Whites' Role In Bias Fight Argued Here

Only 173 students attended the organizational meeting of the Civil Rights Coordinating Committee at Lowell Lecture Hall last night, but those who came heard some lively discussion of the white liberal's role in the effort toward racial equality.

"Most of the civil rights organizations in the country are calling for activity and involvement on the part of the whites," Larry Palmer '66, member of the Boston Action Group executive board, said.

"We are calling for inaction and background financial support from the whites. We're not after country clubs or moving into exclusive suburba. We want more Negro truck drivers. Our goals are selfish and parochial; our organizational structure is undemocratic. This is the way we want to do things, and I think this is the way we have to do them. Things had better change or, I'm afraid, something will happen."

Palmer described how depressing it was, visiting New York's garment district, to see that the only jobs Negroes could get "were as janitors, and pushing garment racks around."

"Here in Boston, we want to develop levers of power for the Negro community through selective patronage campaigns," Palmer said.


Others at the meeting did not seem to agree completely with Palmer's view of the white American simply financing the civil rights struggle. John Hartman '64 described what has happened to John W. Perdew '64, a white Harvard student facing charges punishable by death in a Georgia jail. Perdew was engaged in civil rights work for SNCC when he was arrested.

Perdew's Risk

"Through circumstances not entirely of his own making, Perdew has risked quite a lot for civil rights," Hartman said. "Some of us have not yet discovered how much we are willing to risk. It is a bare minimum that we raise the money to get Perdew out of jail. We must begin to examine, in this context, the commitment of the white liberal-radical to civil rights."

M. Daniel Richardson, assistant to the executive secretary of the NAACP, asked help "from every human being in this room. I don't care if you are white, black, or have polka dots. The NAACP desperately needs student help for voter registration. Civil rights is everybody's business, so my pitch is to every single person here."