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Guide to the American Race Crisis Lecture Series audio recordings, 1964

Collection Overview

Repository

New School Collections

Collection Identifier

NS.07.02.04

Creator - Speaker

Abrams, Charles, 1902-1970

Creator - Moderator

Anthony, Daniel S.

Creator - Speaker

Black, Algernon D., (Algernon David), 1900-1993

Creator - Speaker

Dodson, Dan W.

Creator - Speaker

Galamison, Milton A., (Milton Arthur), 1923-1988

Creator - Speaker

King, Martin Luther, Jr., 1929-1968

Creator - Speaker

Lomax, Louis E., 1922-1970

Creator - Speaker

Monserrat, Joseph, -2005

Creator

New School for Social Research (New York, N.Y. : 1919-1997).

Creator - Speaker

Tumin, Melvin M., (Melvin Marvin), 1919-1994

Creator - Speaker

Weaver, Robert C., (Robert Clifton), 1907-1997

Creator - Speaker

Wilkins, Roy, 1901-1981

Title

American Race Crisis Lecture Series audio recordings

Extent

1.1 linear ft: 10 reels

Language of Materials note

All recordings and associated transcripts are in English.

Preferred Citation note

[title of lecture], [date], American Race Crisis Lecture Series, NS.07.02.04, The New School Archives and Special Collections, The New School, New York, NY.

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Historical Note

On September 1, 1963, at the height of the American civil rights movement, Daniel S. Anthony, a psychologist and instructor at the New School, sent a letter to William Birenbaum, dean of the New School for Social Research:

"I was somewhat shocked to find so few courses in the 1963 Bulletin relating directly to the current Negro Revolt taking place in America. In the hope that this omission might be corrected by the Spring semester, I am suggesting herewith what I feel could be a very exciting offering."

Anthony (born 1912), who was soon given the go-ahead to organize and moderate the American Race Crisis lecture series, had a background in addressing issues of racial discrimination and prejudice. He was a Ford Foundation fellow at the Urban Studies Center at Rutgers University and had served as executive director of the Mayor's Commission on Group Relations (later renamed the Newark Human Rights Commission) in Newark, New Jersey.

In February, 1964, Anthony’s challenge to Birenbaum was realized. The American Race Crisis, a fifteen-week course of lectures open to the public brought the nation’s leading civil rights leaders to the New School.

In the year following the series, great strides were made toward publishing the lectures in book form. For reasons not yet fully understood, the book was never published.

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Scope and Content of Collection

The audio recordings and transcripts in this collection document lectures from a fifteen-week series on the race crisis in the United States, held in the spring of 1964 at the New School, organized by New School professor Daniel S. Anthony. The speakers in the recordings include Charles Abrams, Algernon D. Black, Dan W. Dodson, Milton A. Galamison, Martin Luther King, Jr., Louis Lomax, Joseph Monserrat, Melvin Tumin, Robert C. Weaver, and Roy Wilkins. Open to the general public, the lectures were held in the auditorium of the school's flagship building at 66 West 12th Street in Greenwich Village.

Topics discussed range from the impact of school integration, housing discrimination, affirmative action, the growing Black separatist movement, and motivations for racial prejudice. Dr. King opened the conference, and the recording of his talk consists only of the question and answer session following his address.

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Organization and Arrangement

Organized chronologically according to date of recording.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

New School Collections - May 18, 2017

66 Fifth Avenue
lobby
New York, NY, 10011
212.229.5942
archivist@newschool.edu

Preferred Citation note

[title of lecture], [date], American Race Crisis Lecture Series, NS.07.02.04, The New School Archives and Special Collections, The New School, New York, NY.

Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research use. Researchers must use digital access copies. Access to audio reels is restricted for reasons of preservation.

Use Restrictions

To publish all or part of any recording or transcription from this collection, permission must be obtained in writing from the New School Archives and Special Collections. Please contact: archivist@newschool.edu.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The reels were transferred from the Raymond Fogelman Library following the establishment of the New School Archives. The digital file for Martin Luther King, Jr.'s speech was shared by the Amherst College Archives & Special Collections in 2016.

