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priate that the Department of Agriculture will be able, if this legislation is approved, to help owners of adequate farms provide better housing for their own families, tenants, sharecroppers, and hired farm laborers who live on their farms.

Similarly, the provisions to improve housing on farms that may be made adequate and loans or grants for temporary repair of farm units which cannot be made self-sustaining are constructive steps.

The most critical aspect of the rural housing program is not touched by these provisions, however. There are at least 214 million workers employed on farms in the United States. More than half of these do not live on the farms on which they work; 700,000 to 750,000 live in the open country, in small towns, or in urban communities. They are permanently located and work on nearby farms. In addition, there are almost 1,000,000 migratory workers in agriculture. All of these come under the general category “rural nonfarm.” They are about equally divided between those who are permanently located and those who migrate.

One amendment can and should be made in the legislation before you to provide housing for these agricultural workers—the forgotten Americans:

A new section should be added to the public housing title to repeal the Bramblett Act (Public Law 298, 80th Cong.) and transfer title of the migrant labor camps now in the Departmnt of Agriculture to the Public Housing Administration of HHFA.

Mobile and permanent camps built for migrant labor by the Farm Security Administration (now the Farmers Home Administration) were put on the auction block by the Eightieth Congress. The temporary camps have already been liquidated. Titles to 37 of 52 permanent camps are still held by the Federal Government although the Bramblett Act, mentioned above, states that they must be disposed of by June 30, 1949. At the moment they are operated on revocable lease permits by associations of farmers or in a few cases by local housing authorities.

It is an obvious contradiction for the Government of the United States to dispose of these housing projects—the best hope for some migrant workersat a time when we talk of a comprehensive housing program. Public Law 298, Eightieth Congress, should be repealed and title of the camps transferred to housing authorities.

In addition, new housing projects should be developed for rural nonfarm workers, both those permanently located and those who migrate. The 10 percent of the annual contributions authorized for rural nonfarm public housing should be used, in part, to meet the housing needs of migratory agricultural labor. We hope that PHA will give a broad interpretation to this provision and be flexible enough in administering it to provide the kind of low-cost public housing which migratory agricultural labor can and should use.

It is fitting and proper for a church group to conclude its statement with this plea for agricultural workers. We do this, knowing we have neglected many important aspects of the housing bills being considered-slum clearance, redevelopment and new development, research, improved aids for private enterprise, etc. We hope that these and other features of a comprehensive housing bill which we have mentioned will be incorporated in legislation which will represent a great forward step for democracy and family welfare in 1949.

Lastly, may I emphasize this. The emotional attacks on public housing by its opponents that it is an introduction in the United States to various sorts of “isms”, are emphatically without foundation. It is a cardinal point of necessity in a comprehensive housing program and has the support of the vast majority of Protestant churches and churchmen.


New York 10, N. Y., May 11, 1949. Representative BRENT SPENCE, House Banking and Currency Committee,

House Office Building, Washington, D. C. DEAR MR. SPENCE: The Council for Social Action of the Congregational Christian Churches presented a statement to the Banking and Currency Committee relative to H. Ř. 4009. We asked that this statement should be included in the

record of the hearings. I would appreciate it if the following policy statement
could be added to our testimony. It deals particularly with the problem of farm
labor camps for migrant agricultural labor. This statement has been approved
officially by the Council for Social Action of the Congregational Christian
Sincerely yours,

THOMAS B. KEEHN, Legislative Secretary.


ACTION OF THE CONGREGATIONAL CHRISTIAN CHURCHES We are deeply concerned about the physical, social, and moral welfare of the 1,000,000 or more Americans who make up our national migratory agricultural labor force. We confess that their chronic experience of underprivilege and exp'oitation constitutes a major failure of our American economic system.

We recognize that the problems of agricultural migrancy are many and that they must be attacked on many fronts. One problem, which is basic to many others, and one for which we believe a partial solution to be presently available is the problem of adequate housing for migratory agricultural labor.

