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FOR RELEASE THURSDAY, May 19, 1949
Assemblyman Augustus F. Hawkins has served notice that the fight for Fair Employment Practices is still on, despite a temporary set-back suffered in an Assembly committee last week.
The Lower House unit, after a lengthy and noisy hearing voted 11 to 8 against A.B. 3027. This measure, introduced by Assemblyman George Collins of San Francisco, would have established an FEPC patterned after the five-year old New York law prohibiting discrimination in employment.
More than two hundred representatives of labor, civic and church groups were in attendance. They booed loudly when one of the opposition speakers, Frank Doherty of Los Angeles, declared that riots would occur if Negroes were integrated into employment along-side southern whites.
Evidence in support of the bill showed that out of 90, 000 unemployed in Los Angeles County, 30, 000 were Negroes, and that not only is there discrimination in civil service but also in some labor unions and in numerous industries.
Hawkins, who has long been a leader in the FEPC fight, told of Governor Warren's position on this issue. Immediately preceding the hearing, Warren replied to Hawkins' request, issued several weeks ago, that he join in a bi-partisan FEPC bill. The Governor's answer flatly turned down FEPC at this session, indicating that his "recommendations and suggestions in the field of discrimination are embodied in A.B. 739."
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(A.B. 739, which would have established a commission to merely study discrimination, was rejected by the same committee hearing Collins' bill, with leaders of the Governor's own political party voting against it.)
Producing literature used in last November's campaign, which pledged both Republicans and Democrats to support FEPC, Hawkins announced that he would carry the fight to the Assembly as a whole and would demand action from both parties in living up to their campaign promises.
Hawkins' full statement follows:
"During recent elections each party accused the other of `double talking.' Each was for an FEPC. Now we are going to see just who is fooling the people. California needs such a law. We are not giving up because of this temporary set-back. Next year is an election year. We are going to demand that both parties perform now and we are going to judge them on the basis of results and not talk. Either they are going to live up to their campaign promises or we are going to expose them.
"The first show-down will be on a motion which we shall make to withdraw the Collins bill from Committee. We intend to make the roll call on FEPC the key vote on party responsibility. While we will support a strong legislative investigating committee as the last resort, we will not accept this as a fulfillment of last year's campaign promises. Employment and economic prosperity is the number one problem we face and we intend to fight for action on such a program at this session."