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(6) Each Episcopal church can give vital leadership by making it clear that all churchmen are invited into the full life and fellowship of the church, including its services of worship, parish organizations, diocesan activities, churchsponsored schools and institutions. Each parish and mission has a primary responsibility for this leadership.
(7) Each parish church and mission faces its old obligation with new force and urgency, namely, to seek diligently for every unchurched person in its neighborhood, to bring the good news of Jesus Christ to such persons, and to welcome them into the fellowship of that church or mission. This old doctrine of the task of the church was reaffirmed at the 1952 general convention in two resolutions:
(a) We consistently oppose and combat discrimination based on color or race in every form, both within the church and without, in this country and internationally.
(b) This convention affirms its conviction that no branch of the Christian church should rest content while any injustices in racial relations obtain in parishes, schools, and agencies under her control or in association with her; and that it urges every member of the church to labor unceasingly for the elimination of such injustices.
SOME PRACTICAL SUGGESTIONS
Diocesan bodies such as departments of Christian social relations can promote study conferences on public schools which will include community leaders, and prepare material for use of parish groups, as has been done by some already. A diocese may establish a special committee, representative of all races, to give leadership, provide study materials, organize study conferences, and confer with school authorities and other State officials with a view to assisting in the transition to desegregated schools.
College work commissions, Canterbury Clubs, and other diocesan and parish youth groups have a special opportunity to give leadership among youth.
Parish groups can promote study conferences to discuss facts and plans of local school districts; may take the lead in encouraging representation of all races on school boards; and may cooperate with other agencies concerned with the schools, such as the PTA, Leage of Women Voters, councils of churches and of churchwomen, the Southern Regional Council, and interfaith groups.
Diocesan and parish groups can promote circulation and distribution through tract racks and otherwise, of materials published by the Southern Regional Council, the Department of Racial and Cultural Relations of the National Council of the Churches of Christ, the United Church Women, and the national council of this church.
WE GIVE THANKS
We thank God for the new and rich opportunity for health and healing which the decision has opened up, and for the new hope this brings to people all over the world. Ample evidence of this increased health and healing is to be found in the events since the ruling was announced. For the striking fact of these first months is the widespread and increasing acceptance of this new interpretation of the law. This growing acceptance is more significant than either the much publicized or the secret opposition.
We thank God that so much of this growing support is based on reasoned Christian insight, faith, and conviction.
We thank God that through His Holy Spirit He has put it into the hearts of many to undertake voluntarily to remove these barriers between the children of our land. These efforts have demonstrated that the decision is as workable in practice as it is sound in principle. It is true and it works.
In the light of these successes, the recognized practical difficulties which still exist may be seen as being manageable, when approached in good faith by men and women of good will.
The following is the full text of the resolution supporting the Supreme Court's decision against segregation in the public schools, unanimously passed by the National Council of the Protestant Episcopal Church at its final meeting of the year, December 8, in Greenwich, Conn.
"Resolved, The national council accepts the report on church reaction to the Supreme Court decision on segregation in public schools and the guiding statement thereon, prepared by the division of Christian citizenship at the request of the council, and adopted by the division and the department of Christian social relations, as being in keeping with the spirit and intent of the resolution of the general convention of 1952 on justice and equal opportunity.
"The council commends this report and statement for study to all churchmen, and to such others as may care to take note of it, with the hope that this report of facts and this statement of guiding principles and policies may assist parochial and diocesan authorities in their efforts to promote a wise, wholehearted, and genuine realization of the principles set forth by the Court and supported so widely by churchmen in all parts of the country.
"The council transmits this report and statement to all bishops of the church, deans of seminaries, trustees of educational institutions affiliated with the church, and to diocesan and provincial officers, with the request that they study and act on these documents as they may be led, and that they inform the council of any use which they may make of this document; and it further requests and its department of Christian social relations and division of Christian citizenship summarize and report such information to the council from time to time, and continue to give leadership in this matter.
