Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on June 6, 1976 · Page 61
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Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 61

Charleston, West Virginia
Issue Date:
Sunday, June 6, 1976
Page 61
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Civil Rights Champion Recalls Long Struggle By Mare Wilson LITTLE ROCK. Ark. ( A P - Nobody burns crosses in Daisy Bates' yard anymore. No one spits, shoots, curses or throws bombs at her these days, and she almost seems to regret it. "What I'm afraid of," she says, "is that what we did will be forgotten, that the children will never know what happened." Mrs. Bates. 62. and her husband live quietly now in the city her actions helped tear asunder durng the 1957 Little Rock school crisis. *· "IT WAS a lot of fun in the old days, a lot of danger, too. but really a lot of fun." she said during an interview, and pointed out memorabilia tucked away in scrapbooks. or displayed on walls and shelves in her bright brick home on Little Rock's south- side - autographed photos of Lyndon Johnson and Eleanor Roosevelt, dozens of plaques, copies of her book in English. German and Russian, and two paintings of her done during the height of the civil rights movement. The paintings show fiery eyes, a set jaw, and a very beautiful woman. ''Young blacks look at the elder blacks today and see that we're really not doing anything," she said. "The Negroes who have made it as professionals and businessmen are too afraid to lose what they have to do anything for civil rights today. "We still have racism today - very much .so. But the people who can do something about it are not concerned about the black boy on the street." She emphasizes, however, that progress has been made. "There's no comparison in Little Rock, or anyplace in the country, between 1957 and today," she says. »· THE SIGNS of change in Little Rock are easily seen. The desegregation of the school system was completed in the late Sunday Gazette-Mail Charleston, W.Va. June 0. I9T6 Page 3E '60s, Central High has a black principal, blacks and white eat together in restaurants, blacks may use any public restroom, blacks now play on the University of Arkansas football team, and more and more neighborhoods are becoming integrated. But while strides are being made in housing integration, the majority of the city's blacks live in poorer neighborhoods, including the Bateses, who bought their home in 1955. Blacks are still largely restricted to lower paying jobs, and their unemployment rate is higher than that of whites. Unemployment figures for all of Arkansas were 11.7 per cent for blacks and 5.9 per cent for whites in March, the latest official breakdown available. Her "lifelong contributions" began half a century ago in the southern Arkansas lumber mill town of Huttig when Daisy learned that three white men had kid'- naped and murdered her mother, and had gone unpunished. "I hated all whites," she said. »· HER FIRST battle against discrimination came in a school play when she refused to play the part of an angel at Christ's manger. "I don't want no part," she told her teachers, "of that play about a dead white doll." As an adult she became active in the NAACP. It was as chairman of the Arkansas NAACP that she emerged as a leader in the battle over integration of Little Rock's schools. "There are no leaders today, no cause. But there's still a need. We used to think that education was the key - that if we got black people educated that would open the door to everything else, jobs, housing and so forth. All we really did was open the door. Now we need people to walk through the door. "But without leadership, without our young people being inspired, blacks are afraid to walk through the doors of opportunity." *· MRS. BATES was one of the dramatic leaders in the drive for enforcement of the 1954 Supreme Court decision. Brown v. Board of Educaion. which ruled that separate but equal schools for blacks and whites were unconstitutional. To Dixiecrats, Brown v. Board of Education seemed cause for another War Between the States. "Southern people will not be in violation of the Constitution and the law when they defy this monstrous decision," said Sen. James O.Eastland, D-Miss. "They will be defying those who would destroy our system of government." On Sept. 2, 1957, Gov. Orval Faubus ordered the Arkansas National Guard to surround Little Rock Central High, where nine black children had been assigned by the school board as the first step of a court-ordered desegregation plan. When the nine black children, soon known as the Little Rock Nine, tried to enter Central, a guard captain said they could not pass, by order of Gov. Faubus. The Bates' home became integration headquarters because Mrs. Bates was state NAACP chairman and her husband, L.C., now 75, published a weekly newspaper for blacks. The task was to face the wrath of the Dixiecrats and the Ku Klux Klan. One night a motorcade of more than 200 cars filled with angry whites was stopped by police three blocks from the Bates home. "That's when 1 was most