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Chicago Council Asked to Seek State Legal Ban on Recorded Racist Telephone Messages

Two aldermen have asked the Chicago City Council to investigate means by which state laws could be used to make the Illinois Bell Telephone Co. refuse racist recorded messages after one such message was banned at the request of a United States Attorney.

The Sentinel, an English-Jewish weekly, raised the issue over a message which the weekly charged openly called for extinction of Negroes and Jews. It purportedly had been arranged by the National Socialist White People’s Party, successor to the defunct American Nazi Party of the late George Lincoln Rockwell. Donald Sharp, vice-president and general counsel of the telephone firm, told the City Council committee on utilities that “we cannot dictate or censor the contents of any message.” The recording was then banned at the request of U.S. Attorney Thomas A. Foran. Alderman Paul T. Wigoda and Ralph H. Metcalfe, in asking for the probe by the council’s committee on utilities, indicated that there should be specific legal means to bar such messages.