"The council notes that parochial, diocesan, and provincial bodies of the Episcopal Church have already taken positive and supportive action. These actions range all the way from affirmations of general principles to specific recommendations, to specific acts in crisis situations.
"The council adopts the following passages from the statement of guiding principles presented by the department and division:
""The Court's ruling is more than a matter of law and order*** it is also a matter of religious faith and democratic principles *** for it has to do with the will of God and the welfare and destiny of human beings. *** Judged in the light of Christian principles *** the Court's decision is just, right, and necessary.
"We thank God for the new and rich opportunity for health and healing which the decision has opened up, and for the hope this brings to people all over the world.
""We thank God that so much of the growing support is based on reasoned Christian insight, faith, and conviction.
"We thank God also that, through His Holy Spirit, He has put it into the hearts of many to undertake voluntarily to remove these barriers between the children of our land. These efforts have demonstrated that the decision is as workable in practice as it is sound in principle. It is true and it works. In the light of these successes, the recognized practical difficulties which still exist may be seen as manageable when approached by men and women of good will.' "With full and sympathetic appreciation of the very real and very great difficulties faced by the church and churchmen in many areas, we feel compelled, however, to appeal to churchmen and others everywhere to join with all men and women of good will to realize in the church and in the community the principles and goals of the Court's decision."
THE NATION'S PRESS COMMENTS
On the days following the Supreme Court's ruling, the New York Times published a summary of editorial comment throughout the Nation. A digest of this comment, together with those from other sources, is summarized herewith. The main classifications used by the New York Times are followed, namely, comments from segregated States, from nonsegregated States, from college papers, and from Negro papers.
The Washington Post and Times Herald called the decision "a profoundly healthy and feeling one✶✶✶ it will help to refurbish American prestige in a world which looks to this land for moral inspiration and restore the faith of Americans themselves in their own great values and traditions."
The Washington Evening Star said “* * * This decision finds much support in wisdom and fairness."
The Baltimore Sun acknowledged "its implications will be painful to many Marylanders no one can deny * * The Court is entirely right in its state
ment that segregation, however ‘equal' the physical facilities, does put the brand of inferiority on Negro pupils in the schools." It commended the Court's wisdom in deferring decision about how this ruling is to be implemented.
The Atlanta Constitution commented: "Meanwhile, it is no time for hasty or ill-considered action. It is no time to indulge demagogs on either side or those who are always ready to incite violence and hatred ***. It is a time for Georgia to think clearly. Our best minds must be put to work, not to destroy, but to arrive at constructive conclusions ***”
The Birmingham News said that it "deeply regrets that the Supreme Court has come to a decision that a segregation of Negro and white students in the public schools is unconstitutional."
The Birmingham Post-Herald commented: "There is no easy answer to the problem presented by yesterday's Supreme Court decision * *. Acceptance of the decision does not mean that we are stopped from taking such honorable and legal steps as may be indicated to avoid difficulties it presents both races."
The Chattanooga Times asserted “*** The best brains of the Southern States are needed to meet the situation. Special sessions of legislators, if called, will create more heat than light ***. The Times believes that most of the Southern States will meet this situation calmly, reassured in the knowledge that we shall have time to make adjustments."
The Dallas News observes that "a long era came to an end" with the unanimous decision of the Court. "Whether we are better off for that, time alone will tell. It is the fact that must be faced. The effect will reach all interracial relations."
The Richmond Times-Dispatch expressed the need for time to adjust to the complicated situation arising from the ruling. "This is a time for calm and unhysterical appraisal of the situation by the officials and peoples of Virginia and the other 16 States affected. The serious problems created by this decision can only be solved in such an atmosphere and over a period of time."
The New Orleans Times-Picayune commented: "*** As the immediate future, the decision will do no service either to education or racial accommodation. In the States where most of the Negroes live, the public school systems face the prospect of considerable turmoil for some time to come* * * The disappointment and frustration of the majority of southerners at the revolutionary overturn of practice and usage cannot immediately resolve in the improvement of race relations."