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Related Materials

Administrative files documenting the organization and promotion of the lecture series, as well as the book project launched afterwards, will be found in the New School Adult Division Dean's Office records (NS.02.01.01) and the New School Publicity Office records (NS.03.01.05). The papers of the series organizer, Daniel Sutherland Anthony, will be found at the Charles F. Cummings New Jersey Information Center, Newark Public Library. The original reel-to-reel recording of Martin Luther King, Jr's speech is in the collection of the Amherst College Archives & Special Collections.

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Keywords for Searching Related Subjects

Subject(s)

  • Civil rights
  • Civil rights movement
  • Discrimination in education
  • Discrimination in housing
  • Race relations
  • Racism
  • Segregation

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Other Finding Aids note

For item-level description and sound files from the American Race Crisis Lecture Series Audio Recordings, see The New School Archives Digital Collections at http://digitalarchives.library.newschool.edu/index.php/Detail/collections/NS070204.

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Collection Inventory

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The Summer of Our Discontent by Martin Luther King, Jr. with Question and Answer Session 1964 Feb 6 

This speech was delivered by Martin Luther King, Jr. at The New School on February 6, 1964. It was the opening address of the American Race Crisis lecture series.

In his lecture, Dr. King, Jr. addresses the question, "Why did things happen in the civil rights movement as they happened in '63?" He identifies a range of causes for the start of what he calls "America's second revolution--the Negro revolution," including the slow pace of school desegregation, broken campaign promises of the Kennedy administration and others, superficial changes to the status of black Americans who nevertheless remained excluded from rising national wealth, the hypocrisy of cold war rhetoric calling for the defense of liberty, the inspiration of decolonization in Africa and Asia since World War II, and the centennial of the Emancipation Proclamation, underscoring the lack of significant progress in one hundred years. He draws attention to not only the social but also the economic ramifications of racial discrimination. Dr. King considers that the latter issue has been overlooked by "white Americans of good will" who have "never connected bigotry with economic exploitation."

Outlining the shortcomings of previous attempts at racial justice, such as the defeatist acceptance of Booker T. Washington following Reconstruction, the elitist focus of W.E.B DuBois on the "talented tenth" at the turn of the twentieth century, and the impractical African return movement of Marcus Garvey, Dr. King traces the turn to federal courts as a vehicle for change. After the successes of legal victories gave way to disappointment when they failed to be implemented, he describes the recourse to nonviolent action beginning in 1955 as "the way to supplement, not replace, the progress of change through legal recourse."

Dr. King calls on the "white community and the political power structure of our nation" to provide a fitting response to the challenge posed by the large scale nonviolent actions of 1963, starting with passage of the Civil Rights Bill. He ends with a resolution to remain "maladjusted" and entreats others to similarly refuse to adjust to discrimination, religious bigotry, militarism, and violence.

The text of this speech was used as the basis for the first section of Why We Can't Wait, published by King later in the year.

In the second audio file, Dr. King responds to questions from the audience following his opening address. Here he comments on the then-pending Civil Rights Act of 1964, as well as Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Baines Johnson’s commitment to civil rights. Dr. King also comments on the Black Muslim movement, as well as the recent trajectory and projected future of the civil rights movement. He describes and explains the perceived “lull” in civil rights activism following his “I Have A Dream” speech and the August 28, 1963, march on Washington as being one of reassessment and “introspection.” Dr. King emphasizes the need for policies that remedy the United States’ history of slavery and systemic racism. He responds to concerns about reverse racism that arise in reaction to the proposed policies, and likens reparations to existing programs for veterans. Dr. King compares the United States's treatment of African Americans to India’s caste system.

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The Puerto Ricans: An Integrated Community Faces a Segregated Society by Joseph Monserrat 1964 Feb 13 

Joseph Monserrat discusses the Puerto Rican experience as a colony and as principality; he also emphasizes the Puerto Rican community’s integrated nature. Monserrat explains that segregation has never been legally sanctioned in Puerto Rican society, and relates it to contemporary difficulties faced by the Puerto Rican community in segregated American society. Monserrat relates this struggle to the American race crisis, which he calls an American race revolution, and to struggles in the global South and among persons of color worldwide, which he calls “the Color Revolution.” Monserrat gives a historical perspective on the role of colonialism and slavery in the evolution of contemporary Puerto Rican society. He also gives an overview of the processes of immigration and assimilation. Monserrat references Martin Luther King, Jr., repeatedly. During the question and answer portion of the lecture, Monserrat responds to questions on Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., the desegregation of and proposed second boycott of New York City public schools.

