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if in Alabama a group of Negroes want to form a cooperative, they are permitted to do so. In New York City, or any other city or State where they do not have segregation and mixed occupancy is allowed, a mixed group could apply. There is nothing to prevent them from doing that.
We don't try to say to the States that they must have segregation or must not. The Supreme Court has repeatedly said it was up to the States to decide that question for themselves.
Mr. BROWN. What decision of the Supreme Court? You don't know of any decision that has upheld segregation. I would like to be informed. There is a case now up for the first time to clear up
all this cloudy thinking.
Why did the President issue orders to stop segregation in the Army, if there is any thought that the President interprets the Constitution or the laws of Congress to mean, as you indicate, and all these Naziminded people indicate, that there must be segregation, under the Supreme Court in the United States democracy?
The Supreme Court has not handed down such decisions. I would like to have you or anyone else cite any such decisions. It has more than once outlawed the so-called “white primary,” once the refuge of the States, et cetera.
Senator SPARKMAN. They have in many instances held that there it was a matter for determination of the State.
Mr. Brown. Only yesterday by Executive order of the Federal defense and the decree of the President's segregation and discrimination one and the same thing have been abolished in the armed services. It has likewise been abolished in the State militia of New Jersey, Connecticut, Minnesota and other States. The States cannot pass a law to change the Federal laws. They are
not sovereign to themselves. The Federal Government is all powerful under the Constitution we wouldn't be enacting Federal housing legislation, if the States were supreme.
Senator SPARKMAN. Not over a constitutional Federal activity.
Mr. Brown. You in the South have taken it in your hands the way Hitler and Stalin have done, and have decided this is the way of life. We don't think that you can make a statement that goes outside of the Constitution that changes any Federal statute.
Senator SPARKMAN. We are glad to have your statement for the record. You may make any statement you wish, but so far as my making a statement is concerned, that is guaranteed under the Constitution, too, and I can make such statements as I wish.
Mr. Brown. Certainly, you can and do make them, but we are not going to agree with you, that your predilections are the law. You are
, still able to discriminate and segregate Negroes in Alabama and get away with it. I hope it will not be for long there or anywhere else in our beloved country.
Senator SPARKMAN. In enacting legislation, I want a law that will work; and a law that will give housing where it is needed. I want a law that will allow the Negroes to enjoy the housing program.
I know that if the provisions you recommend were to be written into the law, there would be no housing built in many parts of this country. I believe that you know, too, from a practical standpoint, that what I say is true.
Mr. Brown. We think it is better not to have illegal housing and set it up on an un-Christian and unholy white supremacy basis such as the Dixiecrats insist on.
Senator SPARKMAN. We are glad to have your views. You may submit your statement.
Mr. Brown. Senator Sparkman, you and I and others ought to uphold the laws of this country. Persons, no matter how highly placed, should not take advantage of one-tenth of the population on account of its race and color. You discriminate against them and segregate them, even though you take an oath to uphold the Constitution. You continue to try to pass housing laws and recommend administrative procedure to discriminate and segregate even though the Supreme Court holds it unconstitutional. The Court ruled restrictive covenants cannot be enforced in court. The highest tribunal of the land outlawed such discriminatory practices by private agreements of American home owners. How can the Government set up these ghettoes and segregated housing programs with Federal funds ? More than 15,000,000 Negroes are taxpayers too. Does anyone think that is either fair or right?
Senator SPARKMAN. Now, let me make just this very brief statement. I will have to adjourn the committee because the Senate is in session and it is time to vote. I have never failed to let you come before any committee of which I was chairman to testify.
Mr. BROWN. That is true.
Senator SPARKMAN. I have always tried to be fair and courteous. I will invite you, any time I am presiding, to come in and state your views with reference to legislation. But I don't believe it is any place to be used as a sounding board for set arguments or to direct your criticism to me personally or to the section of the country from which I come.
I will stand up at all times and defend my section of the country, and defend its traditions. Furthermore, I will defend legislation that is designed, from a practical standpoint, to do the thing that we want done, that is, to get the most housing that we possibly can in this country; not for the benefit of just the white people, not for the benefit of just the Negroes, but for the benefit of all of our people, in all parts of the country. That is what I am working for. That is what I will continue to advocate.
We are glad to have had you appear before us. We are glad to have your statement. I just ask, in all courtesy and respect, that you restrict your statements to such as may be pertinent to the pending legislation.
