Re: Supreme Court Ruling
Settummanque, the blackeagle (waltoml@WKUVX1.WKU.EDU)
Wed, 8 Dec 1993 22:40:17 CDT
Jim McCullars <JIM@UAHIS1.UAH.EDU> writes:
>-->I think that the history of BSA's policies concerning racial
>-->discrimination gives some reason to think that the organization will
>-->continue to advance past prejudice to realize that the current
>-->practices are just as unnecessarily hurtful and the justifications
>-->just as ridiculous.
> Now you've got my curiousity piqued. Please cite any BSA policy that
>supports or supported racial discrimination. And I'm not particularly
>interested in hearing some horror story about some misguided CE in some
>pudunk council somehwere. I want an authoritative source that supports
>your contention that the National Executive Board of the Boy Scouts of
>America officially sanctioned discrimination on the basis of race.
The BSA is FULL of examples from it's earlier days whereby there were
a separate District for "negroes and others". Just go down to your
Council office andask to see early copies of the Annual Report of thee
Council. There, in black and white (or shades thereof), are
references to the "Inter-Racial" youth and Districts. These were
"districts" formed WITHIN established District boundaries composed
almost entirely of black and Hispanic or Asian youth. They had their
own "District staff", trained their own leaders using loaned BSA
materials (which included a "Scoutmaster's Handbook for Inter-Racial
Leaders", BSA #2259, 1934, which outlined the BSA's programs and had
separate chapters on "How to form a Inter-Racial Troop", "What to look
for in Recruiting leaders" and other such interesting items...I have
only the first three or four yellowed pages from this thing...not the
whole book (one of those things I want to "happen up on" someday).
Please note that at NO TIME did the BSA refer to those Districts as
"lack (negro) Districts or Divisions" nor it's youth as "blacks or
negroes". There was a reason for this...the BSA also used this to
separate Asian youth in the West and Hispanic youth as late as 1960
in areas of the South and North (NYC for example).
These "Divisions" (and their supporting camps, with names like Camp
Buffalo) were formed from 1920 until the signing of the Civil Rights Act
of 1964 (and then, they were "disguished" as "urban divisions" until Harvey
Price, then our Chief Scout Executive wrote to the field that there WILL BE
NO FURTHER DISCRIMINATION OR SEPARATION OF OUR PROGRAMS, OUR CAMPS, NOR
OUR PROFESSIONALS BASED UPON COLOR, RACE, OR ETHNIC BACKGROUNDS
PERIOD. (I placed that in all caps because not only was that the
exact quote from the memorandum, undated but from the North Brunswick,
NJ address at the top, I would venture it's about circa 1965 or 66).
The same memorandum to the field executives also disbanded the
Inter-Racial Division and renamed it the Urban-Rural Field
Division. Finally, CSE Price mandated that all Councils WILL come
into compliance with the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (that's how I can
also "date" this copy of a copy...) IMMEDIATELY UPON RECIEPT and will
place in ALL OF THEIR MAILINGS STATEMENTS INFORMING THE PUBLIC AND
ESPECIALLY OUR SCOUTS AND LEADERS OF THIS FACT.
The camps for those in the Inter-Racial Divisions, as explained by
Robert Peterson in the BSA historical piece "The History of the BSA",
were "putrid". Here's some of the material that I use as part of a
Blacks in Scouting" exhibit and slide show that I carry around to
schools and churches during (Black) African-American History Month:
...." During Scouting's formative years, segregation of blacks --and
to a lesser extent, of other minorities -- was law in the South and
custom in many other sections of the nation. The BSA never drew a
color line, but the movement stayed in step with prevailing mores.
(please remember this line, because it speaks well for ALL of the
current issues the BSA faces presently!!!!!!) In the Deep South,
Scouting was as segregated as the schools and other public
accomodations until the Civil Rights revolution following the Supreme
Court's _Brown_vs._Board_of_Education_ decision in 1954....
