j 4 The Moynihan Report and the Howard University Address
urnrn THE CASE FOR NATIONAL ACTION ~rnrnoo®~&ffiJTI~~wOFFICE OF POLICY PLANNING AND RESEARCH UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
\ Th• u,,red s,.,., ,, '"""""' o aow "'''' ,, ,.,. '"''"""'· d In the decade that began with the school desegregation decision of the Supreme Court, and ended with the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the demand of Negro Americans for full recognition of their civil rights was finally met. The effort, no matter how savage and brutal, of some State and local governments to thwart the exercise of those rights is doomed. The nation will not put up with it-least of all the Negroes. The present moment will pass. In the meantime, a new period is beginning. In this new period the expectations of the Negro Americans will go beyond civil rights. Being. Americans, they will now expect that in the near future equal opportunities for them as a group will produce roughly equal results, as compared with other groups. This is not going to happen, Nor will it happen for generations to come unless a new and special effort is made. There are two reasons. First, the racist virus in the American blood stream still afflicts us; Negroes wil I encounter serious personal prejudice for at least another generation. Second, three cen-turies of sometimes unimaginable mistreatment have taken their toll on the Negro people. The harsh fact is that as a group, at the present time, in terms of ability to win out in the competitions of American life, they are not equal to most of those groups with which they will be competing. Individually, Negro Americans reach the highest peaks of achievement. But collectively, in the spectrum of American ethnic and religious and regional groups, where some get plenty and some get none, where some send eighty percent of their children to college and others pul I them out of school at the 8th grade, Negroes are among the weakest. The most difficult foct for white Americans to understand is that in these terms the circumstances of the Negro American community in recent years has probably been getting worse, not better. Indices of dollars of income, standards of living, and years of education deceive. The gap between the Negro arid most other groups in American society is widening. The fundamental problem, in which this is most clearly the case, is that of family structure. The evidence-not final, but powerfully persuasive-is that the Negro family in the urban ghettos is crum-bling. A middle-class ·group has managed to save itself, but for vast numbers of the unskilled, poorly educated city working class the fabric of conventional social relationships has all but disintegrated. There are indications that the situation may have been arrested in the past few years, but the general post-war trend is unmistakable. So long as this situation persists, the cycle of poverty and disadvan-tage wil I continue to repeat itself.
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