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Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 28, No. 12. 1965.

Living With Integration

page 15

Living With Integration

man on soapbox

For example, one area had 52 houses on it; servicing the needs of this community of 200 people were 2 taps with running cold water—no hot water was available, two outside toilets existed, all drains and sanitation were above ground. This area has, thankfully, been cleared and in its place are the Halls of Residence for Philander Smith College which house 200 Negro students. Houses for the displaced residents have been provided.

However, these displaced residents have been given no instruction in the use of sanitary facilities that we take for granted—baths, lavatories, running hot and cold water. As a result, some are abusing these facilities — and understandingly so. If this practice is widespread the now new housing areas may soon resemble the former ghettos.

If this results it will largely be through the short-sightedness of the Little Rock authorities, who redeveloped but failed to re-educate. A second tragic result could be reinforcement of the existing prejudices levelled against the Negro community.

3. A third feature that disappointed me was the absence of any State legislation which required landlords to keep their properties in an adequate state of repair.

If such legislation were promulgated, this would prevent the problems related to slum dwelling from ever occurring, and, consequently, the cost to the community of slum clearance would eventually diminish to vanishing point.

In fairness, I should note that to my knowledge such legislation does not exist in New Zealand: I should also note that to my knowledge such legislation could be of value to both communities.

Clear Progress

Clearly Little Rock has made progress in its plans for housing redevelopment: I have suggested that these plans could be still more effective if the deficiencies referred to above were taken account of and corrected. One of these deficiencies is largely responsible for the slow pace of racial integration in schools.

My overall impression is that the crisis at Little Rock has brought about some significant changes in that community's approach to its collective problems. I suggest to you that this impression is significantly different from the view presented by the mass media, particularly the press—in this case the New Zealand Press—which so often focusses its attention on irrelevant trivia and neglects, or pays scant attention to the real achievements that are being made. I hope that some of the balance has been redressed.