Knox College Struggle and Progress-African Americans in Knox County, Illinois (Knox College)
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Annual report of the Galesburg Commission on Human Relations for 1956-57
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TitleAnnual report of the Galesburg Commission on Human Relations for 1956-57
DescriptionAnnual report of activities of the Galesburg Commission on Human Relations for the year 1956-1957.
SubjectRace Relations
Race discrimination
Named PersonDibden, Arthur J.; Schwarz, Ruth; Waters, Thomas; Williams, Mrs. Floyd; Muelder, Hermann; Broadhead, Vernon; Mrs. M. Gravino; Ike, Margaret; Morrow, Charles; Chandler, Claire; Goodwin, William; Ross, Dr. S.J.; Ryin, Sylvia; Bengston, Felix; Hanlon, John W.; Byrne, Rev. Patrick; Jolly, Rev. W.T.; Reid, Rev. Wilfred; Mansager, Ted; Davis, Rev. Emory; Atwood, J. Howell; Kimball, R.W.; Ankerson, John; Black, John; Toles, Mrs. William; Moon, William H.;
AuthorDibden, Arthur J.
Time Period1950s
Date Created (original)July 2, 1957
IdentifierJ. Howell Atwood Manuscript Collection (box 9)
CollectionStruggle and Progress-African Americans in Knox County, Illinois (Knox College)
Date Digital2012-06-21

Preface to the Mayor and City Council of Galesburg

Article three of Section V of "The Aims and Organizatton of
the Galesburg Commission on Human Relations" asserts that a written
report on the findings and activities of the Commission will be
given each year to the mayor and city council. This summary, which
is written by the chairman on the basis of reports from officers
and from chairman of standing committees, is presented in order to
fulfill that civic obligation.

In the 1955-56 Report there was a rather lengthy statement
about the concern to make a public report which would be fair to
private interests. That statement shall not be repeated in full,
but it may be appropriate to repeat the principle then adopted
that the tone of this Report should be impersonal and that while
possible cases of discrimination brought to our attention shall
be mentioned the names of persons or firms involved shall not be
cited, unless obvious discrimination has been proved.

This Report is organized according to areas and activities
for which various officers and committees were responsible.

I. Secretary's Report on Regular Meetings

The secretary for 1956-57, Miss Ruth Schwarz, reports that the
Commission had a total of nine regular meetings during the year,
with an average attendance of 8 1/3. members. There were also sev-
eral additional committee meetings.

Guests included: Mrs.Thomas Waters (attending as a listener for
her husband, a member of the Commission); Mrs. Floyd Williams, Direc-
tor of Carver Center; Dr. Hermann Muelder, Dean of Knox College; Mr.
Vernon Broadhead, Principal of Galesburg Senior High School; Mrs. M.
Gravino, Galesburg housewife; and Mrs.Margaret Ike, Galesburg house-

Meetings have been held at the home of Dr.Dibden, at Carver
Center, at the Home Economics Building of Galesburg High School, at
Scandia Bakery, at Old Main on the Knox College campus.It is hoped
that next year many of the meetings may be held in the city council

The first of the monthly meetings was held on September 10 and
the last one June 17.

Here are some items from our Minutes which will not appear in
the reports of committees, they are listed somewhat in order of oc-

1. The Commission invited Dean Muelder of Knox College and
Principal Broadhead of the Galesburg Senior High School to discuss
possibilities of adult education for minority groups. Members of the
Commission agreed to help to distribute information about the
adult education program of the High School for the fall session.

2. Dr.Dibden had a pleasant discussion with Mr.Charles Morrow,


editor of the Galesburg Register-Mail, about the possibility of
emphasizing positive "human interest" stories, some of which might
be encountered by members of the Commission.

3. A history of the first ten years of the Comission, from
1946 to 1956, is in process of being written by Mrs. Claire Chandler.

4. During Thanksgiving week a radio program celebrating the
first ten years of the Commission was presented on station WGIL.
(See report from Education and Promotion Committee)

5. The December dinner, the third one served by the International
Good Will committee of the Galesburg Chapter of Future Home-Makers
to the Commission, was the occassion of two excellent speeches by Long-
time members of the Commission. Mrs. Claire Chander [chandler?] spoke on "Looking
Backward" and Mr. William Goodwin on "Looking Forward".

6. Mr. William H. Small was elected in November to fill the
vacancy caused by the resignation of Mr. Rupert Tarver. Upon Mr.
Small's election in 1957 as mayor of Galesburg he became an ex
officio member.

