"Law and order" at large: the New York civilian review board referendum of 1966 and the crisis of liberalism.
The message was pointed and persuasive. A WCBS-TV poll taken on 4 November showed that a clear majority of those surveyed felt that the review board would hinder police performance. Four days later, buoyed by a near-record turnout--over two million voters cast ballots, more than in the 1964 presidential race--the referendum passed by an almost two-to-one margin. Of the five boroughs, only Manhattan narrowly voted to retain the board. (3) In the nation's largest and arguably most progressive city, which two years earlier had given Lyndon Johnson a decisive victory and sent Robert Kennedy comfortably to the U.S. Senate, a measure identified by supporters as an extension of the civil rights cause and endorsed by every prominent liberal politician and organization had met decisive defeat.
The outcome was not unexpected. (4) But it was nonetheless a stunning victory for conservatives and a stunning blow for liberals--a clear indication of the divisions and disenchantment within their own ranks. The review board referendum, contested under the spotlight of the nation's media capital, reflected the growing perception among urban whites that personal security was now a critical issue. The election also highlighted the increasing unwillingness of local Democrats to accept the racial liberalism of the national party. And the result reinforced trends from across the nation, including California, where Republican newcomer Ronald Reagan handily defeated incumbent Democrat Edmund Brown. (5) By 1966 the politics of "law and order" had exposed serious cracks in the New Deal electoral coalition--cracks that would widen significantly by 1968.
But when, precisely, and why, exactly, did urban white voters begin to desert the Democratic Party and embrace the Republican Party--or abandon electoral politics altogether? The question has generated a healthy debate among scholars and commentators. Thomas and Mary Edsall, authors of Chain Reaction, identify the critical moment as the 1960s and the main cause as the white reaction to the civil rights movement and Johnson administration programs. The Democratic Party, they and others contend, then compounded the crisis by responding to the grievances and demands of a black militant minority while ignoring the fears and desires of a white "silent majority." (6)
Historian Thomas Sugrue argues, however, that urban antiliberalism predated the Johnson administration and determined the "politics of race and neighborhood" in the North in the 1940s and 1950s. In The Origins of the Urban Crisis, he details how opposition to racial integration dominated local elections even in Detroit, where liberal organizations such as the United Auto Workers presumably held sway. Therefore, the conservative backlash of the 1960s was not, according to Sugrue, "the unique product of the white rejection of the Great Society. Instead it was the culmination of more than two decades of simmering white discontent and extensive antiliberal political organization." (7)
Neither interpretation is wholly persuasive. Sugrue has convincingly documented the existence and virulence of northern racism at the municipal level. But the disintegration of the New Deal coalition at the national level was not inevitable. Prior to the early 1960s, many urban whites in effect split their ballots. They balanced support for conservative local candidates opposed to residential integration with support for liberal national candidates committed to civil rights. (8) More importantly, both the Edsalls and Sugrue place too much emphasis on the role of racism and too little on the role of security. The unravelling of the liberal political coalition was not simply the result of a racial backlash against civil rights. It was largely due to the growing sense among whites that liberal programs could not ensure personal security or contain social disorder. By 1966 the distance between voters and issues had narrowed as anxiety over the loss of public safety had increased. (9) In that process, the review board clash was a defining moment, the fault line where local concerns and national commitments diverged.
Race was at the heart of the referendum. But it was not racial bigotry per se; rather it was the perception that personal safety was now of necessity a political priority. (10) This sense had emerged in part as a result of demographic developments. During the 1950s, black migration and Puerto Rican immigration considerably altered the complexion of New York, making boroughs like Brooklyn significantly poorer and younger, less white and more minority. In the 1950s almost 500,000 whites left Brooklyn, which in 1950 was 90 percent white, 7.6 percent black, and less than 2 percent Puerto Rican. By 1960, it was below 80 percent white, with blacks and Puerto Ricans now 14.1 and 6.9 percent of the population, respectively. By the late 1960s the Jewish population in Brownsville (a section of Brooklyn) had shrunk from over 175,000 in the 1940s to less than 5,000. Even the Hebrew Educational Society had moved to nearby Canarsie. (11)
At the same time, the crime rate skyrocketed among youths of color, who numbered disproportionately among both the victims and perpetrators. According to NYPD figures, arrests of juveniles rose 60 percent between 1952 and 1957. Blacks (10 percent of the population) constituted 30 percent of the arrests. Puerto Ricans (6 percent of the population) accounted for 10 percent. (12) Like all crime statistics, the data were and are subject to challenge. (13) But by the end of the decade, the perception that all muggers were minorities was commonplace and the mainstream media no longer hesitated to report the apparent conjunction of race and crime. "They are afraid to say so in public," reported Time in an influential 1958 article, "but many of the North's big-city mayors groan in private that their biggest and most worrisome problem is the crime rate among Negroes." (14)
A concurrence of events in 1964 decisively and permanently shattered the public silence. In April, City Councilman Ted Weiss of the Upper West Side, acting largely in response to civil rights activism, introduced a proposal to transform the all-police review board into an all-civilian review board reporting directly to the mayor, not the police commissioner. A statement of doctrinaire liberal thought, the measure stood little chance of passage but produced a heated reaction from the NYPD that anticipated later PBA rhetoric. At the hearings on the proposal, Commissioner Michael Murphy said the allegations of police brutality were "maliciously inspired" and came from "self aggrandizing, self appointed leaders" who "either through a lust for power or for more sinister motives" have launched a "planned pattern of attack against the police." Their "blind assertions," he added, "[are] aimed at destroying respect for law and order and are in effect, calculated mass libel of the police." (15)
Meanwhile, a wave of crime had created a wave of fear among whites. In the first six months of the year, murders rose 16.6 percent, rapes and robberies by 28 and 29 percent, respectively. Subway crime jumped by almost 30 percent. And even if the statistics were illusory, the fear was real, as specific incidents provoked widespread alarm. On 21 April, a group of Jewish children was attacked by a gang of fifty black teenagers. On 10 May, the police confirmed the existence of the "Blood Brothers," a black gang in Harlem believed responsible for the murder of four whites. And over Memorial Day weekend twenty black teens vandalized and terrorized a subway train, beating and robbing passengers at random. These events, warned the conservative National Review on 16 July, represented more than just a deluge of delinquency: "What is happening, or is about to happen--let us face it--is race war." (16)
That afternoon an off-duty officer in plainclothes shot and killed a black teenager allegedly armed with a knife. The incident involved Lieutenant Thomas Gilligan, a seventeen-year veteran with a distinguished record, and James Powell, a fifteen-year-old summer-school student with a juvenile record. It occurred in Yorkville, a predominantly white section of Upper Manhattan, after the officer intervened in a dispute between a white superintendent and black teenagers congregated outside his building across the street from Robert Wagner Junior High School. (17) In the wake of the shooting, tensions quickly mounted. In Harlem two days later, a peaceful demonstration escalated into a violent confrontation with police. In the end, after three more nights of rioting in Manhattan and Brooklyn, one person was dead (a black ex-convict), 141 were injured (including 48 officers), and 519 were arrested. (18)
The Harlem Riot cast a long and wide shadow. As the first major riot of the 1960s, it assured that "police brutality"--with racial overtones--would have a prominent place in the public vocabulary. It also made riot prevention or causation a central theme in the debate over the civilian review board, whose necessity was now beyond doubt according to black leaders such as James Farmer, who contended that the riot was at bottom "a war between the citizens of Harlem and the police." (19) But white liberals were divided. On the one hand, they were uncertain whether the denial of civil liberties, economic opportunity, or racial equality was the root cause. (20) On the other, they were uncertain whether the creation of a civilian review board would hinder or encourage future disorders. (21)
