Black leaders paint opposite pictures of Carter
Two of the most prominent black leaders in the United States are painting very different pictures what the Carter administration has done for their people. Some of the much-sought black vote, which in 1976 played a crucial role in Mr. Carter's election, may be affected in this year's presidential primaries and election by which view is more widely accepted.
Vernon Jordan Jr., president of the Urban League, paints a gloomy picture of recent black progress.
Andrew Young, President Carter's former UN Ambassador, disagrees. Although conceding many problems persist for blacks, he puts the emphasis on Mr. Carter's appointment of blacks to federal judgeships and other key posts. "We got what we asked for," he says.
Mr. Jordan and Mr. Young spoke at a recent conference here honoring the late Dr. Martin Luthur King Jr.
Black votes played a large role in electing Mr. Carter in 1976.In a number of Southern states, his thin winning margin included a heavy black vote. Now Kennedy campaign strategists are counting on significant support from black voters in the 1980 Democrat primaries.
Since Mr. Carter's election, Mr. Jordan has openly criticized the President several times on his policy towards blacks. He has continued to emphasize what blacks have not yet acheiveD. Although it is not the Urban League's policy to endorse a presidential candidate, Mr. Jordan's latest criticism -- just before the primary season begins -- could influence black votes away from Mr. Carter.
Mr. Jordan sees a widening gap between the incomes of whites and blacks. He points to black adult unemployment rates significantly higher than whites' and to black teen-age jobless rates of more than 50 percent in cities. He contends racial discrimination in housing remains "rampant."
By contrast Mr. Young, who remains a strong Carter supporter, points to the President's appointment to key posts of more blacks -- many from the civil rights movement -- than in any previous administration.
"There's hardly an area of decision-making in the federal government where there are not [civil rights] movement people present," Mr. Young said at the recent conference. "We still have a long way to go, but we have not been standing still."