NEW YORK (Jan. 9)
A Negro civil rights leader warned yesterday that “nothing could be more damaging to the cause” of school decentralization than the anti-Semitic accusations recently made by Negro advocates of that cause. Whitney M. Young Jr., executive director of the National Urban League, one of the staunchest supporters of decentralization and community control of New York City’s public school system, said that “religious prejudice has no place among people who have been the victims of racial prejudice…Nothing could confuse the issue more than malicious baiting of teachers or others because of race or religion.”
Mr. Young’s statement, made on behalf of the Urban League’s national board of trustees, was understood to have been prompted by two recent Negro attacks against Jewish teachers and the largely Jewish United Federation of Teachers. One was an editorial in the Afro-American Teachers Forum, a magazine, which asked. “How long shall the black and Puerto Rican communities of New York City sit back and allow the Jewish dominated United Federation of Teachers to destroy our every effort to rescue our children from those incompetent teachers whose only goal–aside from receiving fat pay checks–is stifling our children’s intellectual growth?”
The other anti-Jewish attack was made at a Board of Education hearing on school decentralization last Friday by William O. Marley, a member of the Brownsville Model Cities Committee, who charged that “control by this group has been detrimental to black and Puerto Rican children” and responsible for the relatively small number of Negro teachers and administrators in the school system. Mr. Marley did not identify the group but his reference was considered obviously to be to Jewish teachers.
Mr. Young declared that the case for school decentralization was strong enough to stand on its own merits without the injection of irrelevant issues and warned that. “There are racist elements in our society who would dearly love to see Negroes and Jews–New York City’s two largest ethnic groups–at each other’s throats because this infighting weakens the capacity of both groups to fight the true racists of our society.”