Conservatives harbored no such doubts. Ironically, the shooting that triggered the Harlem Riot had occurred within hours of Barry Goldwater's acceptance speech to the Republican convention, an event that placed "crime in the streets" firmly on the national agenda and crystallized the conservative critique of "law and order." (22) During his postconvention campaign, Goldwater studiously avoided direct assaults on the Civil Rights Act. Previously, he had condemned the legislation as a fundamental violation of property rights and personal freedom, the twin pillars of citizenship as he defined it. Instead, he now explicitly linked urban disorder to the doctrine of civil disobedience popularized by the civil rights movement. Because Lyndon Johnson had condoned and even applauded civil rights demonstrators when they violated what they viewed as unjust and immoral laws, argued Goldwater, many citizens now "accept as normal the use of riots, demonstrations, boycotts, violence, pressures, civil disorder, and disobedience as an approach to serious national problems." Behind this breakdown in civic order, Goldwater continued, was the liberal welfare state, which promoted dependency at the expense of opportunity and responsibility. (23)
By targeting liberalism as the ultimate source of these problems, Goldwater implicitly downplayed the differences between street crime, urban riots, and political demonstrations, blending these distinct phenomena into a single, common threat to a society of decency, security, and harmony--in short, to a society of "law and order." (24) The critique resonated both as a social ideal and political slogan precisely because of its amorphous quality, its ability to represent different concerns to different people at different moments. Moreover, it identified a clear, if undifferentiated, set of villains (violent protesters, rioters, and criminals), offered a unified explanation for their actions (above all the doctrine of civil disobedience and the paternalism of the welfare state), and implied a simple yet effective response (moral leadership from the president, firm rulings from the judiciary, and limited government). (25) Appeals to "law and order" also enabled conservatives to paint liberals into a corner: How could advocates of civil liberties and civil rights effectively differentiate between criminal behavior and civil disobedience, between lawful demonstrations and unlawful riots, between actual crime and irrational fear, without appearing to side with the supposed villains rather than their victims?
The political climate in 1964 was not conducive to Goldwater's candidacy or his invocation of "law and order." But the following year Conservative Party candidate William F. Buckley brought the issue to the streets and voters of New York during his campaign for mayor. Adapting the critique to his own ends, he employed a Cold War analogy that undoubtedly resonated with those convinced that the review board (like the Harlem Riot) was a communist plot to weaken and discredit law enforcement. Equating liberals with fellow travelers, he emphasized how liberals, who had once jeopardized national security, now threatened personal security by providing aid and comfort to criminals. (26)
According to Buckley, liberals also enabled criminals to escape punishment by endorsing the Warren Court's expansive view of "due process." Moreover, they handcuffed police officers by trumpeting cries of "police brutality" regardless of proof, and contributed to the loss of public respect for "law and order" by excusing "political" violence in the name of favored causes. Seeking constantly to enlarge the state's role regardless of consequence, liberals overlooked how its first and foremost duty was to protect the public from individuals who were active agents of evil, not passive victims of society. Above all, they exalted the absolute rights of individuals in general and criminals in particular over the abstract rights of the community in general and victims in particular, who "unlike those who are arraigned and charged with having committed the offenses [were] victims of injustice beyond a reasonable doubt." (27) Buckley thus sought to counter the liberal rhetoric of unconditional rights by positing a form of conditional citizenship contingent upon adherence to community norms. In the end, he garnered less than 13 percent of the votes cast in 1965. But Buckley nonetheless provided an ideological prism through which many anxious whites, including disenchanted liberals, could relate the apparent chaos and anarchy in their neighborhoods and communities to larger developments in the country as a whole. (28) The stage was set for 1966.
A tangled web of events preceded the referendum battle. During the 1965 mayoral race, Lindsay proposed adding four civilians to the three deputy police commissioners who were already members--a moderate position compared to that held by those who demanded either a board composed only of police personnel or a board composed entirely of civilians. (29) Nevertheless, PBA President John J. Cassese vowed to fight the plan to the end even if the association had to exhaust its $1.5 million treasury. (30) Undeterred, Lindsay and Police Commissioner Howard Leary announced in May 1966 the creation, by executive order, of a board with four civilian and three NYPD members. (31) With civilian review an immediate reality, the PBA in June first introduced a bill in the state legislature to reverse the order and then tried in vain to get a court injunction. Finally, the union circulated petitions and gathered almost 100,000 signatures to place a referendum opposing the executive order on the ballot in the fall.
Worried liberals now mobilized. First, they formed the Federated Association for Impartial Review (FAIR), which endorsed civilian review and attracted support from civil rights and civil liberties organizations across the city. Second, liberals chose to take the PBA to court. "There seems little question," concluded a New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) Board of Directors meeting, "that if the referendum were to be voted on today it would pass overwhelmingly.... The chances for influencing public opinion to vote against the PBA proposal in November do not appear overly bright." The hope was that a legal fight, even a losing one, would aid a later court challenge, as it had in California. There the state's supreme court had permitted an open housing referendum (Proposition 14) in 1964, then had ruled it unconstitutional after voters had endorsed it. But the legal challenge to the referendum failed, costing FAIR precious time and money on the eve of the political campaign that fall. It also betrayed the growing isolation of liberals, who were either unable or unwilling to contest directly the increasing populism of conservatives. (32)
In the fall of 1966, both sides nevertheless tried at first to lower the heat and court the moderate middle. The mayor's office, for instance, kept minority campaigners and board members in the background to dispel the idea that civilian review was a "protective agent" for them. The PBA, in turn, took steps to muzzle the blunt Cassese, who had made a series of inflammatory statements. "Racial minorities would not be satisfied until you get all Negroes and Puerto Ricans on the board and every policeman who goes in front of it is found guilty," he declared at one point, adding that he was "sick and tired of giving in to minority groups." After the outburst, the PBA replaced him as chief spokesman with the well-spoken and well-dressed Norman Frank, the association's public relations director and a former TV producer. It is testament to Frank's oratorical skills and telegenic appeal that the handsome and articulate Lindsay declined to debate him one-on-one on television. (33)
But as the election neared, the rhetorical heat rose. Conservative opponents of the review board contended that it was a direct outgrowth of the Communist Party platform of 1935. (34) Liberal supporters responded by charging that the opposition harbored Nazi sympathizers. At one point Lindsay complained bitterly that a visitor to Yorkville (site of the shooting that had ignited the Harlem Riot) would have neo-Nazi literature thrust at him on every street corner. Anda leaflet prepared by the American Jewish Congress listed the American Nazi Party among those organizations opposing the review board. (35)
Late in the campaign, FAIR also raised the possibility that the referendum contained a "sleeper clause" that would insulate the NYPD from all graft and corruption investigations. The allegation was false. But it reinforced the contention that the referendum would somehow lead to a police state--an inflammatory charge with supposed special appeal for Jewish voters. (36) Nevertheless, these issues were sideshows. Because the shadow of the Harlem Riot loomed over the referendum, the flashpoints of race and crime, civil rights and civil disorders, were impossible to avoid. (37) The end result was conclusive proof of how, by 1966, the politics of "law and order" had united conservatives and divided liberals in New York and across the nation.
