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Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. You are not worried if we should, on a wild assumption now, we should put up $4 billion a year and the State of California should decide to earmark all of that for teachers' salaries, you are not worried about the fact that Washington would have the responsibility to see that that share of the $1 billion spent in California was spent wisely?
Mr. BALDWIN. I am satisfied in my own mind with the regulations that exist in the State of California that they would be spent wisely.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. You do not think we would have any obligation to oversee the way it is spent?
Mr. BALDWIN. Actually we are not establishing any future limitations as far as what we might look into and if we find things are not as we thought we can make any decisions we then might feel desirable.
I am satisfied in my own mind that the State of California has proper educational requirements so that any funds that are made available to that State will be properly utilized.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. One final question: If Congress, in its wisdom, should decide that the best way to avoid difficulties in administering the program is not to set it up and if we should eliminate entirely this proposal to subsidize teachers, would you still be in favor of what might be left of the bill?
I admit this is quite a hypothetical case, but I think you will agree with me that it will complicate the chances for enactment of this legislation to have this provision in.
I am wondering whether you would be willing to support a program that would concentrate on the construction problem and hope that by making it easier for communities to build their own schools, that it might make available more money at the local or State levels to aid teachers' salaries.
Mr. BALDWIN. As I believe the gentleman knows, I have supported school construction bills, general Federal aid to school construction bills, in both the 84th and 85th Congresses. My views have not changed on that. I would continue to support such a program.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Thank you.
Mr. BRADEMAS. Mr. Chairman, I was very glad to have the fine statement of the gentleman from California. I am encouraged to hope this is some indication there will be a bipartisan effort to make some progress in this field.
I would like to ask the gentleman a question about a matter that he has not discussed; namely, how does he feel about the administration's proposal to give some assistance to school districts in meeting the debt service on bonds to finance school construction?
Mr. BALDWIN. I will answer that in the same way I have answered the last question of Mr. Frelinghuysen.
The fact that I am testifying for H.R. 22 does not mean that I would not support some other measure if it is the determination of the committee, in its wisdom, that some other measure should be brought out.
I am testifying for H.R. 22 because I believe this is the bill which would meet the educational problem as I see it. But if the committee decides, in its wisdom, to bring out some other bill, that will approach a part of this problem, maybe not the whole problem as approached by H.R. 22, I am not necessarily opposed to such a bill.
Mr. BRADEMAS. I am interested in getting a little more substantive reply than that, but perhaps the gentleman does not care to comment.
I detect no notable enthusiasm from him for the administration bill. Is it because the administration's bill meets only part of the problem that you support the Murray-Metcalf bill?
Mr. Baldwin. I think the Murray-Metcalf bill would more fully meet the educational problem.
Mr. BRADEMAS. That is all.
Mr. BAILEY. We appreciate very much your testimony, Mr. Baldwin. It has been quite helpful. We hope that we will be able to work out something worthwhile to submit for the approval of the House.
Mr. BALDWIN. Thank you.
Mr. BAILEY. The Chair notes the presence of the distinguished gentleman from Florida, Mr. Bennett.
Mr. BENNETT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. BAILEY. Will you identify yourself for the reporter and may I say to the gentleman, he has appeared before our committee previously. He does not always agree with the viewpoints of the majority of this committee, but his suggestions are always fresh and worthwhile and I am looking forward to his giving us some pointers that might be helpful in considering legislation that the committee is now dealing with.
STATEMENT OF HON. CHARLES E. BENNETT, A REPRESENTATIVE
IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF FLORIDA Mr. BENNETT. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
At the outset I would like to say that no committee of Congress has been more considerate and kinder to me than this committee, and particularly the portion of this committee headed by the able subchairman who is before us today. It is due to his leadership that the fine impact legislation was enacted and, of course, other people help, but if it had not been for the fiery chairman it would never have been enacted. I appreciate the fact that he is willing to hear me on the subject of my bill, which is H.R. 716. I appreciate the committee also being willing to hear this.
Mr. Chairman, I would first like to express my appreciation to you and to the members of this committee for giving me the privilege of appearing here today in behalf of H.R. 716. This is my bill to provide that the United States shall reimburse the States for that portion of the construction cost of certain schools which is attributable to Negroes and Indians.
I believe your committee may well find that this proposal is a solution to your problem of finding a bill which can reconcile differences of opinion and avoid emotional issues which have heretofore doomed your school construction proposals.
This bill would give Federal school construction aid on the basis of the number of Negro and Indian students in each school constructed, regardless of whether the school is an integrated or segregated one.
This approach has many advantages. First, it is based upon a Federal responsibility arising from the history of our Nation.
In article 1, section 9, of the United States Constitution, the Federal Government recognized the institution of slavery and provided
for the importation of slaves for 20 years after the adoption of the Constitution.
The Federal Government recognized and supported the institution of slavery by means of the Fugitive Slave Acts and in various other ways. However, when, by action of the Federal Government, the institution of slavery was abolished, the Federal Government did not, and has not, accepted its responsibility to educate members of this race, brought into this country in accordance with Federal recognition and support of slavery.
It is my contention that recognition by the Federal Government of its responsibility in this field of education is long overdue.
My bill would have the additional advantage of avoiding the integration-segregation issue to the extent that it can be avoided in connection with a measure of this type. The school would receive that proportion of the school's construction cost which corresponds to the proportion of Negroes enrolled in the school. Thus, aid would not be given or withheld on the basis of integration or segregation but merely on the basis of assisting States in improving education facilities for Negroes.
The third advantage of this bill is that it would give Federal educational assistance where the need is greatest. It is axiomatic that the States needing the greatest amount of school construction assistance are those in which the proportion of Negroes is greatest.
This bill would also provide assistance in another area where the Federal Government has a special responsibility, the education of American Indians.
