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themselves in violation of OEO regulations on nepotism, disclosure of criminal records, and hiring of persons already employed.
The CHAIRMAN. So they did not hire a staff; they hired themselves?
The CHAIRMAN. And gave themselves positions as shown here on the chart?
Mrs. HERLIHY. That is right.
Mrs. HERLIHY. It is our position that WYEAC staff has not changed materially. As for program, the Greater Wilmington Development Council, the group now raising private funds for WYEAC has stated that they are still continuing their efforts to develop a sound program and this statement was made as late as July 1968.
The CHAIRMAN. For a year after the expenditure of this money there has been no sound program developed, according to the Greater Wilmington Development Center?
Mrs. HERLIHY. They were still continuing their efforts they said to develop a sound program.
The CHAIRMAN. As late as July of this year.
The CHAIRMAN. But all this money has been spent without a sound program yet?
Mrs. HERLIHY. That is right, sir. WYEAC made representation to the effect that it could reach youth who were hostile and suspicious, the kind of example members of WYEAC set for young black men who are out of touch with society is open to question.
For instance, members of WYEAC continue to violate the law. Newspaper articles revealed at least 22 out of about the 50 to 60 paid staff members that I knew of had been arrested for a variety of crimes since June 1967, some of them for more than one offense. At least seven of them are known to have been in situations involving guns.
WYEAC continues to hire persons accused of serious crimes of violence.
WYEAC runs several youth centers. One of them, B.J.'s Corner, has been the scene of fights and disturbances and still is.
After a near fatal beating and stabbing of a young serviceman who visited the center, B.J.'s Corner was closed.
The CHAIRMAN. Is this one of the centers? Mrs. HERLIHY. This is one of the centers. The CHAIRMAN. It closed after this incident? Mrs. HERLIHY. Yes. The CHAIRMAN. Why was it closed ? Mrs. HERLIHY. As I heard it they closed it voluntarily just a short while before the police came in to close it. It had gotten such a reputation for violence and incidents that they closed it after this incident.
The CHAIRMAN. This is one of the centers operated by this money and by the people on the staff?
Mrs. HERLIHY. Yes.
Mrs. HERLIHY. This is the one at 28th and Claymont, I believe it is. The CHAIRMAN. Do you know the name it goes by?
Mrs. HERLIHY. It was originally B.J.'s Corner but I don't know that it is being called that now except that it is part of the group of centers that WYEAC runs.
The CHAIRMAN. It has been reopened?
Mrs. HERLIHY. It has been reopened. The windows in the building have had to be replaced a number of times. Work in progress inside the building has been wrecked and the Catholic diocese is reported to have spent a substantial sum of money in maintaining the building to repair the damages caused by the users.
Tho CHAIRMAN. Who are the users?
The CHAIRMAN. The Catholic diocese has been spending money to repair it?
Mrs. HERLIHY. That is what has been reported to me. The CHAIRMAN. Do we have somebody who will know about that? Will the police know about it?
Mr. MANNIX. I am not sure. We will check it out.
(Additional information may be found in the files of the subcommittee.)
The CHAIRMAN. Well, check it out.
I am not doubting you. The point I am making is that if these things are facts I want them definitely established. I am not questioning your truthfulness in any way but some of these things are things that have been reported to you.
Mrs. HERLIHY. That is right.
The CHAIRMAN. It is information which has come to you. If we can get positive proof rather than general information that may have come to you, why, we want to get that into the record, too.
Mrs. HERLIHY. Recently a man using the public telephone booth next to B.J.'s Corner was beaten by persons who claimed that the telephone belonged to B.J.'s Corner and nobody else could use it.
The CHAIRMAN. Was that a public telephone?
Mrs. HERLIHY. I have been informed that members of WYEAC have resorted to extortion methods on small businessmen of local neighborhood stores.
The CHAIRMAN. Do we have positive proof of that?
Mr. Mannix. We checked into it. There was a study made by an individual investigator. We are in the process of pursuing that further at this time.
The CHAIRMAN. We have found in the experience of this committee, particularly in investigating incidents like blackmail and threats and extortion, that the victims, of course, are put in a state of fear and they are reluctant to give the information, to come and testify, even to report to the police, because they are being told, “Burn, baby,
burn." You know what that means when they have their life's sarings invested in a little business. I just use that as one illustration of the warning given. They know what it means. They are reluctant, in other words, and the course of least resistance for them, they hope, will be ultimately the safest course for them. Therefore, they do not report these things. Even in instances where we were able to get information that we were almost positive was true, and they may quietly admit it did happen, they say, "I'm not going to testify and get burned out or get my head bashed in." We have a lot of that. We know it goes on. It is from an element like that being financed here; this frequently is the element in our society that is doing these things.
I am not pointing my finger at any individual here. I don't know, but we who are doing this work learn a great deal sometimes that we can't actually prove and put in the record. So we have a problem; the citizen has a problem. He does not know what to do. He is threatened with bodily harm. He may be maimed for life, maybe, or lose all of his life's savings, and suffer harassments, and so forth. He is in a quandary. He just does the best he can, what he thinks is best for himself in a decision like that.
Very well, proceed.
Mrs. HERLIHY. The same thing happened here, that the persons involved did not come forward to make complaints because they do fear retribution. Mr. Joseph Bradshaw, chairman of the Governor's Committee on Civil Unrest, referred to this situation, the general situation, as far as extortion, in a letter to Gov. Charles L. Terry, Jr., which appeared in the local newspapers. I have a copy of part of that lengthy newspaper article which states his views as far as reports of persons demanding money on extortion.
The CHAIRMAN. That may be printed in the record at this point. It is very short.
