Boston area anti-discrimination groups are shifting their attention from the southern problem of lunch counter integration to northern problems of discrimination on college campuses and in housing. Spokesmen for the groups have attributed the shift in activities in part to the achievement of integrated lunch counters in sections of the South.
The southern successes were highlighted last week by an announcement by four variety chain stores of the successful integration of lunch counters in 112 southern cities. These successes have lessened the enthusiasm of northern students for continued picketing and "deflected their interests into area where there has been less progress." Harvey Pressman 3G, chairman of the Emergency Public Integration Committee (EPIC), commented last night.
EPIC, which last year co-ordinated picketing activities in the Boston area, has this year recommended picketing as only one of a series of alternatives for action by its member organizations. The EPIC group at BU has thus far concentrated on a successful battle to end discrimination in fraternities and sororities, while the Brandels organization is working on housing discrimination.
Harvard's Lunch Counter Integration Committee, currently engaged in merger discussions with the Harvard-Radcliffe Liberal Union and the Society for Minority Rights, has so far not made plans for the year.
The announcement by the four store chains attributed the progress in lunch counter integration to the "understanding co-operation of local civic leaders" and to the "great social change occurring in the United States which has been dramatized by the student sit-in movement."
The stores said they devoted "specific attention to negotiations with student leaders representing northern and southern students alike."