....But Scouting was slow in coming to Black boys, especially in the
South -- although there was a black Troop in Elizabeth City, North
Carolina in 1911 and others in Nashville and Memphis, Tennessee by
1913. Three years (1916) later, the Louisville Area Council (YEA!!!
It was renamed the Old Kentucky Home Council and now presently the
Lincoln Heritage Council) became the *first* to promote Scouting among
blacks and soon had four Troops. In 1926, a survey found 249 Black
Troops around the country
[presently, the National Urban League says that well over 3000 Boy Scout
Troops (which could mean just Boy Scout Troops, or Scout Packs, Troops,
Teams and Posts, since the Urban League don't split it up that way!)
are chartered to Black-owned businesses, predominatly Black churches or
to communities where the majority is African-American, in 1992]
with a total membership of 4,923.
Louisville had 30 Black Troops by that time; Chicago had 26;
Washington D.C. had 10 and Brooklyn, 8. "
[again, the National Urban League says over 227,300 Black youth
are in Scouting in those units...there's no cut and dried numbers of
the total number of Black youth in Scouting units since the BSA
stopped counting heads that way in 1980. It was called the
"representative one-third" for those that can remember back then and
before that time...]
"Arthur J.H. Clement, Jr., recalled that when "black scouting" was
developing in Charleston, South Carolina, in the late '30s, a special
District was set up for Black Troops. " Our Palmetto District covered
the entire Council for Negro Troops. We operated parellel to the
Council, with our own President, Commissioners, and so forth. We had a
separate camp for the Negro boys; it wasn't second class -- it was
about sixth class. It had a water hole and one or two shacks or sheds
on it." ".
"In some parts of the South (Alabama, Mississippi, and Arkansas, in
particular), Black Scouts could not wear the official uniform. Some
Troops wore identifying armbands and the Campaign [the "Smokey the
Bear"] Hat. In others, they dressed in white shirts and trousers. By
the late 30's, Black Scouts in most cities were permitted to buy the
uniform and Scouting commenced a slow growth in Black communities."
"Scouting's willingness to accept boys of all races and creeds -- if
only in segregated units -- enraged white supermacists like the KKK.
In 1924, hooded Klansmen fired shots and burned a fiery cross at a
camp of Black Scouts near Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, and ordered the
camp evacuated. Three years later, a Klan speaker in Freeport, New
York, urged parents not to let their sons join the Scouts because he
said, they were under control of the Catholic Church. The Klan
virtually ruled Indiana for a time during the 20s, and as one result,
Julian H. Salomon, was forced out as Scout Executive in Terre Haute.
He had hired a Catholic seminarian as summer camp aide, and when the
Klan found out about it, Salomon was pressured to fire him. Salomon
refused and was transferred to another Council. "
"In many Councils, there were restrictions placed on Blacks wearing
the official uniform even in the 1940s, said Frank Dix, a
professional Scouter who worked in the BSA's Region Five office in
Atlanta from 1943 to 1948. "There were some Councils where statements
were made officially by the (Council) Executive Board that when the
first Black boy appears in uniform we will take all of our Boy Scout
handbooks down to the city square and burn them." In some areas,
Black Scouts could only buy the uniform only after earning Second or
First Class rank. "
That's more than enough to give you some idea, Rick and Jim.
The bottom line is that the BSA reacts to change in the nation's
environment. Then and now.
Settummanque, the blackeagle... (MAJ) Mike L. Walton (
AIS/MR Recreation Specialist, Lifeskills Inc. ___)_
(h) 502-782-7992 (f) 502-781-7279 (w) 502-842-2274 |-=-|]
3201-D Cave Springs Avenue -- Greenwood, KY 42104-4439 -=====-
WALTOML@WKUVX1.WKU.EDU (or via America OnLine) KYBLKEAGLE@AOL.COM
"Not speaking for Lifeskills, Inc. or WKU...but I do speak well!!"
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City