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How Realistic Is the Goal of Desegregated Education in the North? by Dan W. Dodson 1964 Feb 20 

Dan W. Dodson is introduced; he was, at the time, professor of sociology at New York University and director of the NYU Center for Human Relations Studies. Dodson describes his work community organizing for housing reform and against segregation (both legislated and de facto). He specifically discusses a number of court cases, including Brown v. Board of Education, Bulah v. Gebhart, and Plessy v. Ferguson. He also expresses the view that obstructions to desegregation are in fact obstructions to requests for additional funds; Dodson argues that at least $200 million is required to restore schools’ quality to 1940 levels. Dodson also emphasizes the many outcomes of segregation — whether ipso facto or de facto — from psychological trauma on enrolled children to its impact on teachers. He details the impact of the Great Migration and white flight on urban school districts, specifically New York, Pittsburgh, Newark, and Chicago. He also discusses the infrastructural challenges faced by New York City public schools, and mentions several measures taken to assist and intervene with at-risk youth. During the question and answer period, Dodson, one of the few speakers in the lecture series who is not a person of color, answers a number of questions about identity, integration, and a potential second boycott of public schools.

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Current Federal Housing Problems and Other Urban Development Problems by Robert C. Weaver 1964 Feb 27 

Robert C. Weaver discusses his work as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. He gives historical context to the impact of the Great Migration, beginning in 1910, and population shifts in northern urban centers. Weaver describes the prevalence of female-headed households in urban African-American households, and emphasizes the importance of a living wage as a pathway to financial stability. Weaver discusses class stratification within the African-American demographic, specifically as it relates to home ownership and mortgage financing (e.g., redlining); he also describes New York’s fair housing legislation and its mechanisms for the enforcement thereof. He mentions the writings of Eli Ginzburg and E. Franklin Frazier. He also describes the living conditions and general climate faced by Puerto Ricans and Mexican-Americans. During the question and answer period, Weaver emphasizes that poverty and socio-economic inequality is an issue that is not specific to race, and discusses white flight, federally-subsidized housing, and housing quotas in urban areas.

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The Urban Dilemma by Milton A. Galamison 1964 Mar 5 

Milton A. Galamison emphasizes a need for a philosophical underpinning for advocacy and activism surrounding education reform, specifically as it pertains to desegregation and integration. He discusses the recently discredited (and legally overturned) “separate but equal” philosophy, and the long-term damages and traumas affected and exacerbated by segregation. Galamison is careful to note the relationship between segregated education and issues of fair housing, disparities in hiring and wages, and socio-economic inequality. He argues for a schedule and timeline for desegregation. He discusses the current pedagogy among activists and educators, which he describes as a kind of “if-ism,” that shifts responsibility for educational outcomes to situations and actors outside educators’ control. He also describes efforts to improve educational outcomes in segregated schools. During the question and answer period, Galamison responds to questions about 1962 U.S. Senate candidate and New York City Council member James B. Donovan, the Princeton Plan, the New York City public schools boycott, the Black Islam movement and Malcolm X, the fiscal cost of integration, and the psychological trauma of segregation.

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Facts and Fictions in Human Relations by Melvin M. Tumin 1964 Mar 19 

Melvin Tumin discusses desegregation, including, specifically, the Princeton Plan, and general resistance to social change and manifestations of racism among a variety of social groups. Tumin describes his experiences on campus at Princeton University, where he was a professor; in particular he discusses the formation of a group on Princeton’s campus called Students for Segregation, as well as work by segregationist and Princeton University alumnus Carleton Putnam. Tumin details his work with the Anti-Defamation League, and discusses race as social construct and a recent report by UNESCO scientists that discredits genetic pretenses for racist assumptions. Tumin also describes the impact of the Cold War on education policy, and addresses concerns regarding infrastructure in public schools. During the question and answer period, Tumin responds to queries on issues of desegregation (specifically as it pertains to public schools in the New York City borough of Queens), and Malcolm X.