We believe that an unwise and a backward step was taken by the Eightieth Congress when it enacted Public Law No. 298 requiring the Secretary of Agriculture to dispose of all Federal farm labor camps by June 30, 1919. These camps have served effectively, both to house a large number of agricultural laborers in some degree of decency and comfort, and to provide an excellent yardstick for the improvement of standards in private farm labor housing.

We, therefore, urge the Congress at this time to reconsider and reverse the policy represented in Public Law No. 298, and to enact legislation providing for the continuation and reasonable expansion of the Federal farm labor camp program. We strongly favor a program which will provide (a) camps owned and operated by the Federal Government; (b) a maximum decentralization of administrative authority consistent with maintenance of high housing standards; (c) strong local advisory committees; (d) encouragement of democratic camp councils organized by the residents of the camps; (e) assurance of high grade health, recreational and educational services available to the residents ether within or adjacent to the camps.

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MY DEAR MR. SPENCE: On behalf of the Fraternal Council of Negro Churches in America, representing 7,000,000 members of 11 denominations, may I ask that you place on the records of the House Banking and Currency Committee Hearings our support of the General Housing Act of 1949.

This is, in effect, reaffirmation of the consistent endorsement of legislation to extend and expand the public housing program, and to initiate the slum (lerance and rural housing programs which would be provided by H. R. 4009 and S. 1070.

As spiritual leaders in practically every urban and rural area of the United States, we are in intimate contact with the problems and needs of the people. We have witnessed the benefits derived from the provision of decent housing and have combatted the innumerable evils bred and nourished in the slums. We do not believe a Christian nation can further neglect the fundamental attack upon the housing conditions menacing the spiritual and physical well being of its citizenry. Contrary to the charges that public housing is communistic or socialistic, we contend that the quality of citizenship this program serves to inspire is a highly effective antidote to any anti-American political poison.

Thousands of honest, hard-working families in our congregations cannot afford decent and sanitary housing except through the public housing program. We ale narticularly concerned about the devastating effects of unwholesome living conditions upon family life and child welfare both on the farm and in the cities.

It is with deep conviction and earnest appeal that we ask the House of Repre sentatives to join the Senate in prompt passage of the Housing Act of 1949.


Washington, D. C., May 4, 1949. The Honorable BRENT SPENCE, Chairman, Committee on Banking and Currency,

House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. DEAR SIR: The National Council of Negro Women, with 85 metropolitan councils and 23 affiliated organizations, representing 800,000 women in every State of the Union, again strongly urges the House of Representatives to enact the Housing Act of 1949.

Our council has consistently pressed for passage of the bills, similar to H. R. 4009 and S. 1070 because we believe that the Federal aids for slum clearance, urban, and rural public housing are vital and imperative. It is with greater urgency than ever before that we beseech prompt and favorable action upon this legislation. Almost 4 years have passed since I personally appeared before a congressional committee with a statement, the validity of which still stands (hearings before the Committee on Banking and Currency, U. S. Senate, 79th Cong., pp. 855-860.)

The passing years serve to reinforce my conviction that an expanded public housing program is essential to emergence of thousands of families now hopelessly entrapped in America's urban and rural slums. The tragic needs of these people alone would justify support of the proposed program. But, as I have traveled from city to city throughout the United States, I have seen the token program of public housing repeatedly demonstrate its value to the entire community as its tenants emerged to the full stature of responsible citizenship.

In many communities where the prevalent. pattern of substandard residency completely overshadowed the small but growing examples of Negroes' achievements in attaining good homes, I have seen public housing projects launch beachheads for a basic attack upon slum living. I have seen irrefutable proof that a large-scale demonstration of the people's responsiveness to decent living conditions stimulates and encourages the demand for private enterprise housing of good quality. Thousands of the public housing tenants graduate into the private enterprise market, and thousands more await only the opportunity to do so. Indeed, among Negro tenants alone, there are several thousand of former slum dwellers seeking the private homes their increased earnings can now support.