Opponents of a civilian review board insisted that it would hinder the ability of police to respond to future disorders. A PBA television commercial surveyed damage allegedly caused by the Harlem Riot, with the announcer commenting that "the police were so careful to avoid accusations that they were virtually powerless." The assertion undoubtedly proved particularly compelling to those whites whose suspicions about the origins of the Harlem
Riot reinforced their doubts about the rationale behind the board. "Attacks on our policemen strike a blow at the very heart of law & order," declared one neighborhood flyer. "Does the policeman protect the law-abiding citizen? OF COURSE, he does. Then WHO is calling for the chains to shackle our police? Who is screaming 'police brutality'? ... WHO WANTS A CIVILIAN REVIEW BOARD?" (38) Presumably the answer was obvious.
Supporters portrayed civilian review as a riot preventive because it would improve police-community relations. (39) In private, Lindsay met with Cassese and told him that he would hold him responsible if the PBA inflamed racial tensions. "I put it to him and Norman Frank. I told them that if anything happened in NY--if there was a blowup--they would be responsible," Lindsay later told his press secretary. "I think they were a little floored. I hit them where it hurt. I don't know if their position will soften any, but I asked them to give it a chance. I really socked it to them. We'll have to wait and see if it did any good." (40) It wouldn't. In public, Lindsay also took the offensive, noting proudly that the civilian review board had not kept the NYPD from keeping the peace in the summer of 1966. (41) Yet his boast may have backfired, ironically adding to the racial cast of the measure and reinforcing the conservatire conflation of crime and riots. It also helped make civilian review a cause celebre among conservatives nationally, with the PBA receiving donations from wealthy individuals and a network of newly politicized police organizations. H. L. Hunt of Dallas contributed a reported $10,000. More than fifty police unions from across the country sent financial donations and supportive telegrams to the PBA. And in July 1966 the International Association of Police Chiefs (IACP) passed a resolution reaffirming its strong opposition to a civilian review board. (42)
Liberals likewise tried to generate national support for civilian review by stressing the national implications of the referendum. One strategy employed by FAIR and Lindsay was to make the confrontation an ideological litmus test, a question of whether the commitment to civil rights remained paramount. "This is an historic moment," said Lindsay at the Overseas Press Club. "Perhaps the most important fight I have ever seen. I am appalled to discover, after passage of many civil rights bills, that many of the wonderful liberals are slightly doctrinaire, it appears. This fight is the guts of it. This separates the men from the boys." Billing the board as a model for the country, he also hailed it for demonstrating "to the entire country that our police can function with unparalleled effectiveness with the new review procedures." (43)
In October, Senator Jacob Javits tried a new tack. Highlighting for liberals the danger of defeat, he warned that the referendum was "the most important issue of the ultra-conservative cause in this country." Then he and fellow-senator Robert Kennedy released an Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Report, prepared at their request, purporting to show that right-wing groups like the John Birch Society (JBS) were actively campaigning against the review board and had successfully recruited as many as five hundred policemen to their ranks. The JBS had launched a "Support Your Local Police" campaign because it believed that the civil rights movement was "inspired, planned, and controlled" by communists, who sought to foment racial strife, lawlessness, and disorder to discredit local law enforcement and compel the creation of a national police force. The campaign also enabled the JBS to raise needed funds (through the sale of bumper stickers and buttons) and to recruit new members (often policemen). When, for example, it sponsored a Town Hall rally against civilian review, a crowd of almost five hundred gathered, many if not most off-duty officers with PBA badges. (44)
The tactic of making the referendum a national plebiscite produced limited results as prominent liberals moved to distance themselves from the measure. In California, Democratic Governor Edmund Brown, buffeted by the legacy of Watts and locked in a heated race with former actor Ronald Reagan, said that he opposed civilian review boards. (45) In Washington, the Johnson administration offered Leary and the NYPD financial assistance through the new Law Enforcement Administration Agency. (46) But in midOctober Vice President Hubert Humphrey created a minicontroversy when he either damned civilian review boards with faint praise or offered a lukewarm endorsement of them in a speech to the International Association of Chiefs of Police. Noting that he had handled the matter himself when he was mayor of Minneapolis, he said in a "clarification" on the ABC-TV program Issues and Answers that "I don't have any particular antipathy or any particular antagonism towards a civilian review board, providing that the Mayor still assumes the ultimate responsibility for his police department." The appearance, which included the phrase "I just don't want a civilian review board to be one that undermines the authority of the police," satisfied few liberals. (47) The President's Crime Commission even chose, for the sake of consensus, to duck the issue of civilian review altogether--but not before Executive Director James Vorenberg learned, at a San Francisco Press Club meeting packed with law enforcement officers, just how controversial the issue was. The first question posed to him after his speech concerned his opinion of civilian review. He said it was too early to say. Police Chief Tom Cahill (a member of the commission) then stood and received a standing ovation after he delivered a diatribe that ended with these words: "As far as I am concerned, as far as San Francisco is concerned, you can forget about civilian review boards." (48)
Few whites in New York--particularly those in Brooklyn and Queens--could or would forget about the issue. From the outset, liberals assumed that Catholic voters would oppose civilian review because of their deep personal and professional ties to the NYPD, which was dominated by Italian and, above all, Irish officers. (49) Jewish voters, who had historically supported civil rights, thus became the critical constituency for FAIR. But lower-middle-class and working-class Jews in the outer boroughs were wary of civilian review--a fact highlighted when the Bronx chapters of the American Jewish Congress voted unanimously to disregard the parent body's endorsement of the board. And even professional Jews with college degrees, higher incomes, and Manhattan addresses proved reluctant to back civilian review unless they combined an overriding commitment to civil rights with a strong sense of personal security. At Temple Rodeph Shalom in the heart of the Upper West Side, for example, congregants barraged Lindsay's press secretary with questions about why the mayor always seemed to side with lawless minorities against law-abiding taxpayers. (50)
Ultimately, despite liberal efforts to cast civilian review as a referendum on racism--"DON'T BE A YES MAN FOR BIGOTRY--VOTE NO" read thousands of posters--55 percent of Jews sided with their Catholic neighbors and voted against the board. The scale of the Jewish defection and the scope of the liberal defeat were startling. A sample of white ethnics in Brooklyn by the American Jewish Congress revealed how and why it had happened. Only 40 percent of Jewish voters had voted for it--evidence of class-based ideological divisions within the Jewish community and symptomatic of the overall lack of liberal enthusiasm for the measure. Over 80 percent of Catholics had voted against the review board--a level of support higher than John Kennedy had received in 1960. And over 60 percent of those who had backed Johnson in 1964 now took their cue from Goldwater supporters and opposed what they saw as a dangerous restraint on the NYPD. (51) The survey revealed that class, race, and fear were significant factors. Those with college degrees split on the issue. Only those in technical or professional occupations opposed the referendum--and by the narrow margin of 52 to 47 percent. The survey also found that although most whites associated blacks with crime and disorder, they rejected more extreme racial stereotypes and prejudice. But it was fear, above all, that united whites in Brooklyn, only 25 percent of whom stated that they felt "very safe" after dark and were not afraid of having their homes invaded. The comparable figure for all Americans was 50 percent. (52) By contrast, as expected, the minority vote was heavily in favor of civilian review, although precise figures are not available. No exit polls of blacks and Puerto Ricans appear to exist. The vote totals for certain heavily minority districts seem to confirm the conclusion, however. In South Harlem, the margin was 10,507 to 3,332 in favor of the review board; in Central Harlem, it was 11,044 to 2,658; and in Harlem, it was 15,206 to 3,255. In Brooklyn similar figures were reported from Bedford-Stuyvesant, where the margin was three-to-one, and from Williamsburg, where it was almost four-to-one. (53)