Mr. Brown. Do you not think that it is pertinent to ask of this Senate committee that there be equality of citizenship, as provided by the Constitution in which Thomas Jefferson declared "all men are created equal” not to be segregated in Federal housing or other benefits of first-class citizenship.
Senator SPARKMAN. I have invited you to make your suggestions, but you turned aside from that.
Mr. BROWN. I appreciate your views, even though my argument doesn't seem to meet your particular position. You are just intolerant of constitutional equality. Nothing, in my judgment, that I have said is not pertinent to what is pending here, legislation involving $2,000,000,000 of Federal guaranteed housing loans.
The Negroes fight for democracy, too!
Senator SPARKMAN. We are glad to have had you before us. Thank you.
Mr. Brown. I appreciate the courtesy. I still would like to try to get you to live up to the Constitution, regardless of your personal feeling. This is not a social matter. You are paid and sworn as a Senator to live up to the Constitution.
Senator SPARKMAN. I am living up to the Constitution. (The prepared statement of Mr. Brown follows:)
STATEMENT OF EDGAR G. BROWN, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL NEGRO COUNCIL Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, on behalf of the organization which I represent, we wish to indicate our general approval of this legislation to complement the earlier Federal housing measures approved by the Congress.
There is no question of the imperative demand for more housing in the minds of those of us who have visited the depressing slum areas where millions of American people, regardless of race or class, from coast to coast, are still forced to reside in dangerously vermin-infested ghettoes and other unbelievably vile conditions of living, while the Congress continues its appropriations of billions to sustain the Nation's foreign commitments.
The worse threat of destructive socialism and communism is patently festering in such habitations of human beings here at home, in my judgment.
These criminal and unsocial conditions, resulting from deplorable housing facilities right in the shadow of the Capitol and downtown business districts here as elsewhere, keep the department's uniform and plain clothesmen busy riding and radioing calls for more police to track down robbers, muggers, and petty thieves day after day and night after night as the Congressmen probing crime conditions in Washington after a tour with some of these squad cars a few nights ago can testify.
There is no question that crime and bad housing is an incalculably staggering drain on the taxpayers. A real contribution might best be achieved in cutting down on deficit spending by a prompt enactment of adequate legislation to really meet the entire demands of housing for all American citizens once and for all.
Let me submit, too, that the record should be cleared of all these subterfuges resorted to in an effort to cheat the most distressed persons of the population from the intended benefits of all Federal housing legislation.
First, it was the PWA, then the FHA, and finally public housing. Each in its turn has had Federal administrators and others attempting to solve the housing problem on the basis of race and color. The Constitution of the United States and the statutes give no such authority to segregate and discriminate against American citizens by construction of homes and housing units for different racial groups.
Again, in this legislation, the National Negro Council is insisting on the inclusion of definite and specific language prohibiting racial segregation and discrimination in any and all benefits of this proposed cooperative housing and direct financial assistance under such Federal organizations as may be authorized in this measure.
Further, for the record, we would like to again emphasize what should be generally understood and recognized in 1950, exactly 87 years after President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation and the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth amendments were adopted to the Constitution of the United States forever prohibiting racial discrimination against any American citizen on account of race, creed, color, or previous condition.
No Federal administrator should be encouraged to believe he is not violating the letter and spirit of the housing laws because certain Members of Congress alined with the rebel Dixiecrat philosophy which precipitated World War II and ushered in the atomic age take it upon themselves to issue public protests against all Americans being treated as equals in this housing legislation. The fact that Congress in 1949 or 1950 avoids specifically outlawing racial discrimination and segregation by providing severe penalties for such bureaucratic dictum should not protect these individuals from proper censure and judgment.
In view, therefore, of the action of the President and the FHA in conforming with the Supreme Court decision outlawing restrictive covenants from legal enforcement, the Congress should likewise move abreast of the times.
We would like for the official record to show our sincere commendation of the forthright effort to insert such specific language into the public housing last year by the distinguished member of this committee, the junior Senator from Ohio. It has gone far in enlightening those officials too blind and intransigent in their prejudices to abide by the Constitution and the Federal statutes which have long outlawed racial and class discrimination in the United States.
Senator SPARKMAN. The committee stands recessed until 10 o'clock tomorrow morning.
(Whereupon, at 1 p. m., the hearing in the above-entitled matter was recessed to 10 a. m. of the following day.)