NYU Black Renaissance Noire NYU Black Renaissance Noire V. 16.1 - Page 46

44 Mrs. Bass and the Eagle became increasingly disillusioned with the Bowron administration, however. The Eagle’s test case for the sincerity of Bowron was the Newton Street police station. Newton was purged like other precincts. The Eagle complained the vice arrests continued to concentrate in the Central Avenue district, while vice in more affluent areas of the city was ignored. Mrs. Bass called for the Mayor to make the Newton station a model for black advancement in Los Angeles. She urged Bowron to appoint blacks to all positions in the precinct, including telephone operators, desk sergeants, jailers, stenographers, clerks, departmental heads, and the numberless in-between workers of a modern police department. When Homer Garrott, the highest ranking black police officer at Newton and in the city, was demoted from captain to lieutenant and reassigned to juvenile, Mrs. Bass became totally disenchanted with Bowron, a sentiment shared by Leon Washington at the Sentinel. She complained that Newton’s new head, William Brady, was a known “nigger hater.” In an editorial titled “Swan Song of A Crusade,” she noted Loren Miller was a major crusader on behalf of Bowron, but: Everyone, however, realizes that the great dream of September 1938 has fallen. The noble crusade has taken a swan-dive. Compatriots in the army to rid the city of vice have suddenly discovered in each other inclinations toward gangsterism, Fascism, Communism, graft, etc. It is a very sad commentary on something in modern life. 54 Miller remained active in the Communist Party through the National Negro Congress, its main tool for organizing the black masses. The Party emphasized the necessity to build a united front with other black organizations. The nnc supported the naacp in its effort to pass anti-lynching legislation and the Urban League in its job training efforts among youth. James Ford, the Party’s leading black member with a seat on the Central Committee, wrote extensively on the nnc and its role in a united front of progressive forces 55 Loren Miller was elected Executive Secretary of the Los Angeles Council, serving with, among others: Augustus Hawkins, the Executive Chairman; Lillian Jones, Corresponding Secretary-Treasurer; and board members Clarence R. Johnson, Floy d Covington of the Urban League; and Naomi Goodloe of the Hollywood Anti-Nazi League. 56 The Party recognized the nnc was weak and needed to be built up. It proposed a drive to recruit 20,000 sponsors for the organization nationwide. The goal for the Los Angeles Council was three hundred sponsors who individually would pay from fifty cents to two dollars for membership. The Los Angeles Council decided to focus on the affiliation of organizations rather than a campaign for individual memberships. The National Office was not happy about the la Council’s decision to forego individual affiliations. John P. Davis, the National Secretary, wrote to Lillian Jones disapprovingly: Many of our local councils, which have affiliated to them many more organizations than our Los Angeles Council, still find it necessary to carry through this campaign for sponsors. Moreover, we have to develop on the part of our local councils an understanding of their relationship to the National Office and an understanding of the need to time their activities to coincide with the activities of other local councils throughout the country. 57 The nnc’s national office was instrumental in facilitating the appointment of union organizer, Clarence Johnson, to a post in the United States Housing Authority, where he worked alongside Dr. Robert C. Weaver. John Davis alerted Johnson about the vacancy in April and urged him to apply. Johnson did so and was appointed in August at a salary of $3,200 a year. Johnson had to relocate to Washington D.C. 58 While the la Council struggled to raise funds for both it and the national office, it was most successful in agitating on housing. Augustus Hawkins, its leader, passed legislation in the Assembly to create a local housing commission to undertake slum clearance, low-rent housing, parks, playgrounds, health clinics, and nurseries. The la Council held public meetings to mobilize support to pressure the City Council to create a Housing Authority for Los Angeles. Hawkins spoke at a hearing before the City Council on behalf of the nnc delegation.