(The newspaper article follows:) Joseph A. Bradshaw, as chairman, had forwarded copies of reports by five subcommittees to Gov. Charles L. Terry, Jr., over the weekend, along with a covering letter expressing his personal views on the problems of civil unrest.
In one section of the covering letter, Bradshaw stated, “During the recent riots in Wilmington (late in July, many liquor stores were broken into and burned. There is definite evidence of extortion and blackmail.
“We have received reports that young Negroes have demanded as much as $300 from owners in order not to burn down their stores. We do not know of any arrests that have been made because of extortion or blackmail."
Wilmington Police Chief Paul J. Tidwell said yesterday he knew nothing about such charges and that no arrests had been made.
Bradshai's letter was made public yesterday by the governor who later said that the first time he knew about it was yesterday morning.
The CHAIRMAN. You may proceed.
Mrs. HERLIHY. On September 11, 1967, Mr. George Brown, director of WYEAC, made the statement that WYEAC "made streets safe for people to walk at night.” It is now 1 year later and the people of Wilmington were not only afraid to walk the streets at night then, they are even more afraid now.
The CHAIRMAN. Who was it who made that claim!
The CHAIRMAN. The man up here that has an indication after his name that he was arrested before and has been arrested since ?
Mrs. HERLIHY. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. He is trying to make the streets safe, I guess, by having himself arrested; is that what we are to infer!
Mrs. HERLIHY. Attacks and muggings have increased to such an extent that just recently the mayor of Wilmington announced increased police patrol.
The CHAIRMAN. You know this; this is a fact you know?
The CHAIRMAX. Has it been because of the increased violence toward persons ?
Mrs. HERLIHY. That is right.
The CHAIRMAN. This is the program that is supposed to reduce crime and reduce tensions and rehabilitate these wayward gangs?
Mrs. HERLIHY. That is right.
The CHAIRMAN. Can you testify from your personal knowledge that it is having that effect, or is actually ineffective!
Mrs. HERLIHY. I would say it is ineffective, Senator, if that is supposed to be one of the results.
The CHAIRMAX. This certainly strongly supports what you have said. I assume there may be other testimony along that line.
Mrs. HERLIHY. WYEAC members have always pointed out they are not a riot control group.
The CHAIRMAN. They are not a riot control group. If anything happens, don't depend on them? Mrs. HERLIHY. That is right.
The CHAIRMAN. They are not going to participate in helping to enforce the law?
Mrs. HERLIHY. But they did claim they could work with the youth of the streets.
The CHAIRMAX. What kind of work with the youth of the streets? Mrs. IIERLIHY. I don't know.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, they have their own methods. Sometimes they can be effective.
Mrs. HERLIHY. Yes, sometimes.
Mrs. HEILIUY. Since the advent of WYEAC there is no evidence that this group has made any impact on the youth of the streets that is constructive or that WYEAC has been a steadying influence on young black youth. Recently a situation existing in the Wilmington public schools has come to the public notice. It seems the number of attacks, incidents of extortion and threats have been going on both inside and outside school buildings involving schoolchildren mainly of junior high and senior high school age. For the most part it is reported that black vouth have been the ones making the threats and attacking white youth. This problem has been in the making for some time. There is no evidence that I know of that WYEAC either through example or through direct intervention has concerned itself with an increasingly explosive situation.
The CHAIRMAN. You know of nothing it has done to try to eliminate this problem?
Mrs. HERLIHY. Not by WYEAC, that I know of.
Mrs. HERLIHY. If WYEAC were doing a job and were having an impact on hostile black youth the problems in the Wilmington school should have decreased, not increased. Whatever the impact of WYEAC, it has not served to assist the community in arriving at methods to work with black youth who are antisocial, unless one believes that a payoff is the answer to antisocial behavior.
It is my firm conviction that WYEAC has not succeeded as a project. Too many of its staff members continue to violate the law. The neighborhoods served by WYEAC have become notorious for mugg. ings and attacks which says very little for what WYEAC has been able to accomplish. To have WYEAC considered as an example for black youth or as providing leadership for them is to consign black youth to the continued tyranny of the gang.
It is my belief that under no circumstances should public funds be given to WYEAC and that WYEAC should not be continued.
The CHAIRMAN. We thank you very much. You have been a very impressive witness. I am not prepared to say whether all your testimony can be substantiated. As we proceed with hearing other witnesses there will be some who certainly are in a position to know, to have even better knowledge than you have about some of the things about which you have testified, and some of them will be here to testify.
May I say if your testimony is substantiated by those who are absolutely in a position to know-of course, you are in a position to know some things about which you testified, but I am talking about the worsening of conditions and that the impact has not been productive of anything constructive from WYEAC—if your testimony and your observations and conclusions are correct, the money has gone to people for their support and maintenance who are not concerned about the community but who are more or less parasites on the community. Is that correct?
Mrs. HERLIHY. That is what I believe.
The CHAIRMAN. And our taxpayers' money is being used to support them.
Mrs. HERLIHY. That is right.
The CHAIRMAN. Notwithstanding, as you say, that OEO knew of these complaints and the charges that these conditions were developing even last year before it gave
an additional grant of funds. Mrs. HERLIHY. That is right. The CHAIRMAN. And it was warned of it.
I will ask you further: did you ever see OEO officials from here, inspectors, anyone coming up there to check on the situation?
Mrs. HERLIHY. Mr. Pitts came last summer. Of course, I have not been associated with the poverty program since September.
The CHAIRMAN. I would like to ask the staff if we have reports that are on file with the OEO in respect to this project.
Mr. ADLERMAN. Senator, we made a request in writing to them on the 25th.
The CHAIRMAN. We have requested them?
Mr. ADLERMAN. That is right. We received a letter 3 or 4 days ago saying that they will send it to us. We have not received it yet.