigation may secure justice in specific instances, it is not an effective means of combating the problem of jury exclusion with all of its ramifications. We, therefore, welcome efforts to reform the system itself to eliminate the curse of racial discrimination. That the President's program is concerned with the total jury selection system inspires hope that Congress will meet the crying need for a complete overhaul of jury selection procedures.

We are pleased that the bill offered to carry out this program attacks all types of discrimination on the basis of sex and economic status as well as race, color, religion, or national origin.

It is significant to us that in those States where women are barred from jury service-Alabama, Mississippi, and South Carolina-harsh treatment of Negroes in judicial procedures is often the rule rather than the exception. We would hope that the inclusion of ladies in the jury system would add elements of both mercy and justice. This hope is inspired by our memory of the valiant work tha women and especially Southern churchwomen-performed in the long and ultimately rewarding fight against the evil of lynching.

The prohibition of discrimination because of economic status is a necessary complement to that barring racial discrimination. It would be of little moment to Negro litigants in areas such as the Mississippi Delta if prospective Negro jurors, having overcome the factor of race, were struck from the list because of a means test. The unfortunate historical and socioeconomic factors that have relegated masses of Negroes to lower economic classifications would then become as effective a barrier to jury service as the jury commissioner's deliberate policy of handpicking "white only; venires.

We are likewise pleased that the provisions of S. 3296 apply universally—to Federal as well as State juries—to practices in the North as well as those in the South. While our experience in Federal courts in the South is generally better than in most local courts, we see in the Federal system many of the deficiencies in jury selection that prevail

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