THE CIVIC UNITY COMMITTEE
In May, 1944, certain Interracial incidents in Cambridge caused concern to many people. Under the leadership of the Community Relations Committee, meetings were held to consider a constructive program to combat undemocratic behaviour and to lessen intergroup tensions. The City Manager was interested and after various consultations established a committee to promote better human relations At the same time the Governor was urging the formation of local Citizens Committees for Racial and Religious Understanding. Such a committee was set up as part of the City Manager's own department. It held its first official meeting at City Hall in July, 1945. No funds were available until May of 1946, when the City Council voted $2,000, which has since been increased to $6,500.
The Cambridge Civic Unity Committee is an official agency of municipal government created to further understanding between our citizens. Approximately 45 citizens are appointed by Mr. Atkinson to serve a rotating term of three years. Staff consists of the Executive Director and a secretary. Subcommittees operate in the fields of Education, Employment, Housing, and Investigation of Incidents. The Civic Unity Committee examines and reports on the work of these subcommittees and endeavors to improve intergroup relations in Cambridge. Its intention is to stimulate democratic principles through long-term programs.
The first activity was a study of existing conditions in the community under the leadership of Dr. Gordon Allport of Harvard University. As a result of this study, two pamphlets were printed: in 1946 , "THE NEGRO IN CAMBRIDGE," and in 1947, "ETHNIC ATTITUDES IN CAMBRIDGE."
The Civic Unity Committee has sponsored a course in Democratic Human Relations for Cambridge teachers; a Human Relations Institute for social agencies, churches, schools, and libraries; a Police Training Course; and two Institutes for Cambridge Employers of Minority Groups. More than 1000 copies of a booklet entitled "TOWARD DEMOCRACY IN EMPLOYMENT THE CAMBRIDGE WAY," published after the first Institute, have been requested by agencies and individuals in 28 States.
The Civic Unity Committee's relationship to the community is an advisory one.. It points out for community officials and for Cambridge agencies the forces creating friction, and suggests ways of coping with them.
C.R.C. and C.U.C.
by Carol M. Smith
Helen Morton at Y.W.C.A. thought Y. did not have enough Negroes. Odile Sweeney at Cambridge Community Center (Negro settlement house) wanted more white participation from the neighborhood. So they got together and formed interracial committee. (C.R.C.)
Jane Saddler was imported to promote intergroup work.
In cooperation with several Cambridge Ministers sponsored a Youth and Industry Conference, bringing together about 70 young people to discuss jobs and job placement.
Gave several scholarships to Cambridge teachers for attendance at Wellesley School of Community Affairs under Dr. Margaret Mead.
Brought to Cambridge George Culberson of Pittsburgh, Edwin Embree, Roi Ottley, Lester Granger, Langston Hughes and Margaret Mead.
Incidents out of which grew request from Olga Collinson to the City Manager to start official Committee.
Preliminary survey of Cambridge by T. Parsons and F. Kluckholm.
Secured admission of Negro students for training at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Secured opening of Boston stores to Negro salespeople.
Governors Committee on Racial and Religious Understanding wrote to Mayors in State suggesting that such committees be started locally.
Canvassed all candidates for School Committee, urging them to support a program of intercultural education.
Urged School Committee to include in its proposed survey of public schools a study of Intercultural education.
September – City Manager's Committee on Racial and Religious Understanding set up with 52 members and Felix Renick as Chairman (For Purpose see Report, p. 4).
June, 1945, Cambridge School Committee stated that teachers should not hold membership on any interracial committee.
May - $2000.00 grant from City Council to make preliminary survey - "Negro in Cambridge" by Betty Lopez who later became Executive Director of the Committee (Name changed to Civic Unity Committee). "Ethnic Attitudes in Cambridge" survey started (but not published until next summer).
April - School Committee rescinded order of June, 1945.
May - C.U.C. Education Committee raised $900.00 to send three Cambridge teachers to a summer workshop in Intergroup Education at Columbia, sponsored by Bureau of Intercultural Education.
Club One Hundred (see pp. 14, 15, and 16.)
City Council appropriated $5900.00 for work of CUC and research assistant became full-time Executive Secretary (later Director) with office in City Hall. Superintendent Tobin issued bulletin on Intergroup Education, expressing a need for an awareness in this area and requested all teachers to read John J. Mahoney's book, "For Us The Living."
