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NEWSLETTER - STATEMENT OF ASSEMBLYMAN AUGUSTUS F. HAWKINS TO
U. S. COMMISSION ON CIVIL RIGHTS - LOS ANGELES
STATE BUILDING - JANUARY 25, 1960
Civil Rights Legislation has produced better living and more opportunities for all in California declared Assemblyman Augustus
F. Hawkins in testifying before the Federal Civil Rights Commission in Los Angeles this week.
"Our State throughout its early history upheld segregation and discrimination", he reminded the Commission, "but in recent
years we have found that Civil Rights pay dividends in both money and a more contented people."
Evidence was then presented to show that the passage of Civil Rights legislation in this State had relieved social tensions,
increased employment, and improved business conditions. Statements were introduced from the State Economic Development Agency
and the State Chamber of Commerce which predict California faces in 1960 one of its "most robust and dynamic years."
"As yet we have not achieved full equality in California", Hawkins said, "but recent declarations of state policy indicate
that we do not support racial and religious discrimination in any phase of our life: employment, housing, public accomodation,
education or any other. Legislation to back up this policy is being enacted rapidly."
Hawkins illustrated the evils involved in discrimination by revealing the practices followed by certain insurance companies
that refuse to write either fire or automobile insurance in postal zones where minorities live. This discrimination,
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he pointed out is only possible because of housing segregation which forces minority people to live in crowded ghettoes.
Among other evils of the same housing conditions he described are inability to obtain credit or medical care, inferior transportation,
and school "segregation".
Hawkins also disclosed the results of recent studies on registration and voting by Los Angeles' "Eastside" minority population
which revealed a fairly high registration, one comparable to the city average as a whole or between 46 and 49 percent of the
total population. Actual voting among minorities, however, tended to be much lower. The big difference, Hawkins pointed out,
was due primarily to the high mobility of minority people seeking better housing conditions and trying to escape the evils
of segregation. Thus, while they had moved, many persons under California law remained registered even though they had not
voted at their old address.
Assemblyman Hawkins concluded his statement with a summary of State laws passed by the 1959 California Legislature including
Fair Employment Practices (FEPC), Fair Housing, and improvements in our Civil Rights Act. Such legislation, he predicted,
will materially assist our State to maintain a sound economy and become even more prosperous.
The Commission on Civil Rights is conducting hearings in Los Angeles and San Francisco as part of its nation-wide investigation
into voting, housing, employment, education and other phases of the over-all civil rights picture. The hearings, when concluded,
are expected to result in stronger Federal laws to provide equal protection and greater opportunities for all without regard
to race, color or religion.