American Jewish Committee Issues Report on Civil Rights Progress

The civil rights gains during the past decade represent “the greatest achievement in the advancement of freedom and equality since the Emancipation Proclamation,” Irving M. Engel, president of the American Jewish Committee, said here today. He announced the publication of a ten-year survey of civil rights in the United States.

The 40-page report, published as the Committee’s annual survey of legislative, administrative, judicial and voluntary civil rights advances in the United States, will be issued on Bill of Rights Day, December 15, which this year celebrates the 166th anniversary of the Constitution’s first ten amendments. The survey marks the tenth anniversary of the Report of the President’s Committee on Civil Rights.

One of the major achievements covered in the AJC survey is the desegregation process in southern and border states, initiated as a result of the Supreme Court decision, in close to a thousand school districts and units. Although resistance continues in the Deep South, the survey said that about 350,000 Negro and 2,000,000 white children are currently in “integrated situations.”

The new Federal civil rights law, which broke an 82-year Congressional deadlock on civil rights legislation, was pointed to as “graphic evidence of the changing civil rights climate in our country over the past decade.” With regard to employment, the AJC report state that more than one-third of the U.S. population is currently covered by state or local Fair Employment Practices measures, and pointed out that there are enforceable FEP statutes in 13 states and 40 cities. In housing, nine states and many cities have outlawed segregation and discrimination in public or publicly assisted housing. Great advances were registered in public accommodations.

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