Ethel Alpenfels came to Cambridge for three days in January – spoke to parents, community (C.R.C.) groups, and at assemblies at C.H.L.S. and Rindge Technical School. Mrs. Marshall gave Tea for Teachers shortly before this at which Mary Louise Reilly of Boston Teachers Round Table spoke.
Three pamphlets circulated among teachers: "We, the Children, Speak," "Sense and Nonsense About Race," and "Charting Intercultural Education."
Dr. Allport with full cooperation of City Manager and Police Chief King conducted an eight hour training course for police sergeants and lieutenants of the Cambridge Police Force. Joseph Kluckesky, formerly Chief of Police in Milwaukee and member of the faculty of the National Police Academy of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, now of the American Council of Race Relations, came to Cambridge to take part in giving this course.
C.U.C. moved from City Hall to Main Fire House in Quincy Square. Juliet Fleischl, who had been working on the staff of M.I.T.'s Research Center for Group Dynamics, became Executive Director (In May a part-time secretarial assistant vas added).
Membership became rotating on 3 year basis. (Appointments made by City Manager at suggestion of Chairman of Committee).
March - A reception for public school teachers and administrators at which Thomas Mahoney, a Boston lawyer, spoke on International problems.
April - Demonstration by R. Lippitt of Role Playing Technique.
May - George Hunton, Editor of Catholic Interracial Review, was brought to Cambridge - spoke to C.U.C., to a Teachers' Meeting called by Supt. Tobin, and to Knights of Columbus.
Frank Simpson, Executive Director of Community Interracial Commission, spoke at luncheon for C.U.C. and other Community leaders.
October - Muriel Snowden became Executive Director.
Teachers' Course given under auspices of Harvard - B.U. extension by Charles Peltier. 53 teachers, Monday afternoons at Phillips Brooks House. Dr. Allport, Doris Boyd, Elwood McKenny of F.E.P.C. addressed group.
Supt. Tobin appointed Curriculum Committee to write a Manual on Better Human Relations, to be used by the teachers of Cambridge.
Mr. Bousseve Chairman of C.U.C. Housing Committee.
First Employment Institute
C.U.C, Orientation Institute "Lets Take A Look At Ourselves." City Manager came and participated in discussion.
Abraham Citron, Research Associate of Commission on Community Interrelations, American Jewish Congress, N.Y.C., gave a demonstration of his technique "Answering The Bigot."
Carlton Faller Chairman 1949-52
Second. Employment Institute at Phillips Brooks House, H.H. Giles, keynote speaker
Youth Project Outgrowth of Co-ed Council
Catherine T. Johnson became Executive Director in September.
Charles Abrams spoke on Discrimination in Housing on November 9, 1950.
Mildred H. Mahoney spoke on F.E.P.C. on December 12th.
Dr. Allport gave a demonstration of Rumor Process on February 6th.
Youth Project established in new headquarters at Cambridge Public Library.
C.U.C. moved to City Hall Annex.
First Newsletter published - Mrs. Addle Levy, Mrs. Emily Johnson.
Housing Subcommittee's plan to influence Harvard and M.I.T. to list only those landladies who would accept roomers without regard to race, creed, or national background.
Teachers' Institute on Human Relations held on April 26. Speaker, the Rev. Paul H. Furfey, head of the Department of Sociology, Catholic University of Washington, D.C. 200 attended.
October 21 - Dr. Dan Dodson spoke at a meeting held at Cambridge Community Center.
Carlton Fuller completed term as Chairman of the Committee, and Mr. Marcus Morton took over.
New City Manager.
Miss Neilan resigned from Youth Project on January 29th.
Police Chief Ready spoke on February 4th.
Started plans for a Radio Program sponsored by C.U.C.
Col. Hewitt resigns.
Landlady Attitudes Survey by C.U.C. Associates - first report by Mrs. Guy Johnson. Mrs. Peter Rossi directed the survey.
Supreme Court Decision. Dr. Allport spoke on it on May 26th
"Eviction Notice" 39 Kirkland Street
Cracker Barrel Meeting October 20, 1954.
Cambridge Hospitality Committee - Mrs. Cottrell, Chairman.
Urban Renewal program.
May - First Housing Clinic.
March 31st - Second Housing Clinic.
Urban Renewal Panel.
April 1, Inauguration of Radio Program Series.
Seminar for Clergy And City Officials - September 21, 1955
Report on Housing Hospitality Committee published
Tours for foreign students.