Within the PBA itself, the only significant support for civilian review came from the Correctionaires (representing 1,000 blacks in the Corrections Department) and the Guardians (representing 1,300 black officers). Together, they called it a "most important step toward wiping out the fears and the unequal treatment suffered by the members of our minority group." The groups noted that the PBA "has publicly stated that Negro police officers were putting the color of their skin before the color of their uniforms" on this issue. Therefore, the organizations added, "As long as we are all identified as Negro law enforcement personnel, and not just officers of the law; and as long as our brothers and sisters are suffering unequal treatment, we will maintain this position." After the referendum the president and chairman of the Guardians filed a suit against the PBA alleging illegal use of their dues. (54)
Nevertheless, it is not clear how seriously blacks viewed the problem of "police brutality." After the Harlem Riot the New York Times asked residents this question: "Do you believe police brutality is a problem?" In response, 43 percent said that they believed police brutality existed. But only 12 percent of blacks surveyed said that there was "a lot" of it. By contrast, 31 percent said that there was "a little" and 57 percent responded with "none at all," "not sure," or "no answer." And a confidential survey conducted for Roy Wilkins and the NAACP in August 1966 revealed that Harlem residents considered street crime and poor housing more important issues than police brutality. "[I]t's important to observe," concluded the report, "that when people talked about 'problems in Harlem' or even 'problems in my block,' the mention of integrated schools, busing, police brutality, or some other problems which are usually considered to be of significance just don't get much attention or mention."
The data revealed no significant differences on the basis of gender or race (African American versus Puerto Rican). (55)
Nor is it clear that civilian review enjoyed universal support within the black community. For moderates like Martin Luther King, the police tolerance of ghetto crime was the real problem. "Permissive crime in ghettos is the nightmare of the slum family," he wrote after Watts in 1965. "Permissive crime is the name for the organized crime that flourishes in the ghetto--designed, directed, and cultivated by white national crime syndicates operating numbers, narcotics, and prostitution rackets freely in the protected sanctuaries of the ghettos." For radicals like Eldridge Cleaver, civilian review provided a rallying point for the black bourgeoisie only, disguising how the police were merely the instrument of those who waged social, economic, and political brutality against minorities in America and Vietnam. And for conservatives, the main threat was violent crime, which affected minorities the most and warranted better policing, harsher sentences, and more black officers. "There is police brutality," declared the chairman of the Harlem NAACP's anticrime committee, "but that isn't what makes people afraid to walk the streets at night." (56)
On election night, a reporter asked Lindsay what had caused the review board defeat. "Emotion and misunderstanding and fear," he replied. Then, shrugging aside suggestions that he had suffered a personal blow as well, he added "the important thing is that we did what we thought was right. It was worth fighting for, even though we lost." (57) In one sense, Lindsay was correct, for the review board referendum was a classic symbolic election. As one scholar noted, it was a "minus-sum" game in which everyone--blacks and whites, liberals and conservatives--ultimately lost as racial tensions escalated. (58) In fact, the review board after November 1966 continued to function largely as it had during the previous six months of civilian control, albeit now with only tire members, all of whom were police officers or NYPD-affiliated civilians. In subsequent years, use of the review board increased, perhaps because of heightened public awareness, more police misconduct, greater numbers of officers (the NYPD grew by 17 percent after 1966), or some combination of all three. But there was little evidence of reduced public confidence in the review board on the part of whites of minorities. Nor were there significant indications that the review board ceased to take complaints against officers seriously. The substantiation rate was 71 percent in 1966, when civilian review was in operation; with police oversight again in effect, it rose to 79 percent in 1967 and 75 percent in 1968. (59)
But in another sense, the referendum was significant because it reflected the growing power of "law and order" in American politics. In California, Reagan shocked and surprised the political world when he upset Brown. Borrowing a page from Goldwater's playbook, Reagan skillfully exploited the white public's alarm at rising crime, disgust over the student demonstrations at Berkeley, and fear of a repeat of the Watts Riot of 1965. Combining these disparate developments into a devastating critique of the inequities and inefficiencies of the liberal welfare state, which he blamed for the disorder, Reagan won 58 percent of the vote. Defusing charges of extremism with his telegenic appeal, he received almost one million Democratic votes and carried all but three counties. (60)
Elsewhere, the Democratic Party in 1966 lost 47 House seats, 8 governorships, and 3 Senate seats, including 12 of 13 Senate and gubernatorial races in the ten largest states. According to a confidential survey of party activists, the decisive factor even in nonurban states with negligible minority populations was the reaction against civil disturbances. For the moment, blue-collar white voters in urban districts elected to stay home rather than switch parties. In Chicago, the Democratic vote declined by more than 40,000 over the previous low set in 1950; in Detroit, the Democratic vote plummeted by more than 40 percent. The comparison, moreover, was with 1962--not 1964, when the presidential race had inflated turnout (as the New York referendum had). Similar results were reported in Cincinnati, Philadelphia, and Louisville. Nonvoting, not party-switching, was the troubling trend from the liberal perspective. (61) But that was scant consolation to the director of the AFL-CIO Committee on Political Education (COPE), who informed the Executive Committee that the election results had revealed the existence of "a tide that we did not see." (62)
That tide would continue to rise in 1968. In the presidential election, "law and order" would dominate national as well as local politics. In 1964, Johnson had identified himself as a liberal and received 43.1 million votes, 61 percent of the total. Four years later, Humphrey identified himself as a liberal and received 31.2 million votes, 43 percent of the total. Almost 12 million voters, including 5 million from urban areas, had either abstained or defected to Wallace or Nixon, who together claimed almost 57 percent of the popular vote. (63) The triumph of the conservatives was due in part to long-term developments like the black migration, which reinforced the growing antiliberalism among white voters. And it was due in part to a political climate inflamed by recent events, such as urban riots, political assassinations, and campus demonstrations. But the success of "law and order" was also due to the shrewd exploitation of the widespread disorder by astute conservatives, who constructed a credible message with popular appeal among those whites who perceived that their personal security--as well as that of their families and friends--was at risk.
