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Local NAACP Branch To Picket City Hall

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Pickets, absent at City Council meeting the past two weeks after 18 consecutive weeks of Monday night picketing, will return to the scene at 6:30 p.m. today and stay until the council meeting starts at 7:30 p.m.

However, this time it will not be the Ann Arbor Area Fair Housing Association — CORE which will do the demonstrating. It will be the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

The local branch of the NAACP said the “demonstration has been initiated to indicate to the mayor, the council, and the Human Relations Commission that Attorney General Kelley’s opinion has not relieved them of responsible action in advacing civil rights locally."

Kelley early this month issued a statement saying local housing ordinances would invalidated Jan. 1 when the state’s new constitution goes into effect. His opinion, believed by many to overrule the city’s newly adopted fair housing ordinance, has been questioned by many local lawyers. City Attorney Jacob Fahrner is studying the problem and will give a report to council in the near future on whether he believes Kelley’s opinion is binding on the city.

The NAACP said even if the new state civil rights commission started at full capacity on Jan. 1, “it is hoped that local committees would strengthen their own programs in such a way that it would not be necessary to call upon the state agency."

The local group also said the Human Relations Commission has not inspired confidence by its actions and said without "NAACP’s support the commission can not claim widespread support within the Ann Arbor, community. And far from having our support, you (HRC) have our most vigorous opposition.”

The NAACP then listed six recommendations to strengthen the HRC and gain public support

It asked that:

The HRC ordinance be revised to increase its size from 10 to 15 members;

All 15 members be identified as actively working for an improvement of race relations:

Seven or eight of these members be Negroes;

Active participation in civil rights groups or being a clergyman should not be regarded as an obstacle to appointment to the commission;

The commission be representative of both political parities, of geographical location and of different religious groups; and

A paid director should not be employed without endorsement of civil rights groups in both his or her present place of employment in Ann Arbor.

“It is obvious that these conditions can be met only if the 'present commissioners resign in order to facilitate the needed changes,” the NAACP stated.

“The NAACP feels so strongly on this issue that the Board has authorized a City Hall picket of all council meetings and all city-related functions, beginning Oct. 21 and continuing until confidence in the Human Relations Commission has been restored.”