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Twenty-five years ago, in World War I there were no Negroes as pilots in the Air Corps. Today there are Negro pilots. When this legislation came up, we presented our plea for an antidiscrimination clause here and even though the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce did not accept it, later on the floor, former Congressman Dirksen of Illinois back in 1939. submitted an amendment stating there should be no discrimination in the administration of the benefits of the CAA, on account of race, color, or creed. It was accepted by the Democratic administration and the Democratic majority in the House at that time as well as the Republican minority. The Democratic Senate and Republican minority accepted it. The Democratic President, President Roosevelt, signed it. It became law. We followed through on it. Mr. Webster, in setting up the training program all over the country, gave Negroes equal rights, with the result that when World War II came, we had Negroes ready and prepared to take their rightful place in the Air Corps, where they acquitted themselves with valor and acclaim. They fought with other pilots in the Air Corps for our country.

A few days ago the press reported that the Secretary of Defense, Mr. Johnson has ordered implementation of the President's civil rights directive, that there will be no racial barriers in the whole defense program, in the Army, the Navy, and the Air Corps. That American boys will serve on a proper American basis of equality, with no stigma of segregation. That is the order of the day, as we know it is from the President, proclaimed before the election, in the Democratic platform, and now the Defense Secretary reiterates it. I contend that all the money we send to Europe and all these other preparatory programs are not half as important as equality on the home front to insure democracy here, as the President and Secretary Johnson are doing.

It seems to me the Congress should do likewise.

The Democrats should agree to it and the Republicans. It is no partisan issue.

I hope the performance in the Senate is not repeated on the House side. I am telling you that the people are in dead earnest about civil rights, and we hope to get it across to you before it is too late, Mr. Chairman.

I have a lot of confidence in Kentucky, Congressman Spence. Abraham Lincoln was born and nurtured by Kentucky. Then, we have men like Congressman O'Hara of Illinois, the final home of President Lincoln, on your committee, wo is carrying on the spirit of Lincoln. That is what we want. The spirit of Lincoln and the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth amendments, written into these laws, every one of them, now.

Thank you very much.

Mr. COLE. Mr. Brown, may I say that I mentioned the other gentlemen that opposed this bill. I oppose the bill because I feel it is discriminatory between all types of people. I feel it is discriminatory between people who are living in similar circumstances, under the same situation. Many of those people receive benefits under this bill, but the majority of similarly situated people do not receive the same benefits.

I intend to oppose the bill on that basis. I also believe that it does discriminate between races. And I will vote for any amendment which will provide for a broader base, whereby we will not have discrimination in any sense. And I think that is an issue in this bill. I think it is an issue that this Congress should face.

Mr. E. G. Brown. Well, I think you have taken a proper, statesmanlike view of it. That is what you must do here, rewrite and make this a just and equal law. If the bill is not what it ought to be we do not think it is as it ought to be, either. It should be corrected. We are opposed to it as it is now. We want an antidiscrimination and antisegregation amendment inserted by the House. I say to you just what your remarks have indicated and pointed up very clearly. The white people, and there are nine white persons to every one Negro, they are discriminated against in this bill worse than the Negroes. They just do not happen to know it, that is all.

The CHAIRMAN. We are glad to have your views.
We will now adjourn to meet tomorrow at 10.

(Whereupon at 5 p. m., the committee recessed to reconvene on Wednesday, April 27, 1949, at 10 a. m.).

(The following statement was submitted for inclusion in the record :)



GENTLEMEN : The District of Columbia Federation of Civic Associations consists of 28 local civic associations of Washington, D. C. The Interdenominational Ministers' Alliance of Washington and vicinity consists of a membership of ministers representing more than 200 churches of various denominations in the District of Columbia and a church membership of over 100,000 people of Washington, D. C., and vicinity. The District of Columbia branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is the official local organization representing both its membership in Washington, D. C., and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. For purposes of this statement we might add that the Washington Urban League is a social work agency concerned with the social and economic problems of the Negro communitsespecially problems relating to housing employment, health, and race relations. Further, for purposes of this statement, it has functioned as a fact-finding organization. Its general function is that of determining, defining and analyzing the needs of the Negro community, and it seeks to meet these needs through interpretation to and cooperation with responsible city officials, social welfare agencies, and the community itself. The Washington Urban League is one of 48 affiliates of the National Urban League which has the same program and purpose in cities throughout the Nation. The three organizations mentioned above have therefore called upon the Washington Urban League to provide us with necessary statistical data, interpretation of present-day housing needs in the District of Columbia and other general information; and we have requested the Urban League to verify the factual contents of this statement by placing its signature hereon. This, it has done.