The ascendance of "law and order" received a critical boost from the review board referendum of 1966. The election exposed divisions among Democrats and demonstrated to conservatives how the issue could enable them to tap into existing streams of antiliberalism at the municipal level and divert them into national politics. At the same time, "law and order" mobilized anxious whites, giving them a language of protest and a vocabulary of ideas with which to link troubling changes in their communities to broader developments in American society and culture. The crisis of liberalism was at hand.
(1) In New York, murders rose over 23 percent in 1961. The overall crime rate set a record in 1962 and climbed steadily in 1963. See "Crimes Set Mark, Rising 3% in 1961," New York Times, 13 July 1962, 50; "Crime Here Rises 9.1%; Murders Increase by 9.3%," New York Times, 15 October 1963, 78.
(2) Ruth Cowan, "The New York City Civilian Review Board Referendum of November 1966: A Study in Mass Politics" (Ph.D. dissertation, New York University, 1970), 6, 393. Other spots were even more graphic, precursors to the Willie Horton ad of 1988. Thus PBA commercial #3 was described as follows in an interagency outline prepared by Cole Fischer Rogow, Inc.: "Video: Hoodlum leer. First, two boys, then as the commercial proceeds, more join in the terrifying march. The whole pace increases and the music adds to the threatening atmosphere. We play on brass knuckles on the hand of one hood. A switch blade lashes out of its holder and locks. Audio: Only the policeman stands between you and the threat of mounting violence." James Priest Gifford, "The Political Relations of the PBA in the City of New York, 1946-1969" (Ph.D. dissertation, Columbia University, 1970), 386.
(3) The final margin was 1,313,161 (63 percent) in favor of the referendum and 765,468 (32 percent) opposed. In Manhattan, the vote in favor of civilian review (and against the referendum) was 234,485 to 168,391. In the Bronx, the vote against civilian review was 235,310 to 128,084; in Brooklyn, 414,133 to 201,836; in Queens, 426,821 to 191,787; and in Richmond, 63,083 to 12,800. See Thomas R. Brooks, "'No!' Says the PBA," New York Times Magazine, 16 October 1966; David W. Abbott, Louis H. Gold, and Edward T. Rogowsky, Police, Politics, and Race: The New York City Referendum on Civilian Review (Cambridge, Mass., 1969), 7-8; and "Tally of Votes for Governor, Statewide Offices, Police Review Board, and Judgeships," New York Times, 10 November 1966, 10.
(4) By October Lindsay was not confident of victory. "I am not at all sure that we're going to win. But one thing I am sure of--we're right. I have never been so sure of anything in my life:' Woody Klein, Lindsay's Promise: The Dream That Failed (London, 1970), 245, 250. "I thought it was a losing issue;' recalled Aryeh Neier of the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) in March 1968. "It was not until the late days of the campaign that I deluded myself into thinking that we had a chance." Cowan, "The New York City Civilian Review Board Referendum of November 1966," 354.
(5) The best account of this race is Matthew Dallek, The Right Moment: Ronald Reagan's First Victory and the Decisive Turning Point in American Politics (New York, 2000).
(6) Thomas Byrne Edsall and Mary D. Edsall, Chain Reaction: The Impact of Race, Rights, and Taxes on American Politics (New York, 1991), 9. For a similar national perspective, see Allen J. Matusow, The Unraveling of America: A History of Liberalism in the 1960s (New York, 1984). For a similar local perspective, see Jonathan Rieder, Canarsie: The Jews and Italians of Brooklyn against Liberalism (Cambridge, Mass., 1985).
(7) He also argues that miscegenation was the main fear of whites in the 1950s. I would contend that by the 1960s street crime represented the main fear. Thomas J. Sugrue, "Crabgrass-Roots Politics: Race, Rights, and the Reaction against Liberalism in the Urban North, 1940-1964," Journal of American History 82 (September 1995): 578. See also Thomas J. Sugrue, The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit (Princeton, 1996).
(8) Thus a Charlestown, Massachusetts, housewife, Alice McGoff, could support the 1964 Civil Rights Act but later oppose forced busing. See J. Anthony Lukas, Common Ground: A Turbulent Decade in the Lives of Three American Families (New York, 1985), 26.
(9) "As issues became more salient and politics intruded on more individuals, there was a heightened awareness of discrepancies between what the parties stood for as opposed to what they were believed to stand for." Norman H. Vie, Sidney Verba, and John R. Petrocik, The Changing American Voter (New York, 1979), 269.
(10) In the survey of Brooklyn whites, 85 percent said blacks learned as well as whites; 75 percent said they "would not mind if a Negro with the same income and education" moved into their neighborhoods; and 62 percent rejected the idea that some groups were better than others. Thus it appears that the results reflected less racial animus and more fear of what whites felt blacks represented--violence, poverty, welfare, property deterioration, and family disintegration. They "voted to support the police--the symbol of order and the defender of life and property--against the threat to their way of life, which they believed the Negroes posed." What was critical was not racism but "a shift in the liberal perception of blacks, from victims and objects of violence and prejudice, to perpetrators of violence and social disorganization." Abbott, Gold, and Rogowsky, Police, Politics, and Race, 38, 42-44.
(11) See Gerald Sorin, The Nurturing Neighborhood: The Brownsville Boys Club and Jewish Community in Urban America, 1940-1990 (New York, 1990), 91,159-63,168. Another, more anecdotal description of the flight of the Jews from Brownsville can be found in Rieder, Canarsie, passim.
