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IA Guest Essay The ‘Liberal’ Democrat and the Negro Houston One of the most serious problems of Democratic politics in Texas is the attempt, largely successful, to use the Negro vote while also successfully avoiding the genuine incorporation of the Negro into the structure of Democratic politics. The unfortunate fact is that many “liberal” Democrats are as guilty of this abuse as are “conservative” Democrats. If any one doubts the truth of this fact, he need only look at the Texas legislature, which has not a single Negro in either house. With the barest of exceptions, county, municipal, and other local elective officers are also pure white. Moreover, the problem is deeper than that of the coloration of the legislative bodies. Collectively, it is not apparent that any Texas legislative body seeks really to represent the legitimate interests and concerns of Texas Negroes. If this is doubted, witness reapportionment, where the most deliberate effort has been made to offset the Negro vote to prevent the possibility of Negro representation in any legislative Harry E. Groves is an attorney in Houston. Harry E. Groves house. Many a legislator who owes his place in Austin to Negro voters joined this conspiracy. Individually, a few liberal Democrats try genuinely to understand and represent their Negro constituents, but their number is woefully small. Most Texas legislators think of white and Negro Texans on a “we” and “they” basis, with the legislator being with the white “we,” and “they” being in many ways regarded as an enemy. This Texas attitude is not merely archaic and manifestly unfair to a major segment of the population; it is unmistakably deleterious to the fullest absorption of Texas into national and international life. No Texan will be fully believed when he speaks of democracy in Washington or elsewhere in the nation while this situation prevails in Texas. No Texan possesses credibility when he speaks of democracy in Latin-America, Vietnam, or elsewhere in the world while this situation prevails in Texas. The question is, how long will the Negro in Texas tolerate his separation from mean ingful Democratic politics. Of course, it is not enough that some Negroes are consulted on some occasions. It is not enough that some are invited to some semi-social affairs. It is not enough that some have small places in precinct and county political machines. It will not be enough until liberal Democrats nominate and elect Negroes to positions at all levels of government, including, of course, the legislature, state and national, judgeships, and the whole panoply of local offices. It is done elsewhere, why not in Texas? Texas Negroes ought to be weary of being only the governed; they should want to govern too. As a part of the body politic, of course, this is their right. And genuine liberals would help them to a realization of this right, through coalition slates and other familiar political means. The really incredible fact of political life is that the Republican Party is yet to awaken to its opportunities should it offer the Texas Negro a meaningful alternative. In this the Democratic Party is fortunate. It still has timetime , it should not have and scarcely deservesbut some time, neverthele e ss, to give the Texas Negro a fair position in Texas politics. Suffering from Success Austin As two Negro teachers bolted the door of the Creedmoor, Texas, elementary school at the. end of the school term last year, there was a certain finality in it. With mixed emotions, they realized that the closing of the two-room schoolhouse meant the end of segregated public education in Creedmoor, and it meant the end of their jobs. Like many other small farming communities in Texas, Creedmoor integrated by absorbing , its 40 Negro students into the white school without hiring additional teachers. Only the six white teachers were rehired, leaving Mrs. Laura Carter and Mrs. Grezetta Joost unemployed. This has happened to Negro teachers frequently in Texas and the rest of the South as Negro schools have been shut down. The Teachers State Association of Texas, a Negro organization, has a list of about 30 teachers who are unemployed now as a result of integration. Dr. Vernon McDaniel, executive director of T.S.A.T., Judy Burton is a senior journalism student at the University of Texas. She is from Tyler. Judy Burton says that the list has had as many as 64 names on it and that many displaced Negro teachers do not present their cases to the association. T.S.A.T. tries to help these displaced teachers find jobs and provides legal counsel for those who choose to appeal their cases. Teachers may appeal to the Texas Education Agency, the U.S. Office of Education, or the courts if they believe their rights have been violated. Complaints filed with the T.E.A. can be “informal” or “formal.” An informal complaint merely requests that the commissioner of education look into a case; formal complaints are taken to the courts, and legal opinions are rendered. In Texas only five Negro teachers have filed complaints, but many others feel they were treated unfairly, Mrs. Carter, who holds a masters degree in education from Prairie View A&M, said her qualifications were not compared with those of the six white teachers who were kept on. She recalls that F. W. Hardin, the superintendent of Travis County schools, “just told me it would take too much money to keep both schools running and that they had too many teachers already in the white school. He said he couldn’t do anything about itbut I can’t help thinking he could.” Mrs. Carter is now working at a day care center in Austin, wherie her salary is slightly lower than what she made teaching. “I didn’t think my case was worth appealing since I. got another job,” she explained. The other Creedmoor teacher, Mrs. Joost, expresses bitterness about her dismissal, but she has no plans to appeal her case. “I realize that’s our mistake,” she said thoughtfully. “We’re afraid we would get bad publicity that would hurt our job opportunities later. We would get in the newspapers, and maybe even have to move out of our homes. It’s just not worth it.” Although Mrs. Joost has found a job at an Austin nursery school and her husband also has a job, she says, “I’m still hungry, and we don’t know where the money for the bills will come from.” She expects her December 31, 1965 9