We wish to thank the committee for this opportunity to express ourselves on the subject of the Housing Act of 1949, or House bill H. R. 4009.

We have followed the public reports of discussions on housing in the District of Columbia and, to some extent, the testimony before this committee, as well as the testimony in the Senate. We have noted that some recognition has been given to the extent to which the Negro population is involved in slum clearance. Also, it is apparently conceded that provisions for adequate housing for low income groups is necessary. We do not believe, however, that the full and distinctive character of this problem has been adequately defined. It is essential, therefore, that the hidden character of the problem be revealed because the failure to recognize the basic elements of the housing problem, and to formulate procedures to meet them, has too often resulted in unrealistic housing programs which have not only failed to improve the housing situation in Washington but

have actually aggravated it. Statistics show that the seriousness of this aggraration can hardly be overemphasized. Thus, in Metropolitan Washington in the year 1947, nonwhites lived in 64 percent of the dwelling units which contained no running water; they lived in 45 percent of the houses without installed cooking units; 69 percent without central heating; 44 percent of the houses contained 1.51 or more persons per room; 40 percent of the dwelling units contained six or more persons per unit; and they lived in 65 percent of the units in need of major repairs. We have been unable to obtain the figures representing the number of such persons occupying dwelling units which fall far below the recognized required standards, or otherwise existing under ownership in violation of law.

We find that much publicity has already been given to existing slum areas within the vicinity of this building. There has also been some mention of other similar areas which are admittedly in need of slum clearance and general redevelopment. For many years we have pointed to slum conditions in the District of Columbia and on many occasions the subject has been discussed by the Members of the Congress. Indeed, certain provisions have been made for the clearance of several of these slum areas. But the curative programs which have been administered have not been accompanied by preventive measures, or with provisions for taking care of those residing in slum areas, or by providing new housing. The patient has only been treated externally and superficially. We note, for instance, that several large areas in Washington which were formerly occupied by Negroes have been condemned and the blighted area removed. But no provision was made for the families who were removed. The result has been that these families were forced into other existing low-income areas, and this further aggravated an existing housing shortage and slum-clearance problem. It has been reported that following the condemnation and demolition of these slum-area structures, parking lots, and large apartment buildings for high-income group dwellers, have been provided in the same space. In other cases Government buildings, parks, schools, and highway systems have, of course, been provided for in these same spots. For instance, it is reported that Negro families have been displaced by the construction of Federal buildings on Constitution Avenue, by other housing projects for whites in the Garfield section of the southeast, by the expansion of the Navy Yard, and the superhighway network built to service the Pentagon Building and the National Airport, and eviction of Negroes from Georgetown has been followed by remodeling of the structures and renting or selling them to whites at increased prices. All of these displacements have tended only to aggravate the existing problem in various other spots throughout the city. While it might appear that these displaced persons should improve their lot following such displacement by moving into more decent housing, we find that no such opportunity is afforded them, for the reason that once the Negro people are unhoused they are worse off than other citizens because their free movement is restricted in the District of Columbia, thus limiting their housing market to other already overcrowded areas. This is evidenced by the known impossibility of purchasing a home in many areas, even those areas adjacent to Negro communities. Moreover, once the Negro people are permitted to expand a city block or two, they must then purchase homes which have been occupied by whites for periods of 25 to 50 years and, surprisingly enough, they must in many cases pay prices far in excess of the original cost of the house and far above normal market values. Low-income families which have been displaced from their original slum areas must then, necessarily, resort to another slum area, thus further overcrowding the area to which they have been forced under our system.

We do not believe that the solution to this problem lies solely in the demoli. tion of the slum area ; rather, the provision of adequate public housing for low-income groups is primarily needed. Nor do we believe, as has been suggested by one of our city heads, that the “screening of Negroes” planning to move to Washington to determine whether they wo a “drug on the market" would offer the solution. Furthermore, this outstanding proposal which imposes limitations upon the freedom of movement for certain people of the United States is diametrically opposed to the democratic principles of our great Nation, and could lead finally to the screening of brunettes and blondes. We do not believe that our great Nation has reached the place where it must so "ruhlandize" the common people. In fact, the very suggestion of such plans is a fair indication of the problems which the Negro people of the District of Columbia have encountered in their effort to enforce health laws as they pertain to rental housing in the District of Columbia. Moreover, such a proposal as that just mentioned is typical fodder which may be used by totalitarian enemies to feed the world as a demonstration of pronouncements of a "democratic" nation. Nat. urally, we could not agree with any such plan.