Certainly, we heartily endorse the size of the public housing bill as introduced in the House of Representatives. In my statement of 1945 I said that proposal then under consideration was good, “but in terms of the magnitude and importance of the job it is too timid for the courageous and pioneering spirit of America.” I urged then that “we turn loose a whole task force in our attack upon this stronghold of crime, ill health, delinquency, and racial tension.” It would follow that we sincerely hope the maximum program of 1,050,000 public housing units, as proposed in H.R. 4009 is approved.

I would particularly underline my deep interest in the provisions for rural housing in the proposed legislation. As I have said before, with our declining birth rates in urban centers, we are nurturing a large part of our Nation's future citizenry in rural areas.

One phase of the proposed legislation, the slum-clearance title, has been subject to particularly close scrutiny by the council and its affiliated organizations. I should like to discuss this title in the context of the serious questions which have been raised with respect to nondiscrimination amendments to the pending bills.

As you may know, the National Council of Negro Women strongly opposed amendments which would serve no purpose other than to obstruct an expanded public housing program. Our decision in this matter was carefully weighed, for the ultimate elimination of every vestige of racism from the American scene is one of the basic objectives of the council program.

We believe, however, that mature judgment assays the merits of legislative approaches to this objective in specific rather than general terms. We are concerned neither with political expediencies nor with vapid philosophies. We shall never willingly endure malicious exploitation of the valiant struggle of our race against discrimination and its subversive auxiliary, segregation.

We have studiously analyzed the conditions which are responsible for one of the most vicious manifestations of racism, the American ghetto. Our conclusions lead us to the conviction that the underlying structure is the traditional operation of private real estate and mortgage financing. We further believe it to be mandatory that the powers and resources of the Government not only refuse to buttress these operations but also be directed to their elimination.

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Contributing to this end, the United States Supreme Court has ruled and only this week, in effect, reaffirmed that ruling against judicial enforcement of racial restrictive covenants. It had already branded racial zoning by legislative measure as unconstitutional. The broad implications of its decisions place squarely upon the shoulders of governmental administrators the responsibilty of preventing use of the remaining arm of the State from any action which would obstruct the privileges specified in the United States Code.

The United States Attorney General, in the Government's brief filed in the restrictive covenant cases, has declared it to be fundamental "that no agency of Government should participate in any action which will result in depriving any person of essential rights because of race or color or creed.” Certainly, we are not so naive as to believe that either public policy or public law is self-executing.

The National Council of Negro Women shall continue energetically to insist that agencies of the Federal Government discharge their full responsibility in safeguarding the rights of all citizens to acquire and use property to which the Government contributes in any way.

But we see no achievement of our objectives with respect either to decent housing or racial democracy by a process of legislative default through which there would be no housing programs involving governmental responsibility.

At the same time, we would urge serious consideration of protective devices in the housing legislation which would reinforce and expedite the sound administration of governmental programs as they affect racial factors in land use, finance, or occupancy, so long as these devices were not obstructive of the housing legislative program.

Accordingly, we believe that high statesmanship should be used in appraisal of two amendments which have been proposed for title I, the program of slum clearance and urban redevelopment, in which, as stated in my testimony of 1915, we foresee grave dangers of racial discrimination by the private developers who may purchase land acquired through this activity. It does not appear to us that the controls in this legislation are sufficiently well defined to obviate the hazards we have come to fear from the traditional practices of private enterprise in this field. In this, rather than in the public-housing program, we are most concerned that legislative safeguards may be required.

The amendments we heartily endorse are those proposed by the CIO Housing Committee, one to give preference in the selection of tenants for rederelopment projects to displaced site occupants; the other to prohibit insertion of provisions unenforceable by law from redevelopinent project contracts or leases.

We believe that the eminent fairness and soundness of these amendments would commend them to the full support of the vast majority of legislators from all sections of the country.

One of the most compelling reasons for the council's position with respect to the "Housing Act of 1949" is based upon confidence in the integrity of the Declaration of National Housing Policy comprising its preface.