frightened," Mrs. Bates said. "I didn't know if the police would or could stop them. They were coming to lynch us." The Little Rock Nine f i n a l l y entered Central High on Sept. 25,1957. a day after President Eisenhower nationalized the Arkansas National Guard and sent in 1.500 Army paratroopers.But the victory was bitter. Race hatred flared. CROSSES WERE burned twice in the Bates' yard that school year. Homemade bombs were thrown at her house. Shots were fired through her windows. A boycott was started that destroyed her husband's newspaper, the "State Press." in 1959. Northern civil rights leaders raised funds so the Bateses wouldn't lose their home. Faubus pushed bills through the legislature that closed Little Rock schools for the 1958-1959 school year, and said: "If Daisy Bates would find an honest job and go to work, and if the U.S. Supreme Court would keep its cotton-picking hands off the Little Rock School Boards's affairs, we could open the Little Rock schools." Daisy spent most of her time out of town, on speaking tours with Rosa Parks and Eleanor Roosevelt. Her husband stayed home in Little Rock, serving as Arkansas field director of the NAACP. an organization which had elected her to its national board. In 1961 she moved to Greenwich Village in New York City and spent two years writing a history of the school crisis, "The Long Shadow of Little Rock." "This is a book which I hope will be read by every American," wrote Mrs. Roosevelt in the foreward. Despite that endorsement, the book sold poorly. "The White Citizens Councils had labeled me a communist and an atheist." Mrs. Bates says. "People feared to be caught reading the book." She made Washington her headquarters, working for the Democratic National Party and for antipoverty programs started under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson. But the stroke in 1965 brought her home to Arkansas. After three weeks in a hospital, she was back at work, this time as an education field director in Arkansas for the Office of Equal Opportunity. *C Active Civil Rights Participant, Daisy Bates Has Seen Life Change in Little Rock, Ark. Central High School Was the Scene of Crisis in the First Stop of a Federal Desegregation Plan. Moguls Rebutted Look at Affluent Industry "MAKING DEMOCRACY SAFE FOR ' OIL," by Christopher T. Rand. Atlantic; Little. Brown. $10. Is there a shortage of oil 0 Barry Commoner, the environmental ·' expert, recently suggested in The .Veic VorA-er that were more money and effort expended upon seeking new oil sources, reserves probably would be as copious as thev used to be. If this conscientious scholar doubts the world is abruptly running out of oil, all of us would be wise to share his uncertainty. Assuredly, none of us should pay heed to oil industry comments on the subject, especially statements from the seven Golialhs dominating the industry. During the winter of 1973-74 Christopher Rand in 'Makine /Mmirniry Siifr Fur Oil .vmind:- u= that gasoline prices shot up 25 per cent, domestic crude oil costs : doubled then iripi-d. Was the Arab embargo responsible fr-r th"se big boosts? »- .' NO, INSISTS RAND. The oil industry ' welcomed and u?od the embargo to adv- ,ince prices. There never was an oil shor- ' tage. Band further insists, and after political tensions eased ihroucli'-'U the Mideast, the oil prices previously instituted stayed . in effect. Testimony before a Senate subcommittee reveals that in 1973 Aramco. whose four parents are Mobil. Exxon. Texaco, and Standard of California (SoCalK enjoyed a profit 350 per cent higher than its profits of four years earlier, and over the exact same period the posted price oi oil rose by .almost the identical 350 per cent. Rand, a Persian scholar, formerly worked for an oi! company, His bnok is c h o c k - f u l l o, f i a s c i n a t m s i n f o r m a t i o n about the free world's most politically- powerful, affluent industry. One example shows how affluent: SoCal in oi! ranks a lowlv seventh; among all private industrial firm? in Christendom. SoCal ranks 12lh. The world's seven international oil corporations are rich in both Hemingway's and Fitzgerald's sense of the word. They have more money than anybody else and their lifestyle and attitudes are unlike anybody else's, too. They are uniquely independent of outside influences. They don't need banks and insurance companies. Indeed, the president of the American Petro. leum Institute has estimated that major oil companies generate 90 per cent of their own funds. »· THE PEERLESS SEVEN are the four aforenamed plus Gulf. British Petroleum, and Royal Dutch-Shell. Through the operations of these seven firms in the aggre- ..gate, say? Rand, flow two-thirds of the oil that moves in the world outside the Soviet block and Communist China. .. Do these companies conspire to set , prices? Who knows? Their internal operations and external agrqlbents. tradeoffs, and · dealings are sufficiently secret and com- plicated that it is virtually impossible for the public or for governments to learn of their affairs. Rand says that in each of the seven Cyclops no more than a few dozen