« PreviousContinue »
know and who your friends are. We are sick and tired of being spoonfed, of being misled, of being what we would call in our community jive and shut, and we are no longer going to put up with it.
If there is any employment program it is going to deal with the minorities in our area particularly.
It is going to be that the decisions and the policy is going to be made by our people to affect our people. We are sick and tired of the great Anglo ingenuity that makes money off the poor by setting up studies, programs and agencies.
We are sick and tired of the fact that welfare perpetuates welfare in order to provide an employment field for people who run the program.
We finally evaluated the situation and we realize that every kind of agency, every kind of program is simply another pork barrel to fatten up the bureaucracy. We want the programs, and we want the employment doors open down at the bottom.
We want to be able to gain the dignity that we can also learn. I would say in the Southwest where I am from, the Mexican-American who is a semi-indigenous person, being Indian and Spanish, has been overly neglected.
For instance, you use none of the human resources of the Southwest. There is no unemployment problem for the people coming from the East who are Anglos or come from Oklahoma or Texas or coming from even the Deep South, and work in the Southwest.
Industries that move to the Southwest bring their eastern contractors who bring their own people. There should be a law set up to make sure that the human natural resources in those areas be utilized.
We are not part of the 2.5 or 3 unemployment percentage. We are part of the 8 to 24 percent of the unemployment percentage.
We demand now that this be changed. We demand also that our education system quit counseling our kids to go to the war, to lose their blood when they can't gain some kind of economic comfort, a guaranteed income, clean clothes.
Senator CLARK. Will you suspend for just a minute.
I understand that Dr. Abernathy and Mr. Young have an appointment at 11:30. Now you want to be on time today. So, I would suggest that unless members of the subcommittee have questions they would like to direct to Dr. Abernathy and Mr. Young, that they be permitted to leave and then I will be able to stay here and listen to the representatives of the poor who wish to be heard.
Do members of the subcommittee have any questions to ask Dr. Young or Dr. Abernathy!
Reverend ABERNATHY. Mr. Chairman, could we stay about 15 more minutes ?
Senator CLARK. You can stay all day, Doctor, if you want to.
Reverend ABERNATHY. Then I think we can still make the appointment if we make our statements as brief is possible. I would like to hear as many of my colleagues speak before leaving as possible.
Senator CLARK. Fine. If a few members of the subcommittee wish to interrupt to ask Dr. Abernathy and Dr. Young questions now they may.
Senator Javits. I think Senator Prouty's suggestion is desirable. After all, we have tried very hard, that has been very clear, and the idea is to arouse something of deep interest in this matter.
I think that the poor themselves who are testifying certainly are the best advocates. I would personally like to hear them.
I would suggest, Dr. Abernathy, that you do allocate your time because you would not want one section or one particular point of view to take all the time.
Senator CLARK. I am going to make a suggestion and see if you agree with this, Dr. Abernathy. We let the gentleman finish his statement and then we impose the 5-minute rule on each of your colleagues with the understanding if they can't get through in that time we will give them more time later.
Is that agreeable ?
You may continue. Mr. GONZALEZ. I will be glad to relinquish my time for you to hear the honest experienced statements of the other people who are here. I think that I have covered most of the programs and I feel that what they have to say will be of utmost importance.
Senator CLARK. Thank you very much.
witness, Dr. Abernathy. Reverend ABERNATHY. Yes, we would like for Mr. Robert Fulcher who represents the poor white of this country to speak now. STATEMENT OF ROBERT FULCHER, STATE OF WEST VIRGINIA
Mr. FULCHER. Mr. Chairman, I am from an area that we call colonies instead of States, which is the Appalachia area, particularly West Virginia.
The programs that are being sent out by our Government into these areas are put into the hands of the wrong people in the first place.
The programs and the money have completely vanished by the time it gets to the poor for their use in the first place.
We in West Virginia are not asking for a handout. I know a lot of people would think that it is a matter of West Virginia, but we think it is a matter of this great Senate of ours. Because in West Virginia, as you know, automation has completely cut the employment rate in the mining area to nothing and any time there is any program set up for training it has to be for
people under 35. Now I gave my life to the coal mines, I am a disabled coal miner. I went in when I was 15 and I got hurt 10 years ago. But I do know what the best labor in the coal mines runs from 35 to 55. This is for true.
West Virginia happens to be the 12th wealthiest State in the Nation in natural resources for its size and what it puts into the economy, but so much unemployment, so many poor people live in the Appalachia area, now that resources are taken out in the raw form, moved to other areas, and this way being processed and distributed in the market as the product to be distributed over the country, Now we in West Virginia would like to take the natural resources
process them in West Virginia, put the West Virginians back to work.
Then we would not have to ask for handouts. We would then have sufficient labor for all our people in West Virginia.
Our natural resources are being taken from us with nothing in return, just like the colonies were in the old days.
There is no severance tax on any type of our natural resources. This is being taken from us and we are contributing to the economy of the United States and we have people in West Virginia who are starving when there is absolutely no need for it with all of the wealth that we have.
You talk about the wealth of the Nation. To be a small State, as West Virginia-as I said a minute ago, it rates No. 12 in wealth of the United States—why should there be starvation in West Virginia ?
Why should there not be jobs for people in West Virginia when there is plenty to be had there if it was used right?
We would like you to take that very much in consideration. Also in Kentucky there is very, very little consideration given to the poor concerning the strip mining there. They do not have a strip mining law that protects the poor in Kentucky.
The man who owns the mineral rights in Kentucky can bulldoze your house over and take it without any recourse whatsoever.
The people in Kentucky need some type of protection from this thing.
The people have to live on the ground after they take what is under the ground out.
Now coal mining, as I said, is no easy thing. It is a hard labor, it is a labor that a man devotes almost his life to once he starts into it.