As the United States now stands in the spotlight of the world, leader in affirma. tion of human rights, it has never been more fitting that Congress adopt this policy declaration. In every measured phrase, it is truly a document of American statesmanship. And its stated goal-"a decent home and a suitable living environment for every American family"—is one for the attainment of which only the United States has the resources, the capacity, and the resolute determination.

In the absence of any personal appearance before the House Banking and Currency Committee, I would ask that you place this communication in the official records of the hearing on H. R. 4009. Sincerely yours,



New Boston, Tex., May 9, 1949.


Member of Congress, Washington, D. C. DEAR MR. PATMAN: I am very much interested in seeing section 502 retained in the new housing bill, H. R. 4009:

Being a country banker, it seems to me that everything should be done to develop and maintain the best method of distribution for any class of securities in which our Government has an interest.

Country bankers are called on more often by their customers to buy and sell Government, or bonds that they feel the Government is behind, similar to the proposed housing bonds than any other, the banks in which I have an interest would always like to feel that complete marketability is always maintained in these bonds, which I believe can only be accomplished if banks throughout the country participate in bidding for housing bonds. To restrict the public bidding on these bonds to private investment houses, only would restrict the ready sale of billions of dollars of securities and result in an interest charge on all this financing which would only be added cost to our taxpayers.

I think my feelings would be shared by many of my country-bank friends, were they acquainted with the facts in this proposed financing.

May I respectfully suggest, in the interest of good business, proper distribution of the new securities and maintaining a broad and active market in the bonds, that section 502 of the housing bill be retained as part of this housing bill 4009. Yours very truly,

H. H. RUSSELL, President.


Referring to our conversation of Friday, May 6, I am pleased to hand you herewith some of my thoughts relating especially to section 502 of the above bill and wish to stress the importance of retaining this section which will enable banks to participate in the purchase, sale, and distribution of securities under the housing legislation.

There seems to be a move on foot by a group of dealers in the investment business to eliminate the banks from participating in the distribution of the housing bonds for purely selfish reasons. Examination of the facts in the case I believe will readily prove this point. The unfortunate "old 1929 gag" of Main Street versus Wall Street has been brought back to life to muddy further the waters and to instill misapprehension and doubt as to the sincerity of some members of the investment fraternity.

In my opinion, and one which is shared by many other independent dealers with whom I have talked, it would be a grave mistake not to permit our banking institutions to participate in the underwriting, sale, distribution, etc., of Housing Authority bonds. As substantial proof that the New York banks, numbering five or six, are not the only banks equipped for organizing and handling underwriting projects, I submit a list of banks throughout the Nation that have bond departments with well-manned staffs. These are only a very small part of the underwriting strength of banking institutions, and this partial list is taken from the Security Dealers of North America, 1919 edition. The banks follow: First National Bank, Mobile, Ala. First National Bank, Montgomery, Ala. First National Bank, Birmingham, Ala. State National Bank, Texarkana, Ark. The Trust Co. of Georgia, Atlanta, Ga. The California Bank, Los Angeles, Calif. The International Trust Co., Denver, Colo. Harris Trust & Savings Bank, Chicago, Ill. The First National Bank of Chicago, Chicago, Ill. lowa-Des Moines National Bank, Des Moines, Iowa. Citizens Fidelity Bank & Trust Co., Louisville, Ky. Louisiana National Bank, Baton Rouge, La. Whitney National Bank of New Orleans, New Orleans, La. Northwestern National Bank of Minneapolis, Minneapolis, Minn. First National Bank, St. Paul, Minn. City National Bank & Trust Co., Kansas City, Mo. Commerce Trust Co., Kansas City, Mo. First National Bank of Dallas, Dallas, Tex. Texas Bank & Trust Co., Dallas, Tex. The Fort Worth National Bank, Fort Worth, Tex.

The foregoing list of banks only touches the surface of the distributing ability of banks dealing in municipal tax-exempt bonds and should prove conclusively that the banks in the back country and the correspondents which they represent more than offset the term “Wall Street."

With the loss of section 502 from the housing bill, the Government would suffer not only the loss of distributing capacity, underwriting capacity, and

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