NEW YORK (Mar. 2)
The Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith charged today that federal funds to the African-American Teachers’ Association were being “used to subsidize racial or religious hatred.” It asked the Department of Health, Education and Welfare to “cease the flow of government money” to the association, which is based here.
Seymour Graubard, ADL national chairman, advised HEW Secretary Elliot L. Richardson in a letter that “whatever else its purposes may be, a substantial aspect of ATA’s activity is deliberate anti-Semitism,” and public aid to it is “violative of the letter and spirit of the federal Constitution and laws and regulations under it.” Since Nov. 1967, Graubard wrote, the ATA has engaged in “anti-Jewish bigotry” on numerous occasions, including the following:
The Nov.-Dec. 1967 issue of its journal, Forum, condemned “the Jews who dominate and control the educational bureaucracy of the New York public school system,” spelling “death for the minds and souls of our Black children.” The Nov. 1968 Forum declared: “The Jew, a great liberal friend of yesterday…is now our exploiter. He keeps our women and men from becoming teachers and principals, and keeps our children ignorant…”
ATA official Tyrone Woods said on Jan. 24, 1969: “As far as I’m concerned, more power to Hitler. He didn’t make enough lamp shades out of them. He didn’t make enough belts out of them.” Brooklyn coordinator Leslie Campbell wrote in 1970 Black News: “Today despicable Jew boys are still perpetrating their crimes here in the USA and abroad. The American Jew today spends a great deal of his time financing the imperialistic war effort by Israel against the Arabs, when he is not ransacking the pockets of Black people.”
GROUP RECEIVED $258,740
Graubard asked Richardson to “take prompt action” to discontinue aid to the ATA, which has received three grants totalling $258,740 since 1969, and to “refuse any further grants which it may request.” The grants were earmarked for an “education talent search program” designed to aid Black ghetto dropouts. Syndicated columnist Jack Anderson publicized the situation last week. He noted that the aid to the ATA was channeled through the Bedford-Stuyvesant Corporation and the Beth-any Baptist Church, both in a poor, Black section of Brooklyn.
The Rev. William A. Jones, pastor of the church, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency he was unfamiliar with Forum, did not know Woods and had never visited the ATA offices. Advised of the Forum quotations cited by the ADL and Anderson, Rev. Jones said: “I certainly am adamantly opposed to any statement which bears the slightest hint of racism, whether it emanates from Blacks or whites. I have never known any of these remarks to be made at any of (ATA’s) gatherings. I take exception to this kind of verbiage.”
The pastor said the dropout program had “made sense” to him when it was proposed, but that now “I am not familiar with the program.” He said the ATA president. Albert Vann, was willing to discuss the controversy with the JTA, but Vann did not return several telephone calls. Rev. Jones is co-host of a Sunday night call-in show, “Religion on the Line,” on WMCA Radio.
The HEW official here handling the ATA funds. Dr. Charles Dennison, declined to discuss the matter in detail, saying that a statement was “about to be cleared.” He commented, however, that the charges “may or may not have a bearing on what this office might be doing.”