Members of the Congress On Racial Equality (CORE) and student volunteers today will stage a nation-wide protest against the Howard Johnson restaurant chain for its refusal to negotiate the desegregation of restaurants in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Alabama.
The Boston chapter of CORE and local college students will demonstrate at the Howard Johnson's on Commonwealth Ave. and at the chain's national office in Wollaston. Alan Gartner, Boston CORE chairman, last night estimated more than 100 students would join the protest.
CORE at the beginning of the summer initiated a Freedom Highways project to desegregate public facilities, especially eating places, serving highways in the south. When Howard Johnson restaurants in North Carolina failed to yield under pressure CORE called a conference on the issue with North Carolina Governor Terry Sanford.
Sanford Appointed Committee
Sanford appointed a citizens' committee which, after examining the situation, recommended that the governor request immediate desegregation of all eating places in the state. Sanford, a known moderate on racial issues, followed the recommendation and asked for desegregation.
The Howard Johnson outlets, both those owned privately and by the national office, refused to comply.
CORE representatives met with Gov. Sanford and Howard Johnson officials early in September but could not get the restaurant managers to enter into negotiations "or even consider the possibility of desegregation," Gartner said.
Today's nation-wide protest is a result of the failure of that conference to reach any sort of agreement with Howard Johnson's, Gartner declared.
Incidents Spurred Campaign
CORE Freedom Highways project is an expansion of the campaign organized last year to desegregate eating facilities along Route 40, which stretches between Baltimore and Washington. That campaign, which attracted many participants from the University community, was spurred by several incidents of discrimination involving African diplomats.
The Freedom Highways project, according to Gartner, is aimed at making travel anywhere in the country "free from degradation for all people."
"Few people realize how difficult it is for a Negro to travel by car through the South," Gartner stated. He noted that the present project is allied with CORE's well-known Freedom Rider campaign to desegregate bus terminal facilities in Mississippi and Alabama.
CORE's principal activity in the Boston area last year centered around the problem of job discrimination. CORE members regularly picketed the Trailway Bus Company in Boston for alleged discriminatory hiring practices.
CORE is continuing to investigate evidence of discrimination in job opportunities, Gartner noted.