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Unsettled Issues in the Cities by Charles Abrams 1964 Mar 26 

Charles Abrams describes cities as “this century’s frontier,” and the “the surviving outpost of the deprived.” Abrams offers a global perspective on urban poverty, describing conditions in Manila, Ankara, and Hong Kong, as well the United States. He discusses the impact of the Great Migration on U.S. cities, as well as white flight. Abrams emphasizes the relationship between racism, income inequality, and urban housing challenges. He also details the impact of redlining, restrictive covenants, and credit rationing, and the relationship between such initiatives and zoning regulations. From 1935 and 1950, Abrams states, Federal Housing Authority programs engaged in a number of exclusionary policies and practices that perpetuated a systemic racism and exacerbated urban housing conditions. Abrams also details the practice of dismantling African-American communities under the guise of “urban renewal.” Abrams argues against such practices and policies, and speaks in favor of integrated housing and anti-discrimination laws. During the question and answer period, Abrams comments on rent strikes in New York City, efforts to repeal fair housing legislation in California, labor unions, and measures to ease income inequality.

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An Examination of the Techniques in Action: What the Individual Can Do by Algernon D. Black 1964 Apr 2 

Algernon Black prefaces his lecture with the intent that it be casual and informal. Black discusses race as a social construct. He mentions Franz Boas’s The Mind of Primitive Man, and discusses patterns of immigration, and emphasizes African-Americans as an exception to the pattern of assimilation, drawing the connection between ghettoization of African-Americans and the fact that the vast majority were forcibly emigrated to the United States through the transatlantic slave trade. Black details the impact of segregation, Jim Crow laws, and the Ku Klux Klan; he delineates between racist attitudes and beliefs, and relates these to social conditioning. Black discusses his work with the City-wide Citizens’ Committee on Harlem, the NAACP, the Urban League, and with grassroots civil rights organizations in the South, the potential impact of the not-yet-passed Civil Rights Act, and the need for improved education for young African-Americans. Black also details the disparity in housing conditions and public health outcomes for African-Americans in New York City, and a “threefold philosophy of action”: research, mobilization, and legislation. There is a question and answer session that follows, in which Black discusses desegregation efforts in New York City public schools as well as protests planned for the upcoming World’s Fair.

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The Negro Revolt as Part of the International Non-White Uprising by Louis E. Lomax 1964 Apr 9 

Louis E. Lomax opens with a description and examples of “ignorance in high places”: systemic and inculcated racism in the federal government that has negatively impacted foreign and domestic policy. He describes the very high stakes faced by organizers and advocates for civil rights. He discusses numerous contemporary political figures, including Nikita Khrushchev, Malcolm X, Governor George Wallace, President Harry S. Truman, Fidel Castro, Mao Tse-Tung, Kemala Nehru, Jomo Kenyatta, Martin Luther King, and Lyndon Johnson. He relates American racism to the Cold War and U.S. imperialism, as well as ongoing decolonization efforts in Africa and elsewhere, and his book, The Reluctant African. Lomax discusses the ongoing impacts of segregation and exclusionary and racist policies, specifically in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, and Cleveland, Ohio, as well as more broadly, as it relates to perpetuating existing power structures. Lomax ends by urging the audience to join him “on the picket line.”

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Untitled Speech by Roy Wilkins 1964 May 14 

Roy Wilkins begins by thanking the audience for attending an hour earlier than usual. He explains that as a leader within the NAACP, he must attend to its upcoming Freedom Spectacular, to benefit the NAACP’s voter registration work in the South. He also details the amount of cash bond monies that the NAACP has dispensed in support of such work, and announces that Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton will be attending the Spectacular. He discusses the Supreme Court cases of Brown v. Board of Education as well as Plessy v. Ferguson; he also details a number of specific ongoing actions in which the NAACP is involved: fair housing legislation in California, voting rights advocacy in the South, work to ensure fair funding of public schools in Boston’s African-American community, and the Civil Rights Act. During the question and answer portion, there is discussion of the Supreme Court’s phrase from Brown v. Board, “with all deliberate speed,” the proposed integration of New York City schools, an upcoming demonstration at New York’s City Hall, and socialist theory as applied to civil rights advocacy.

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Collection Guide Last Updated: 05/18/2017

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