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Young Jews, Negroes in Sharp Exchange During Rights Program

Sharp, frequently acrimonious exchanges broke out at the B’nai B’rith Youth Organization encampment here between Jewish and Negro teenagers during an overnight human rights program arranged by the BBYO and several Negro civil rights and youth organizations. The occasion was the visit to the encampment of 34 Negro boys and girls representing the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Congress of Racial Equality, the Black Power Militant Union and the YMCA Association of the Philadelphia-Camden area. According to Jerry Diggs, an official of the Camden, N.J. branch of the NAACP, the confrontation produced ‘a measure of mutual understanding and at least a few (non-physical) scars.”

The problem under discussion was urban violence and the Jewish young people, many of them the sons and daughters of merchants whose businesses had been damaged or destroyed in recent ghetto riots, sharply attacked black “anti-social behavior.” The colored youth responded in kind. But a consensus report later drawn up by six white and six Negro participants agreed that the root cause of urban riots was injustice and discrimination practiced against black people by white society as a whole. Urban violence will end when poverty and anti-Negro oppression are ended, the report said. It also suggested that whites who sincerely want to help black people do so anonymously because Negroes are resentful of the “great white father” role assumed by some of their benefactors.

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