(12) See "Strong Arm of the Law," Time, 7 July 1958, 15. From 1951 to 1958 the rate of delinquency per 1,000 teens climbed from 14.9 to 41 in Brooklyn and from 17.5 to 35.8 in New York City. Sorin, The Nurturing Neighborhood, 108, 109.
(13) Crime statistics are notoriously unreliable. The UCR, issued quarterly by the FBI, rely on voluntary reporting by the nation's police departments, many of whom may have a vested interest in either underreporting crime (to demonstrate effectiveness) or overreporting (to receive more funding). Moreover, the public's willingness to report crimes (such as rape) shifts over time, as does the police's willingness to enforce certain laws. Finally, there is often no direct correlation between the crime rate and the level of public fear, which is frequently affected by media coverage and the political response. Yet in this case the perception matters far more than the reality. Among many urban whites, the fear was real.
(14) See, for example,"The Big Story in the Big Cities," U.S. News, 19 December 1958, 46-54; and "The Negro Crime Rate: A Failure in Integration," Time, 21 April 1958, 16-20.
(15) The proposal, which originated with the NYCLU and Reform Democrats like later mayor Ed Koch, vested the board with the power to pursue cases independently regardless of any ongoing criminal investigations. Cowan, "The New York City Civilian Review Board Referendum of November 1966," 116-17, 126.
(16) "Rise in Murders Reported by City," New York Times, 18 July 1964, 23; "Gangs Beat and Rob (2) Riders on Upper Manhattan Subways," New York Times, 18 July 1964, 23; "Maccabees and the Mau Mau," National Review, 16 July 1964, 479-80.
(17) From the window of a TV repair shop, Gilligan saw an argument erupt over whether the superintendent had intentionally or accidentally sprayed the teens with water. Powell got a knife and chased the superintendent into the building. After failing to catch him, Powell encountered Gilligan, threatened the officer with a knife, and was shot dead. This version of events is found in James Lardner, Crusader: The Hell-Raising Police Career of Detective David Durk (New York, 1996), 75. Yorkville was a German neighborhood that supposedly had harbored pro-Nazi sentiments at one point. Two years later, during the Civilian Review Board controversy, Mayor John Lindsay charged that a neo-Nazi group regularly distributed literature there. See Cowan, "The New York City Civilian Review Board Referendum of November 1966," 346-47.
(18) "Harlem: Hatred in the Streets," Newsweek, 3 August 1964, 19. Property losses ranged into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
(19) Farmer was not alone in his views. "The black man is mad," declared Adam Clayton Powell Jr., "mad with the continued police brutality of white policemen." Woody Klein, "Harlem: The Ghetto Ignites," The Nation, 10 August 1964, 50-51. Klein later became Lindsay's press secretary. See also "Statement and Recommendations of New York Branch NAACP Regarding July Social Unrest in Harlem Area;' 4, "NY Branch--1964-65," Box C103, Group III, NAACP Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (hereafter NAACP Papers, LOC).
(20) Ted Weiss tended to view it as a civil liberties question. The Johnson administration saw it as an example of why further civil rights legislation and a War on Poverty was needed. Journalist Theodore White contended that the riot was at its core a youth revolt "against authority, against discipline, against the orderly government of a society that had taken too long to pay them heed." Theodore White, The Making of the President 1964 (New York, 1965), 231.
(21) Official reports suggested the latter. The FBI report on the summer riots, commissioned by President Johnson as a way to provide political cover for his War on Poverty, rejected the idea that the communists had planned and led the disorders but also suggested that civilian review boards hindered a prompt response. Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach praised the report as "factual and realistic." He added, however, that the civilian review board issue should be avoided, since it was "highly controversial and there is a good deal to be said on the other side." Memo, Katzenbach to LBJ, 24 September 1964, "Crime and Delinquency," Office Files of Bill Moyers, Box 39, Lyndon Baines Johnson Library, Austin, Tex. (hereafter LBJ Library).
The McCone Report on Watts, commissioned by Governor Brown, contended that civilian review would diminish rather than enhance public safety. See The Governor's Commission on the Los Angeles Riots, "Violence in the City--An End or a Beginning?" in The Politics of Riot Commissions, 1917-1970, ed. Anthony M. Platt (New York, 1971), 276.
(22) Calling for freedom "balanced so that order, lacking liberty, will not become the slavery of the prison cell; balanced, so that liberty, lacking order, will not become the license of the mob and of the jungle," Goldwater decried the Democrats for allowing the proliferation of "violence in our streets, corruption in our highest offices." Linking the threat of disorder at home with communism abroad, he declared that "[s]ecurity from domestic violence, no less than from foreign aggression, is the most elementary and fundamental purpose of any government, and a government that cannot fulfill this purpose is one that cannot long command the loyalty of its citizens." Republican National Convention, 16 July 1964, Box 10, 1964 Presidential Campaign Files, Goldwater Papers, Arizona Historical Foundation, Tempe, Ariz. (hereafter AHF).
(23) "Government seeks to be parent, teacher, leader, doctor, and even minister," he charged. "And its failures are strewn about us in the rubble of rising crime rates, juvenile delinquency, [and] scandal." Remarks at Keene High School, Keene, New Hampshire, 4 March 1964, Reel 9, Political Speeches, Goldwater Papers, AHF.
(24) At the same time, he directly challenged the liberal belief that poverty was the main cause of the breakdown of order. First, he emphasized that the United States was a rich nation, more prosperous now than ever before. Yet the crime rate was soaring, relative both to historic levels and to those in the rest of the industrialized world. Second, Goldwater noted that most poor people were not criminals--a line of reasoning that liberals themselves frequently invoked, especially when defending minorities against charges that they were criminal by nature. Thus social conditions per se could not explain why some in poverty turned to crime while others did not. Statement at Philadelphia Airport, 21 October 1964, Box 10, 1964 Presidential Campaign Files, Goldwater Papers, AHF; "The Candidates Spell Out the Issues," New York Times Magazine, 1 November 1964, Box 10, 1964 Presidential Campaign Files, Goldwater Papers, AHF.
(25) Goldwater and other conservatives consistently attacked the Supreme Court for its rulings in cases like Mallory, Escobedo, and Miranda. Many liberal observers at the time and since have speculated that the Right really wished to punish the Supreme Court for Brown v. Board of Education.
(26) This was a widely held view, with varying degrees of intensity. During the hearings on the Weiss proposal in 1964, 5,000 off-duty police in New York marched and shouted "Fight the Reds! Support the Blue!" See Arnold Foster, "John Birch in Uniform," ADL Bulletin, November 1965, "Civilian Review Board--NewYork" (Printed Matter, 1965), Box 19, Legal Department (1956-65), NAACP Papers, LOC.
(27) William F. Buckley Jr., "Remarks to the NYPD Holy Name Society, April 4, 1965," National Review, 20 April 1965, 326; William F. Buckley Jr., "Statement by Wm. F. Buckley Jr. Announcing His Candidacy for Mayor of New York, June 24, 1965," National Review, 13 August 1965, 587.