He has no time to stop to get an education. No time to do anything because he is in that dark hole. He is in there most of the time.
He very seldom ever sees daylight due to the fact that he works overtime a lot of times. Many a time I have spent 20 and 21 hours in those holes. Many times I worked 7 days a week in those holes trying to get a piece of machinery ready to mine coal.
Once you are disabled or become of age you are like some animal, you are turned loose with no recourse whatsoever. I say this: One piece of machinery in a coal mine that employs eight men now where it used to employ 80 men—if these companies made money at that time when the 80 men were working, what are they doing now with eight men working!
Why can't there be some type of insurance or some type of protection set up for these coal miners?
From this and from the automation, if the automation is going to replace the people, what in Heaven's name is doing to happen to us! Just like in the Deep South, on the farms, automation has replaced the people on the farm.
Now there is no recourse whatsoever for a living. Are we going to let machines replace human beings and turn human beings loose as if they were nothing?
It is time that this be taken in consideration. I speak of the coal industry. As of right now these people are making tremendous amounts of money. You have these miners who have devoted their lives to these people. Most of them have silicosis today and can't even breathe. They can't even walk up steps.
This thing should be considered. A man should be refunded or taken care of to where he could hold his head up in dignity, not in shame,
but in dignity, that an industry that he gave his life to is able to protect him and care for him.
Senator CLARK. Thank you very much, sir.
STATEMENT OF JOSE ORTIZ, STATE OF NEW YORK
Mr. Ortiz. My name is Jose Ortiz, I am here representing youth. Senator CLARK. Will you suspend for just a moment.
I will have to ask the photographers to move out of the way so that the members of the committee can see the witnesses.
Thank you very much. Mr. ORTIZ. Mr. Chairman and members of the Senate subcommittee. I finally realized something today that is not just, you know, New York; as my fellow brother here just pointed out, like we are having the same problems as far as when we run up against, you know, the so-called professionals that come into the ghettos and establish their own programs.
We feel that we are capable, the people in ghettos themselves, to develop our own programs and to execute them. We do have communication with the rest of the people in the ghettos and I guess this is really our biggest factor.
As far as jobs, Senator Javits here probably should know a little bit more about how it is to have to run down to the garment center and have to push one of the push wagons and get paid $50 a week.
I know people who just stand in the corner and make more than $50 a week. This is the attitude most of the people have developed. Why should I go out there and do a job; that is, you know, that doesn't really take no brains.
You know, what are they trying to tell me, that I am not capable of using my head?
If anybody wants to offer me a job let him offer me a job where I can really be doing something. As far as electronics and computers, like we have a whole building on 9th Street, Thompson Square Community Center. We have been trying to get a jet engine in there so that we can get somebody to teach how this jet engine operates. This is the kind of thing we want.
We don't want $50 jobs because we can't make enough. The average person who gets the $50 job, when he comes out of work he has to be running some numbers so that he can make a little more money.
You know, $50 isn't enough to feed one person. If anybody really wants to offer any jobs, offer jobs which hold a future for us and all we really need as far as the technical and the professional help is for them to come down and assist us.
We are capable of running our own programs. Especially among the youth we do have a whole lot of programs up there which are being run by us, are being directed by us and we don't necessarily have high school degrees, but we do have the know-how. We are in communication with the people and when we go out in the streets some people listen to us because we are completely identified because we are those people.
Unless the people who are putting out all this money for all these programs get down and realize that we don't need professional people to come down there and program us and tell us how to run our lives because we are capable of doing this. Unless you get down and realize this point all that money you will be putting out there will be going into the same thing that it has been going into so long like manpower, mobilzation for youth, all these big organizations that have received millions and millions of dollars which have done exactly nothing.
It is about time that we start using different methods. It is letting the community, the people themselves get their programs and direct their own programs. Even if it means setting up employment offices for the community people by the community people, then that is what we are going to have to do.
Thank you very much. I will give an opportunity for somebody else to speak because I don't want to have to take up the whole time.
Senator Clark. Thank you very much for an eloquent statement, Mr. Ortiz.
Reverend ABERNATHY. Mrs. Scott of Baltimore, Mr. Chairman, and once she has finished I would like you to excuse Mr. Young and myself so that we can make the next appointment and I will designate the person that will be in charge.
STATEMENT OF MRS. ALBERTA SCOTT, BALTIMORE, MD.
Mrs. Scorr. I am Mrs. Alberta Scott, I live in Baltimore, Md.
For my husband and I welfare gives us $130. We have to pay $65 for our place where we live and it is a slum house. There are more rats and roaches there and we have been at the landlord to fix it up but he won't. But when the welfare check comes and we get the check from the public welfare our landlord beats the mailman. And we have rats there. We have roaches there.
We have been at our landlord to fix up the house and he will not do it but he will beat the mailman to the check.
Senator Clark. Have you completed your statement?
Mrs. Scott. So we asked the landlord would he even give us money, would he even now give us the chance to take some of the rent-we are paying $65 a month as it is, and we only
get $130, the two of us. My husband is disabled to work and so am I. We asked the landlord would he give us a chance to take some of the money and spread it out. No. But he still beats the mailman.
We have to pay for our own gas and electricity and have to furnish our own food out of that $130 a month.
Reverend ABERNATHY. Mrs. Tresjan.
Senator Javirs. Mr. Chairman, before Dr. Abernathy goes, if I may, I would like to suggest to the Chair that I would hope that we will have another opportunity to question the witness. Beyond that I think you ought to go away with something tangible.
I would hope that the Chair would consider calling us into executive session
Senator CLARK. Will you please let us have quiet so that Senator Javits can be heard.
Senator Javits. I would hope that the Chair-as I say, I know the Chair is very sympathetic to everything that has been said will call