Clipped From The Indiana Gazette
Going Quietly POTTSTOWN, Pa. UP) — This southeastern Pennsylvania Industria^l town of 25,000 has taken its first step toward solution of a problem it thought was as far removed as a cotton field. Quietly and with almost a total lack of fanfare, the Pottstown plan was launched yesterday. The ultimate goal Is the eradication of what was described as a Northern- style Jim Crow system and an informal—but airtight— for of segregation. A year ago, the town's white residents would have laughed at the suggestion that Pottstown encouraged, or even permitted, such practices. But last summer, the Pottstown Mercury carried a series of articles by staff reporter Normand Poirier asserting that the Negro portion of Pottstown's population was the victim of a subtle dlcrimina- tion. The articles sUled that while 5 per cent of the town's residents— 1,300 persons—were Negroes, no Negro was a member of or worked for a service club, a fraternal group, a veterans' organization, the post office, fire department, borough government, school system, public utility, "white" church or retail store in Pottstown. Said Poirier, who wrote his stories as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling outlawing school segregation: "Pottstown is not different from most Northern small towns. They all think the Supreme Court decision was aimed only at the South. There are no Jim Crow laws up here. Up here he's disguised as Mister James P. Crow, Esquire." And that's. the byline Poirier used for his articles—Mister James P*. Crow, Esquire. The articles were the beginning. A committee of townspeople was formed—with , the writer as a member. Also included were two lawyers, two ministers, several Negro group leaders, an Insurance salesman, three labor leaders, the Borough Council president, four housewives, three factory workers and an educator. Gradually the Pottstown plan was formulated. Briefly, it was this: Each individual in the community, and each group from the smallest Cub Scout den to the largest labor union, is asked to come up with one project aimed at helping solve the segregation-dis crimination problem. To get the plan before the public 10,000 booklets were published— with funds contributed by its proponents. These booklets were distributed yesterday. When an individual or organization develops a project, the idea is to be taken before the committee. The workable and worthwhile ones are to be published in the Mercury so the others may benefit from them. "Pottstown didn't know how segregated it was," said Poirier. "now that it knows, we'll see what happens." . Bill Serena, trad"ed by the Cubs to the Whits Sox, was glad to remain in Chicago. He's an automobile salesman there in the off- season.