(28) Vincent J. Cannato, The Ungovernable City: John Lindsay and His Struggle to Save New York (New York, 2001), 69-70.
(29) For instance, the NAACP general counsel, who stated: "If the purpose of the changes you propose is to build public confidence in the police, let me suggest that this objective can be realized only if machinery is established which is capable of independence and impartiality in the handling of a citizen's complaint of police misconduct." Letter, Robert Carter to John Lindsay, 4 March 1966, "Civilian Review Board--New York, Correspondence," Box 183, Legal Department (1966-), NAACP Papers, LOC.
(30) Broderick was bitter and biting in his assessment: "The fact of the matter is, Mr. Mayor, that most of the vital ideas contained in the TF Report have been developed and explored within the Department itself; that many of them have already been implemented and some are in the process of being implemented; that some of those not yet in effect require further planning or the availability of funds. A strength of the Report is, in fact, that it consolidates much of the original and imaginative thinking that has been done in the Department in recent years. The vice is that it combines this with the bromides of the past. Because the Task Force was unwilling, of unable, to separate valid criticism and suggestions from undocumented folklore, the Report will not, in my judgment, be a useful blueprint for the future." He added that, "One of the basic premises of the Report, that there is a 'lack of strong public support for the police in the performance of their duties,' is manifestly wrong. Never, in the history of the City, has public confidence in the Police Department been so high, or public support for the police been more vigorous." Letter, Vincent Broderick to John Lindsay, 8 February 1966, "Police 1966-67," Box 85, Subject Files, John V. Lindsay Papers, Municipal Archives, City of New York (hereafter Lindsay Papers, NYC).
(31) On July 11, Lindsay appointed a white liberal, Algernon D. Black, head of the New York Society for Ethical Culture, as chairman. He also appointed a black professor, Dr. Walter Murray of Brooklyn College; a Latino activist, Manual Diaz, chief consultant and acting executive director of the Puerto Rican Community Development Project; and a liberal Irish Catholic, Thomas Farrell, the former president of the Bronx chapter of the Catholic Interracial Council. Among the police members was Franklin Thomas, an African American who was a former FBI man and current deputy commissioner in charge of legal matters. Thomas R. Brooks, "'No!' Says the P.B.A.," New York Times Magazine, 16 October 1966.
According to Leary, the new board would have a civilian staff, with investigators assigned to the board and not the local precinct. There would be a quick conciliation procedure as well as a formal investigation mechanism. The civilian review board would still hold private hearings, with the authority only to recommend whether the department should prefer charges against the officers. The commissioner would still make all final disciplinary decisions, but no longer could all charges and complaints automatically go into an officer's personnel record, which Leary suggested "has scarred the records of many conscientious officers." Instead, the record would reflect only substantiated charges. Press Release, 2 May 1966, "Police Department (2)," Box 68, Departmental Correspondence, Lindsay Papers, NYC.
(32) Cowan, "The New York City Civilian Review Board Referendum of November 1966," 300-301.
(33) See "P.B.A. Head Denies Charge of Racism," New York Times, 18 July 1966, in "Civilian Review Board--New York, 1966, miscellany," Box 183, Legal Department (1966-), NAACP Papers, LOC. See also Frank to Lindsay, 22 July 1966, and Lindsay to Frank, 10 August 1966, "Police Department (4)," Box 68, Departmental Correspondence, Lindsay Papers, NYC. For a description of Frank in contrast to the rumpled David Garth, see Sydney H. Schanberg, "The Men behind the Bitter Fight over Civilian Review," New York Times, 6 November 1966, 87. See also New York Times, 29 May 1966, 42; New York Times, 22 July 1966, 15.
(34) Flyer, "WHITE POWER -vs.- BLACK POWER" "Civilian Review Board--New York, 1966, miscellany," Box 183, Legal Department (1966-), NAACP Papers, LOC.
(35) Cannato, The Ungovernable City, 179; New York Times, 26 October 1966.
(36) Bernard Weinraub, "Kennedy Sees Peril to Civilian Control of Police," New York Times, 4 November 1966, 29.
(37) Bernard Weinraub, "Kennedy Sees Peril to Civilian Control of Police," New York Times, 4 November 1966, 29; Sidney E. Zion," 'Sleeper Issue' on Police Referendum Wakes Up," New York Times, 30 October 1966,
(38) Bernard Weinraub, "Kennedy Sees Peril to Civilian Control of Police," New York Times, 4 November 1966, 29; Flyer, New York Citizens Committee to Support Your Local Police, "Civilian Review Board--NY" (Conferences, 1965), Box 19, Legal Department (1956-65), NAACP Papers, LOC.
(39) The mayor contended that confidence in the NYPD had suffered in parts of the city because of "the suspicion that citizens who feel they have been mistreated by police officers do not receive a fair, impartial hearing of their complaints." The civilian review board, he predicted, would protect officers from malicious or groundless accusations. "Most importantly, it will lead to better communication and understanding between the police and the people, particularly those people in deprived areas where crime is most prevalent and police protection is most valued." Press Release, 2 May 1966, "Police Department (2)," Box 68, Departmental Correspondence, Lindsay Papers, NYC.
(40) Klein, Lindsay's Promise, 202.
(41) In a public letter to Leary, Lindsay wrote: "Across the nation, the summer's heat has turned underlying tensions and frustration into civil strife and discord. By comparison, New York has had an exceptionally calm and peaceful summer. The major credit belongs to the tireless performance of our Police Department." Press Release, 22 September 1966, "Police Department (1)," Box 68, Departmental Correspondence, Lindsay Papers, NYC.
(42) See William W. Turner, The Police Establishment (New York, 1968), 225; Cowan, "The New York City Civilian Review Board Referendum of November 1966," 369; Press Release, 22 September 1966, "Police Department (1)," Box 68, Departmental Correspondence, Lindsay Papers, NYC.
(43) Klein, Lindsay's Promise, 232; Press Release, 22 September 1966, "Police Department (1)," Box 68, Departmental Correspondence, Lindsay Papers, NYC.
(44) See "Let's Go," John Birch Society Newsletter, February 1965, Goldwater postelection correspondence, 22 October 1964-29 November 1965, Microform Red # 2, Cornell University collection, Ithaca, N.Y.; Arnold Foster, "John Birch in Uniform," ADL Bulletin, November 1965, "Civilian Review Board--New York" (Printed Matter, 1965), Box 19, Legal Department (1956-65), NAACP Papers, LOC.
(45) "I have been a District Attorney and I think that there is no need for them at all," declared Brown, adding that civilian police commissioners in San Francisco and Los Angeles could do the job. "I don't see any need of setting up any further layer of government to check on the police." Meet the Press, NBC News, 11 September 1966, "66 Campaign Debate," Box 34, Reagan Collection, Hoover Institution Archives.