The Louisville Courier Journal called it a mortal blow to "a dogma to which the Old South clung." It added, "However, the end of the world has not come for the South or for the Nation. The Supreme Court's ruling is not itself a revolution. It is rather acceptance of a process that has been going on for a long time people everywhere could well match the Court's moderation and caution."
The Arkansas Gazette said: "In many ways this is the end product of a process that began many years ago and began, as such things must, at the very top of the educational structure. *** In the end the new patterns will have to be hammered out across the table in thousands of scattered school districts and they will have to be shaped to accommodate not only to the needs but the prejudices of whites and Negroes to whom these problems are not abstractions but the essence of their daily lives." (All the above from the New York Times, May 18.)
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch said: "The greater significance is the affirmation in the eyes of millions of people in India, Pakistan and Africa, in China, Japan, and in Burma, in Indochina, Thailand and Indonesia, that the pledge in the United States of the work and dignity of the humblest individual means exactly what it says." The Post-Dispatch says it is a great victory against the Communists.
The Houston Chronicle asserted that Texas would comply with the ruling "with widespread misgivings that racial friction may be increased rather than diminished and that the endless litigation may arise to plague the Southern States. States rights have suffered another setback and one of the most severe in the Nation's history."
The Memphis Commercial Appeal urged that the decision be approached "with calmness, reason, and a genuine spirit of cooperation. The main thing now is to face this thing squarely as an accomplished fact."
The Jackson (Miss.) Clarion-Ledger wrote: "May 17, 1954, may be recorded by future historians as a black day of tragedy for the South, and for both
races, but we can conduct ourselves in such fashion as to cause historians to record that we faced that tragedy and crisis with wisdom, courage, faith, and determination. It should not cause any panic, any violent emotional reactions, or any disturbance of normal racial relations."
The Jackson (Miss.) Daily News wrote: "Human blood may stain Southern soil in many places because of this decision, but the dark red stain of that blood will be on the marble steps of the U.S. Supreme Court Building. White and Negro children in the same school will lead to miscegenation. It means racial strife of the bitterest sort. Mississippi cannot and will not try to abide by such a decision."
The Miami Herald expressed the view that in Florida "the adjustment to it, when the time comes, will be sanely, judiciously, and humanely carried out."
The Charlotte (N.C.) News declares: "The South must apply its intelligence coolly and dispassionately and must find the resources for giving all its children equality of education. If the South as a region and North Carolina as a State are able to do these things, they will find that the problem is far more manageable than it appears at the moment."
The Charleston (S.C.) News and Courier declared: "The Court decision drove another nail into the coffin of States rights. In the past the Constitution was a balanced wheel. Now that balance has been upset and a new one must be established. It is such a delicate task we shall need wisdom and tolerance on all sides."
The Nashville Tennessean: "The South is and has been for years a land of change. Its people of both races-have learned to live with change. They can learn to live with this one. Given reasonable amount of time and understanding they will."
The Nashville (Tenn.) Banner asserted: "* * * It is a time for seasoned and cautious treatment of the case presented to reconcile both the national interest and States rights on the Constitution which is the foundation of both."
The Star Telegram, Fort Worth, Tex., was critical of the "death sentence for racial segregation in the public schools," but recognized that it was "a fact, not a fancy." It objected that it was "sudden changing by fiat," but emphasized "the ultimate responsibility for success or failure was to fall on the able, loyal, and enlightened leadership of both whites and Negroes in the South."
The Virginian-Pilot, north of Virginia, declared: "The decision means that segregation in public schools will end *** (but) the breaking down of the lines of segregation in the public schools of Virginia, and in other States of the South, will probably not come suddenly ***. The effect of this decision will be far-reaching and in time * * its implications may extend beyond school boundaries ***. This is a time for statesmanship, and the South will rise or decline as it produces it."
The Mobile (Ala.) Register: "Politically, the Supreme Court decision against racial segregation in the public schools will have repercussions in the South against both the Republicans and the Roosevelt-Truman-Stevenson species of Democrats."
The Columbia (S.C.) State declared that "the timing should be most liberal."
