vance of the coalition’s major mid-July meeting in Dallas, Dave Shapiro, who has been associated with various liberal political campaigns and with Senator Ralph Yarborough, actively criticized the coalition to some of its actual or prospective participants, contending that it is in reality labor-dominated and could not be trusted to hold out should Vice-President Lyndon Johnson bring pressure to bear on it on behalf of Connally’s renomination through the vice-president’s :well-known access to the heads of various international unions. And indeed, when the Observer has asked liberal figures in Texas labor what would happen if this pressure was applied next year, as it was before most notably in 1960, they have responded that they don’t know. Shapiro’s activities may have intensified a certain wariness among independent liberals in the coalition; as an immediate matter, its main result was a letter written by Mrs. Virginia Ragsdale. of McKinney, made public among liberals by the circulation of a number of copies, in which Mrs. Ragsdale, a staunch liberal, declined to attend the coalition meeting on grounds that it is labor-dominated and vulnerable to pressure from Johnson. About 300 veteran Democrats and liberals turned up for the mid-July meeting. Members of the Negro minority were well represented, as they have not been at equivalent conferences in recent years. Latin-Americans were there from the Valley and El Paso; Negroes and white liberals from east Texas; and liberals of various kinds from the major cities and west Texas. The four-way division of leadership was symbolized at the front table during the main session: Pena presiding; on his right, Brown, Durham, Brooks, and Ball; on his left, Goodwyn, Dixie, and Fuentes. The night before, the Negro members of the coalition held a private caucus, addressed by Goodwyn and by Randolph Blackwell, field director for the voter education project of the Southern Regional Council in Atlanta. About 45 Negroes attended, all but five of them from outside Dallas. Arthur DeWitty of Austin, G. J. Sutton of San Antonio, and Durham urged them to read the Observer’s account of the convention of the united political organization in Austin [“Governor Connally and the U.P.O.,” Obs. July 12], Negroes’ grievances against past liberal coalitions in Texas were reviewed, and those present agreed to draw up an addition to the coalition’s statement of principles for submission to the coalition the next afternoon. The next morning a five-man committee \(Brooks, Williams, Durham, Sutton, and At the main meeting, Durham delivered a free-swinging attack on Connally, ridiculing the U.P.O. as Connally’s campaign organization and joshing Connally for introducing to Texas a new phenomenon, conservative Negroes. He said he had been coalitioning a long time, and had had to leave a coalition after its failure to endorse Henry Gonzalez for governor, but was back coalitioning again. Some of the persons 4 The Texas Observer present, who were associated with the old Democrats of Texas Clubs, resented Durham’s criticism of the earlier coalitions, but kept silent. The statement of principles from the June 1 meeting was read ; Dixie, a Houston attorney with a large labor practice, said that the coalition would take some losses \(meaning, among whites who would not up these losses with voter registration efforts. Dr. Brooks offered the Negroes’ addition to the statement of principles. It had five parts: the Negro must share in the policymaking responsibility of the coalition on the basis of equality; a Negro candidate must receive the same consideration at the polls as any other candidate endorsed by the coalition ; there would be no secret sessions with candidates, and no deals, to the exclusion of Negro participation ; and: “4.It is the policy of the coalition to support candidates who will work for the enactment of legislation, local, state, and national, which will afford equal opportunities and equal protection of all citizens without reference to race and color and in every facet of American life. “5.The coalition will support no candidate or issue thaf will place the Negro in the untenable position of accepting or defending tokenism or gradualism as symbolized by the so-called ‘voluntary approach’ to civil rights.” It was the position of Doug Crouch, district attorney of Tarrant County, that any implication that any candidate is best qualified solely by virtue of being a member of a minority race would be untenable. Hank Brown offered an amendment that in each applicable instance, the word Negro would be followed by the words, LatinAmerican, labor, and independent liberal members. Sutton of San Antonio objected that the purity of the Negro statement ought to be preserved as a justified set of grievances. He told Brown he couldn’t twist this around. Brown retorted that he might have been guilty of manipulations in the past, and so had Brother Sutton, but that at the outset of the coalition, there should not even be a suspicion of anything devious, and that if his amendment was not acceptable, they should sit down and make it acceptable. This exchange epitomized the willingness of the mid-July conference to face the civil rights issue without flinching. Pena, presiding, called four caucuses in each of the four corners of the meeting chamberNegroes one corner, Latins another, labor another, independent liberals another. While these caucuses were proceeding, Sutton and Brown agreed that the Negroes’ statement could be filed as originally written in the proceedings, but the statement of the coalition’s principles should apply to all four elements, as in the Brown amendment. But meanwhile the Negro caucus had accepted the Brown amendment, and so the Negroes’ resolution was adopted by the coalition, with the Brown amendment. THESE FUNDAMENTAL preliminaries accomplished, Pena introduced Blackwell, a Negro whose work has given him intimate experience with the historic conflicts of the Southern present. He said that if the Texas coalition succeeds, it will give others the impetus necessary to try the coalition idea in North Carolina, Tennessee, and Florida. Coalitions of similar kind had been tried before, he recalled the Farmers’ Alliance in the 187Q’s, the Populist movement in the 1890’sbut had failed. Blackwell told about three Negroes in the South : A Negro woman named Fannie Lee Hamer, who walked 20 miles from Ruleville to Indianola, Miss., to register to vote. Bob Moses, a Negro teacher of mathematics in the East, who gave up his studies toward a Ph.D. and went south to help in the Negro voter registration drives. When Moses walked into the courthouse with the first two people who wanted to register, a white man leaned across the counter and hit him across the head with a pipe. Eighteen stitches were taken in Moses’ head, and the next day he returned, his head in bandages, with a dozen people who wanted to register. And Andrew Young, a Negro from Jackson, Miss., working in voter registration, who left Jackson for Greenwood, Miss., in his car at night and was machinegunned on the road, sustained bullet wounds in his back and neck; recovered ; and returned to Jackson and announced he was resuming his voter registration activities. “You must not fail,” Blackwell told the coalition. Turning to Brown, he said that with such a coalition working in the South, “there never would have been a Taft-Hartley law passed, Hank.” So, he concluded quoting an old labor song”Let’s roll the union on.” WHEREUPON, Ed Ball reviewed the structure of the coalition, which was then ratified: there to be four co-chairmen, one from each group, who would rotate as presiding officers and official spokesmen of the coalition. For the second time, the four groups retired to their corners, this time to select their co-chairmen. There was a good deal of movement of members from one corner, to another, a fact which caused Blackwell to observe that this was a living coalition. The coalition reconvened, and the co-chairlpen were announced by the representatives from each group. Pena is chairman for the mexicanos; Durham, for the Negroes; Brown, for labor; Franklin Jones, Sr., of Marshall, for the independent liberals. On this latter selection, Oscar Mauzy, Dallas, who announced it, said the liberals had had their customary donny-brook and had selected Jones, but that if he was unable to serve, Jack Lee of Mason was chosen. Jones was not present, but subsequently accepted, reluctantly, by letter. Goodwyn made brief reference to a need for the coalition to cooperate in an organization devoted wholly to voter registration and suggested as a possible name,
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