(46) The LEAA even offered $150,000 for a community relations initiative headed by a citizens committee that, according to Leary, "would not only guide the program, but would use its influence to enlist the professional people of New York in contributing to the program." Letter, Howard Leary to Lindsay, 25 August 1966, "Police Department (1)," Box 86, Subject Files, Lindsay Papers, NYC.
(47) On 9 October a telegram from Stanley Kriegel said that the liberal organizations in New York were united in favor of the board and expressed disbelief that Humphrey had expressed opposition in his appearance before the IACP. Califano suggested that Kriegel had misinterpreted Humphrey's remarks and included a portion of the transcript from the ABC-TV program Issues and Answers on 16 October. The rice president was asked whether at the IACP conference he spoke against review boards when he said that as mayor of Minneapolis he had handled it himself. Humphrey said that at that time--in 1945, not 1966--he and a law enforcement commission had handled it. "Now, civilian review boards may be desirable in some cities. I have heard, for example, that in New York City ... it has worked well. If it has worked well, that is their business." He added that he favored civilian review as a tool to improve police-community relations, not as "an escape hatch for a public official to avoid taking on the responsibility of law and order." Memo, Califano to Bill Connell, 17 October 1966, Ex JL 6, WHCF, Box 39, LBJ Library.
(48) The commission ultimately took no position on the issue. Memo, Vorenberg to Katzenbach, 25 April 1966, "Correspondence (1)," Box 10, Papers of Nicholas deB. Katzenbach, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, Boston, Mass. (hereafter JFK Library).
(49) "If it weren't for the Irish, there would be no police," former commissioner Francis Adams once observed. Even in the late 1960s the department remained more than 40 percent Irish. See Stephen Leinen, Black Police, White Society (New York, 1984), 99; Arthur Niederhoffer, Behind the Shield: The Police in Urban Society (New York, 1967), 16, 36, 133, 135.
(50) David Garth, campaign manager for FAIR, later termed the pursuit of Irish and Italian votes "a waste of time." Cowan, "The New York City Civilian Review Board Referendum of November 1966," 317, 331; Klein, Lindsay's Promise, 255.
(51) On the whole, 68 percent of Brooklyn voters opposed the review board in comparison to 65 percent of the sample. Over 93 percent of Goldwater supporters opposed the review board. Among Jews, 55 percent who supported the civil rights movement and felt safe backed the review board; only 38 percent of those who supported the civil rights movement but felt unsafe did so. Abbott, Gold, and Rogowsky, Police, Politics, and Race, 8, 15, 17-18.
(53) "Tally of Votes for Governor, Statewide Offices, Police Review Board, and Judgeships," New York Times, 10 November 1966, 10.
(54) Press Release, 15 March 1966, "Police Department (4)," Box 68, Departmental Correspondence, Lindsay Papers, NYC; NAACP Press Release, 14 December 1966, "News Releases--1966--June 1967," Box 12, Group IV, NAACP Papers, LOC. Even by the late 1960s, blacks were seriously underrepresented in the NYPD, accounting for fewer than 5 percent of officers. See Lawrence M. Friedman, Crime and Punishment in American History (New York, 1993), 377.
(55) The biggest problem in New York City, according to the respondents, was crime. Overall, 28 percent cited it (31 percent of men; 26 percent of women; 28 percent of blacks; 24 of Puerto Ricans). "Attitudes of Harlem Residents toward Housing, Rehabilitation, and Urban Renewal," Confidential Survey for Roy Wilkins by John F. Kraft Inc.,August 1966, "Harlem--1966-67," Box 32A, Group IV, NAACP Papers, LOC. For the New York Times poll, see Joseph P. Viteritti, Police, Politics, and Pluralism in New York City: A Comparative Case Study (Beverly Hills, 1973), 12.
(56) See Martin Luther King Jr., "Beyond the Los Angeles Riots: Next Stop, the North," Saturday Review, 13 November 1965, 34; Eldridge Cleaver, Soul On Ice (New York, 1968), 132-33.
In 1968 the Harlem branch of the NAACP called for stiffer penalties--including mandatory five-year sentences--against muggers conducting "a reign of criminal terror in Harlem." It also demanded minimum ten-year sentences for drug pushers and thirty-year sentences for firstdegree murderers. AP Release, 13 December 1968, "Memos to DJ Officials from AG, 1968-69 (1)," Papers of Ramsey Clark, Box 109, LBJ Library. See also Lionel H. Mitchell [a black conservative], "When Law and Order Fail," National Review, 30 July 1968, 741-42.
(57) Klein, Lindsay's Promise, 255-76.
(58) Aaron Wildavsky, "The Empty-Head Blues: Black Rebellion and White Reaction," The Public Interest 11 (spring 1968): 3-16; reprinted in Law and Order in a Democratic Society, ed. Marvin R. Summers and Thomas E. Barth (Columbus, 1970), 166.
(59) Minorities continued to supply more than 50 percent of the complaints, although they constituted less than 30 percent of the population. The ratio of type of complaint also remained steady between 1966 and 1970: unnecessary force (48-55 percent); abuse of authority (14-21 percent); discourtesy (23-30 percent); ethnic slur (2-6 percent). Viteritti, Police, Politics, and Pluralism in New York City, 54-58.
(60) Lisa McGirr, "Suburban Warriors: Grass-Roots Conservatism in the 1960s" (Ph.D. dissertation, Columbia University, 1995), 250.
(61) Civil Rights and Backlash, "Dem. Party. General. Cong. Election Analysis, 1966-67," Box 1057, Public Affairs Files, Vice Presidential Files, HHH Papers, Minnesota Historical Society; "Illinois" n.d., 9/9, COPE Research Division Files, George Meany Memorial Archives (GMMA); Alan Draper, A Rope of Sand: The AFL-CIO Committee on Political Education, 1955-1967 (New York, 1989), 123-24.
In 1967, the "backlash" would worsen. In Cleveland 80 percent of whites voted Republican and in Boston it was 50 percent. In Gary, the figure was 90 percent--and a precinct that was 68 percent Democratic in 1964 was now 93 percent Republican. Memo, Wattenberg to Johnson, 21 November 1967, Ex PL/Kennedy, Robert F., WHCF, Box 26, LBJ Library.
(62) Draper, A Rope of Sand, 121-23; Minutes of AFL-CIO Executive Council Meeting, 15 November 1966, GMMA.
(63) See "Narrow Victory, Wide Problems," Time, 15 November 1968, 20; "The Way the Voting Went--And Why," U.S. News and World Report, 18 November 1968, 40, 42; "Nixon's Hard-Won Chance to Lead," Time, 15 November 1968, 22.
Michael W. Flamm is an assistant professor of history at Ohio Wesleyan University.
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|Author:||Flamm, Michael W.|
|Date:||Mar 22, 2002|
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