Interchange: In This Issue
By Betty Norwood Chaney
Vol. 1, No. 7, 1979, p. 2
On February 16-18, the Southern Regional Council (SRC) held its Annual Meeting in Atlanta at the Colony Square Hotel. This year the Council renewed its charter after 25 years of incorporation, and to commemorate the occasion presented a three-day conference on ” A New Charter for the South’s Future.”
The conference brought together a variety of distinguished participants from the fields of education, law, economics, civil rights and health care to review developments and conditions in the South. This issue of Southern Changes reports on that conference and reproduces three of the addresses made there.
Leslie Dunbar, former executive director of SRC and presently director of the Field Foundation, was one of a panel of three to speak on “The Role of the Law in the South.” The primary role of law in the South, he says, has been to keep Blacks “in their place.” In his presentation carried here, he offers four concerns that ought to be basic to the right role of law in the South.
In a discussion of “Human Rights: From the South to South Africa,” Wallace Terry, former Newsweek correspondent, now professor of journalism at Howard University, shares someof his experiences with Black troops in Viet Nam. He calls for an enlightened leadership which places human values above expediency and voiced his hopes and aspiration for the nation.
Secretary of Labor Ray Marshall, Saturday’s luncheon speaker, also talked of human rights. “The whole human rights movement is very important throughout the world, and it’s not dividible,” he says. “You cannot talk about human rights in other countries, and ignore them here.” His main concern, however, was about certain “universal imperatives,” inflation being one of them, that makes it difficult to help those who most need help.
In “Soapbox” this month, Steve Suits, publisher of Southern Changes and also executive director of SRC, reminds us that differences which continue to separate Southerners from one another on the basis of race and poverty remain deep and unyielding barriers. In looking toward a “new charter for the South’s future,” he cautions us that progress of the last 25 years must not plund us from the fact that our task is not complete. “Improvements,” he says, “are not final accomplishments.”
Our department pieces this month– education, rural and ruban development and Southern politics– also report on sessions from the conference and offer some perspectives on the future.
In addition, in this issue Bill Finger reports on recent J.P. Stevens and Company stockholders meeting in Greenville, S.C., and Alice Swift relays the activities of a small rural town in Georgia where the Black community is “coming to focus, demanding its rights.”