executives, carefully groomed and trained over the years, control the company's worldwide activities or understand them. "The reason," contends Rand, "for the exclusivity and impregnability of this seven-cornered fortress--one could almost call it a Heptagon--is simple; it lies in two attributes. First, the major company has access to large volumes of crude oil for which it pays cost, or very close to it--in either case a privileged price not available to outsiders. Second, the company moves this low-cost crude oil through its own operations as much as possible, down to the final point of sale (on a lucrative, stable market, of course); at all intermediate points of sale and transfer along the way, it strives to sell its own wares to itself, at as high a profit as possible where taxes are low, and as high a loss as possible at those points where taxes are high. And it does all it can to control output and suppress surplus--in order to keep prices high all down the line." A Rand footnote. Page 257, puts the lie to one frequent oil company claim, repeatedly made during the 1973 oil crisis, to wit: it takes a minimum of three years to put a new discovery on stream. Occidental--not one of the big companies--in less than a year discovered oil and got it to market. ^ AT PRESENT, oil executives are holding meetings--a luncheon in Charleston at Edgewood Country' Club. Thursday. June 3. was sponsored by the Kanawha Valley Bank but paid for by Exxon and Shell--and running hither and yon across the length and breadth of the United States imploring leaders of industry, heads of small businesses, merchants, mayors, county officials, other opinion leaders, in short, practically anybody who will listen to their tale of woe, to write their representative in Washington and urge him to work against the oil divestiture bill which just may pop out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on June 15. What Rand's opinion is of this legislation isn't revealed in his book, published more than a year ago. But since Rand believes that if governments of those countries in which exist most of the world's known reserves were to appropriate and to nationalize those reserves, the world would be as well served as it has been by the seven companies now ruling the industry, it's not likely he would object to legislation that requires oil companies to choose one line of business: exploration, refining, transportation, or retail. In fact, before people write their representative in disapproval of divestiture, perhaps they should investigate Rand's book.' : 'rteading it could influence a letter to Congress, but an entirely different let- ter from the one big oils' moguls are advocating. W. E. Chilton HI, Gazette Publisher IN 1966, residents of the all-black town of Mitchellville in southeastern Arkansas approached the Bateses about starting an NAACP chapter in Mitchellville. Most of the 620 townsfolk had been sharecroppers who lost their farms when mechanization made larger farms more profitable to white landowners. The town had no indoor running water, no sewers, no paved streets. There were few jobs, and little schooling was available. Townsfolk lived in shacks. "The people didn't know anything but farming," Mrs. Bates said. "The town was just mud and despair." The people were worse off than they were under slavery." added her husband. "At least under slavery they were needed." So, in 1968, Mrs. Bates packed her brigs once again and moved into the shantytown called Mitchellville, 25 miles from the Mississippi River. IN THE next three years, Mrs. Bales ul- tained more than $i m i l l i o n in federal f u n d s for M i t c h e l l v i l l e . During the six years she lived in a trailer home in Mitche l l v i l l e . the total c l i m b e d lo nearly $2 million. The landmarks of progress include the completion of a water system in 1970, the installation of a sewer system in 1971, the paving of Main Street in 1972. Mrs Bates talked New York Mayor Johm Lindsay into selling Mitchellville a fire truck for $1. She started a credit union t h a i nearly every Mitchellville family joined. "Pride and dignity." Mrs. Bates said, "is something a Int. of whites never wanted us lo have. A lot of blacks didn't think they were equal, either. "We showed we could change that in '57 ;md in Mitchellvilk'. Bui. really all we've done is open a few doors. Now we've pot lo get some people to go through the doors." FlorsheimTompliments Your Good Taste Here is an outstanding array of some of the smartest styles from Florsheim. Left: the famous Sultan boot, fully leather-lined with side zip, in luxurious gold kidskin with hand- stained antiqued finish, 48.95. Center: Slip-on moccasin with handsome tassel treatment, fully leather-lined, in glossy gold Cavello kid, 46.95. Right: The Nova moccasin of Imperial quality with handsewn front and bold ornamentation. Fully leather lined, in antiqued gold kidskin, 49.95. Sizes 13 and 14 add S3.00. Men's Shoes, First Floor. f Ml ffffirfriff 01 **' ^ p"rcteie,ot C lo, tbmer'gf Viry ftjo gPjjjffSJfcSjfrgj;}*,

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