As we see it, under existing conditions, there is little hope for adequate public housing under any of the plans of the slum clearance or redevelopment agencies which are now operating. Thus, the National Capital Park and Plan. ning Commission and the Redevelopment Land Agency, as well as the National Capital Housing Authority have already experienced serious difficulty in any effort to alleviate slum conditions in Washington. Whatever the reasons for such difficulty may be, the fact that they have experienced some difficulty is obvious. Under these circumstances, there is an obvious need for adequate provisions in the proposed “Housing Act of 1949" to hasten the solution to our local housing problems.

We believe, therefore, that special and separate appropriations and special treatment for the District of Columbia wholly unnecessary and undesirable, as the housing situation in the District of Columbia should present no greater technical or administrative problems, or slum-clearance difficulties, than in any other city in America. Indeed, we feel that the problem may be successfully met more quickly and more adequately if similar and sufficient provisions were made for slum clearance in the District of Columbia under the proposed Housing Act of 1949. We think that this may be done by including the District of Columbia and the functions of the National Capital Park and Planning Commission and the Redevelopment Land Agency, as well as the National Capital Housing Authority, under the Housing Act of 1919, or under H. R. 4009 and S. 1070. We strongly urge, however, that these local agencies be permitted to participate in public housing and slum-clearance aids in the same manner as would any other city; and that their program be administered under the supervision and direction of the Administrator of the Housing and Home Finance Agency, or other appropriate Federal agency. In other words, we have a firm faith in the sympathetic understanding of the Federal Government, and we have unshaken contidence in its technical judgment with respect to the subject of housing. We therefore think that final authority or review should rest with the Federal Government just as would be the case if any other city in the country were involved. We therefore urge you to take this matter into consideration and make provisions for the District of Columbia under the proposed bill H. R. 4009.

Again, we thank you for this opportunity to express our views, and we hope that you will give your serious consideration to such views as the representative views of the Negro people of the District of Columbia, as represented by these organizations. Respectfully submitted.

By John B. Duncan,

John B. DUNCAN, Vice President and Chairman, Special Committee.

By William D. Nixon,

WILLIAM D. Nixon, Chairman, Housing Committee.

By J. F. Whitfield,

Rev. J. F. WHITFIELD, President.


Dr. VINCENT J. BROWNE, President.




Washington, D.O. The committee met, pursuant to adjournment, at 10 a. m., the Honorable Brent Spence, chairman, presiding.

Present: Messrs. Spence, Brown, Patman, Hays, Buchanan, O'Brien, McKinnon, Addonizio, Dollinger, Mitchell, O'Hara, Talle, McMillen, Kilburn, Cole, Hull, Scott, and Nicholson.

The CHAIRMAN. The committee will be in order. We will resume the hearings on H. R. 4009. Mr. Gray, of the American Federation of Labor, will be our first witness this morning. Mr. Gray, please identify yourself and proceed.


Mr. GRAY. My name is Richard J. Gray. I am president of the building and construction trades department of the American Federation of Labor and I am here representing the American Federation of Labor housing committee.

I am very grateful for this opportunity to appear before you today in support of H. R. 4009, introduced by the very able chairman of this committee, Congressman Spence. Although we have some criticisms of the bill, and regret particularly its failure to cover moderate-income families, we feel that its enactment would represent a tremendous step forward toward solution of America's housing problem. As one of the organizations which has pioneered in the development and promotion of a long-range housing program, we were particularly pleased by the recent action of the Senate in passing a similar bill. We look forward eagerly to prompt action by the members of this body.

I will not take up your time today with a detailed exposition of America's housing needs. Those facts and figures have been brought before you by government, labor, and other spokesmen too many times for me to dwell long upon them today. Only the die-hards still maintain that the private building industry can or will build all of the homes America needs. The past record of the private building industry, particularly since the war, indicates conclusively that it cannot handle the entire job. We simply have to face the fact that the nearly two-thirds of our families who have incomes of less than $1,000 are completely out of the housing market in terms of being

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