Center for Labor Education & Research, University of Hawaii - West Oahu: Honolulu Record Digitization Project

Honolulu Record, Volume 10 No. 2, Thursday, August 8, 1957 p. 4


Tuskegee Negroes Boycott White Stores for Votes

Tuskegee, quiet little Alabama town (population 7,000) lying 40 miles east of Montgomery, is currently the scene of a boycott which may yet rival in fame the bus boycott that made the larger city world famous.

Tuskegee's boycott is in defense of a right which Southern congressmen are shouting needs no defense—the right of Negroes to participate in government by voting.

Tuskegee city until July 12 had about 600 white and 400 Negro voters. The 400 were probably on the average the most highly qualified body of Negro voters in any American city, for they included the faculty of Tuskegee Institute. This is the college developed by Booker T. Washington and later the scene of the researches of industrial chemist George Washington Carver, who could make practically anything from peanuts.

In keeping with the pussyfoot tradition of Booker T. Washington. Tuskegee Negroes only voted, did not run for office. But some whites obviously felt that the number of voting Negroes was getting too close to a majority for comfort, especially as they were carrying on a drive for increased voter registration. A measure was introduced in the legislature, where it passed unanimously, redrawing the boundaries of Tuskegee city so as to leave only 10 Negro voters inside city limits.

Promptly, under the leadership of Dr. Charles O. Gomillion, president of Tuskegee Civic Assn. and dean of students at the Institute a boycott of white merchants was organized. It has been highly effective.

Negro leaders feel that the white merchants, if they did not initiate the gerrymandering, did [n]ot lift a finger to prevent it.

Although Tuskegee Institute officially has kept quiet on the issue, legislators see it as taking the lead in the boycott, and threaten to slash off the, half-million dollar appropriation which Tuskegee, a private college, has been getting from the State of Alabama.

This threat has so far had no effect on the boycott. Rev. K. L. Buford, one of the boycott leaders, expresses the Negroes' bitterness over the raw deal they had got:

"We have protested and shall continue until these inhumanities are abolished. We Negroes are doggone sick and tired of letting people, throw mud in our faces and stand by and let them rub it in."

About 50 million people in the United States react to tuberculin, a skin test for tuberculosis, showing that they harbor the TB germ in their bodies. Out of such a group, many active cases of TB will develop.

Even though tuberculosis death rates have declined in recent years, the rates of newly reported cases remains high in the United States. In Hawaii, most new cases are among white males of 45 to 54 years old.

To curb juvenile delinquency, West Germany has passed a law forbidding anyone under 18 from attending cabarets, variety shows or pinball parlors.