Algernon D. Black
(speaker)New School for Social Research (New York, N.Y. : 1919-1997)
April 2 1964
Algernon Black prefaces his lecture with the intent that it be more casual and informal. Black discusses race as a social construct. He mentions Franz Boas’s The Primitive Man, and discusses patterns of immigration to the United States, and emphasizes African-Americans as an exception to the pattern of assimilation, drawing the connection between ghettoization of African-Americans and the fact that the vast majority were forcibly emigrated to the United States through the transatlantic slave trade. Black details the impact of segregation, Jim Crow laws, and the Ku Klux Klan; he delineates between racist attitudes and beliefs, and relates these to social conditioning. Black discusses his work with the City-wide Citizens’ Committee on Harlem, the NAACP, the Urban League, and with grassroots civil rights organizations in the South, the potential impact of the not-yet-passed Civil Rights Act, and the need for improved education for young African-Americans. Black also details the disparity in housing conditions and public health outcomes for African-Americans in New York City, and a “threefold philosophy of action”: research, mobilization, and legislation. There is a question and answer session that follows, in which Black discusses desegregation efforts in New York City public schools as well as protests planned for the upcoming World’s Fair.
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