COMMENTS FROM NONSEGREGATED STATES
The New York Herald Tribune declared that the decision "squared the country's basic law with its conscience and its deepest conviction." It commended the Court for its wisdom in dealing with the question of enforcement at a later time, and continued: "And this affirmation, however much trouble and confusion it may cause in the short run, is bound ultimately to win wholehearted and universal assent. It goes to the heart of America: it touches the things by which the Nation lives."
The New York Times: "The highest Court in the land, the guardian of our national conscience, has reaffirmed its faith-and the undying American faithin the equality of all men and all children before the law."
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: "Every fair-minded American will, we believe, applaud the Supreme Court's unanimous decision against racial segregation in the public schools** *. The steadily changing social climate in this country since the ruling of 1896, and especially within the last few years, has made an end of segregation in the public schools inevitable *
The Hartford Courant: "This milestone in our history means that we must struggle successfully toward our own ideals ***. It means that henceforth we will not only preach democracy but practice it more perfectly."
The Chicago Tribune declared that the unanimous decision should "help a good deal to discourage resistance to the findings or attempts to evade its plain meaning, for it is not likely that a unanimous Court will change its mind * * *. The principle established by this decision is not that anybody has to give up any of his prejudices * * The principle is the much simpler one that the State governments. North and South, must regard all men as created equal so far as opportunities at the disposal of the State are concerned." The Minneapolis Tribune "welcomed and embraced" the Court's decision. And held that it would "greatly influence our relations with dark-skinned peoples the world over."
The Cincinnati Enquirer said in part: "*** It will work profound social changes in a substantial part of the United States-not assigned to the South by any means ***. What the Justices have done is simply to act as the conscience of the American Nation."
The San Francisco Chronicle said in part: "*** This is the spirit as well as the letter of democracy speaking. Great as the impact of the antisegregation ruling will be upon the States of the South in their struggle to make the physical and intellectual adjustment which it requires, still greater, we believe, will be its impact upon South America, Africa, and Asia, to this country's lasting honor and benefit."
The Des Moines Register declared that "the Court has begun the erasure of one of American democracy's blackest marks ***. Let no one maximize the difficulties involved in ending segregation. Segregation has been stopped in a number of localities smoothly and without incident. There is every reason to believe the adjustment to equality and schools will be made in the same pattern."
The Boston Herald held that "the Supreme Court's history-making decision proves more than anything else that the Constitution is a live and growing document."
The Cleveland Plain Dealer: "*** We believe that the Supreme Court could not have ruled otherwise than it did on the basic issue ***. We believe that the ruling, at a future date, will be accepted by the South as a notable advance in its progress and tradition."
The Chicago Sun-Times: "The South now is faced with a choice between defiance of the supreme law of the land and the changing its fundamental, personal social attitudes in the dual public school system itself. The problem is one for the South itself to work out. We of the North would do well to apply ourselves with equal diligence and sincerity to our own unsolved problems of racial discrimination and prejudice."
The Chicago Daily News: "*** In the long run the results will be beneficial to the people of the United States of all colors and races. This is not to say that they will be beneficial in every community at every instance."
The Lincoln Nebraska Journal: "It is hard to conceive a situation that will provide a more significant test of American democracy."
The Los Angeles Times: "We may be sure that the present decision is not going to lead to civil war, but there may be almost a social and political revolution. Yet it is hard at this point to see how the Court could have come to any other conclusion."
The Mississippian, University of Mississippi: "We realize that the decision was a difficult one at which to arrive and we hope that the Supreme Court fully realizes that adjustment will be much more difficult than was its decision. We know that the student body of the University of Mississippi has long been aware of the problem and its complexities, and has accepted the fact that the Negroes will probably some day be admitted into the university. Though the majority of the students do not want to attend the schools with Negroes, we feel that the students will adapt themselves to it."
The Cavalier Daily, University of Virginia: “* * * Although it is hard from a strict legal point of view to justify any action contrary to law we feel that the people of the South were justified in their bitterness concerning this decision. To many this decision is contrary to a way of life and violates the way in which they have thought since 1690."