Our failure to carry out our responsibility to Indians has been a dark spot on our national honor. We should guard against a tendency to keep Indians as museum pieces, as a primitive, uneducated people, unable to cope with life as it is now lived.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, again, for permitting me to make these suggestions.
Mr. BAILEY. Mr. Brademas, do you have any questions?
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Mr. Chairman, I would just like to say that the gentleman from Florida has given us an unusual approach to this question of how to develop an adequate formula of distributing Federal funds if we should make them available to improve the educational system.
I would think we would perhaps think twice about differentiating between children on the basis of color of their skin, with all due respect to the gentleman.
I wonder also whether it might not indirectly at least complicate, perhaps slow down, the process of integration which we hope eventually will take place throughout the Nation.
Ådmittedly, it is a difficult problem but if we should differentiate between children on the color of their skin and give or not give Federal aid, depending on whether there are Negroes going to the school that is being built, we might slow up integration, might we not?
Mr. BENNETT. This is not a clever bill. It is a bill designed to help construct schools for Negroes. I cannot, myself, conceive of how it would slow up or accelerate integration or segregation.
I do not think it has anything to do with the subject whatsoever. I introduced this bill on the first day of the session of Congress which convened in 1949, some 6 years before the Supreme Court decisions which reversed the 90-year precedent with regard to segregated schools.
I have introduced it in every session since that time. It is hardly conceivable that I would be that omniscient, that much of a prophet, particularly since I had practiced law a good deal of my life, to expect that the Supreme Court would make that decision in 1954.
So far as I am concerned, it is designed purely to meet what I consider to be very substantial obligations of the Federal Government to very large races in our area, the Negro race and the Indian race.
There is no hidden motive in this legislation. It was not designed to be clever legislation. It was designed to help people who need help and people who have a right to expect help from the Federal Government.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. It would also, as one of its conditions, encourage what has now been discarded as official doctrine, separate but equal facilities for children of different races. Mr. BENNETT. I do not see how it would have
effect on it whatsoever. In the first place, I would imagine there would be many millions of dollars under the legislation which would go into large centers in Detroit and New York, and I would rather guess almost every school district in the country would have some benefit from this legislation, but the major portion of the impact would go to the States which are most in need financially.
I think you will find that to be true. It certainly is not designed to have any implication with regard to integration or segregation.
As I have already pointed out, this bill was introduced in its exact form, comma for comma, period for period, 6 years before the Supreme Court overrode its 90-year decisions with regard to separate, but equal, schools. It was not designed in any way to have anything to do with that.
It was not designed to be segregated and integrated and it is not yet. Maybe you would feel it would have some other implication, but I cannot see it, myself.
This has been raised at previous hearings before this committee and I never understood how it would have that effect and I do not think it could be substantiated.
I do not think it would have that effect. I think it would aid Negroes and Indians to get the type of education they should get and that is the purpose of this legislation and there is no cleverness or hidden motive in this legislation.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. If all the purpose was to aid Negroes and Indians to develop their education, to get an adequate education, why do we not just distribute money on the basis of the number of children of those races in the various States?
Mr. BENNETT. For a very good reason. This bill is designed to bring about the construction of schools and you cannot get the assistance unless you are going to build the schools for the Negroes and Indians.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Now, you are going back to separate, but equal, facilities.
Mr. BENNETT. The schools are not restricted to segregated schools. The benefit comes to the school on the basis of the proportion of Negroes or Indians, or both, that may be in each school. They may be entirely integrated schools as I have already said, I think many, many millions of dollars under this bill would go to New York City because they have many colored people therein integrated and I presume no segregated schools.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Of course, at the moment we might get a lot more going to the northern areas where the children are going to school regularly and not to the areas where there is a suspension of school activities.
Mr. BENNETT. It is rather strange, Mr. Frelinghuysen, that you, a man from one of the Northern States, seem to wish to attribute to this legislation something which I have said every time I have been before the committee has nothing to do with the legislation.
This is not a southern bill; it is not a northern bill. It is a bill to provide aid to Negroes and Indians wherever they may be. It has no hidden motive whatsoever.
I do not know how many times I have to say that. I have said it every time when you have been on the committee since I have been testifying on this bill.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. I must admit, Mr. Bennett, my own basic reaction is that I hate to differentiate at the Federal level between children because they happen to be of a different color.
Mr. BENNETT. You have expressed that and expressed it very well. But I feel that the Federal Government differentiated with regard to the people on the basis of race when we drew our Constitution in 1789. Maybe we should abolish that and, of course, we have largely abolished that, but we did not live up to our responsibilities as a Nation to these people wherever they may be.
They were differentiated in the beginning and they were hurt by our country. I am glad slavery went, I am glad it is over; I hope we will never have a return of it. I don't see how anybody who knows me as well as you do, Mr. Frelinghuysen, would feel that I am in any way a person who wants to hurt anybody regardless of what color he may be.
I am trying to help somebody; not hurt somebody.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. I certainly want to assure the gentleman I realize he is not trying to hurt anybody and that his basic aim is to aid the young people of those two races. I just question the result.
Mr. BRADEMAS. Will the gentleman yield ?
Mr. BRADEMAS. I want to say I would like to associate myself with the attitude of the gentleman from New Jersey, but I would also like to say to the gentleman from Florida that no one has more respect than I for the integrity of his motives and the depth of his concern.
But I think that the question of Mr. Frelinghuysen is a pretty good indication of the reaction that I am sure many of us will have, that I certainly felt, as soon as I saw this proposal, a reaction that would lead me to think that such a proposal might well inflame and cause much more trouble in this whole area of race relations than the country is already confronted with.
Mr. BENNETT. What Congressmen in Congress would be more disturbed about inflaning people than those from the South?