7. Dr. Dibden represented the Commission at a meeting in
Springfield in January for a state planning of Brotherhood Week
activities and at another meeting in Chicago in February to hear
the annual report of the Illinois Commission on Human Relations.

8. Commission members used their various talents in support
or Brotherhood Week activities in Galesburg. Some members were
involved in programs sponsored by the Galesburg Council of Churches.
The Commission itself sponsored a radio program. (See the report or
the Education and Promotion Committee). In addition, Mrs. Claire
Chandler, Mrs. Floyd Williams, and Dr. Dibden spoke on brotherhood
at a P.T.A. convocation. '

9. A night letter expressing the support of the Commission for
the Equal Work Opportunity Bill was sent to Governor Stratton.

10. In May official stationery tor the Commission was ordered
for the first time.

11. The officers elected in Apr 11 were: chairman, Dr. Arthur
J. Dibden; Assistant Chairman, Dr. S. J. Ross; Secretary-Treasurer,
Miss Sylvia Ryin. The seven members elected and approved by the
mayor and city council for a three year term ending in 1960 are:
Mr. Felix Bengston, Miss Sylvia Ryin, Miss Ruth Schwarz, Mr. John
W. Hanlon. The Rev. Patrick Byrne, The Rev. W. T. Jolly, The Rev.
Wilfred Reid.

12. In the June meeting Mr. and Mrs. Floyd Williams reported
on their attendance of the state meeting or the Illinois Commission
on Human Relations at Urbana on June 8 and 9. Mr. Williams was the
representative of the Galesburg Commission. They attended sessions
on problems of youth and housing and alos other meetings. Mrs.
Williams reported that a major emphasis was the reminder, in all
discussion about the "race" question, that we all belong to the
human race.

Other activities of the Commission are indicated in the
following reports.


II. Treasurer's Report

For many years the Commission has been hampered by lack of
funds. This year there was some money in the treasury. Professor
Rene Ballard had some unused funds in his campaign treasury when
he withdrew from the race for City councilman after the primaries.
At the suggestion of Dr. Dibden, Professor Ballard kindly donated
$25 to the Galesburg Commission on Human Relations.

This money has been nearly all spent on postage and cards, new
stationery, and traveling expenses. As of the present writing,
there remained $3.67 in our Commission treasury.

A budget, prepared by Dr. Dibden, has been presented to the
city council. It estimated a possible expenditure of $70 for the
coming year but requested from the city council the sum of $50.

III. From the Committee on Education and Promotion

Early in our year (that is, last fall) the Committee on Education
and Promotion discussed again the need of counseling services for
the City of Galesburg and of a Council of Social Agencies. It was
felt then that parties and agencies already involved in such interests
should be left to carry them through. The value of adult education
was stressed; and the chairman of the committee, Mr. Felix Bengston,
aided in the distribution of materials about the adult education
program in the high school. Mrs. Chandler and others also helped.

The need for a serious survey of human relations needs and
problem areas and of group attitudes was stressed in the fall and
again in the spring. It is hoped that such a survey may be made
next year.

Activities and areas of concern ot the CommisiIon were twice
broadcast to the community over station WGIL. The first panel program
was given on November 20. Initial planning occurred in a radio
committee consisting of Mr. Bengston, Mr. Hanson, and Dr. Dibden.
A survey of the Commission's responsibilities, influences, and
viewpoint, and of some of its actions during the last ten years
was the theme. Dr. Dibden prepared a script and served as chairman.
Other members of the Commission participating were Mr. Felix Bengston,
Mr. Ted Mansager, the Rev. Emory Davis. Mayor Morrison was a guest

The second broadcast, on February 25. was in charge of Mr. Ted
Mansager, who prepared a script and served as panel chairman. The
theme was a survey of human relations activities in Galesburg during
the month of February and especially during Brotherhood Week. Other
participants were Mr. William Goodwin of the Commission, Father Lohan
(who reported on the reception of Hungarian refugees in Galesburg),
Professor J. Howell Atwood, and Mr. R. W. Kimball (representing the
Junior Chamber of Commerce).

Another project interesting this committee was the promotion
of small group discussions designed to alert Commission members
and others to some of the issues disturbing and helping desirable
human relations.

IV. From the Investigative Committee

The chairman of this committee, Mr. William Goodwin, had
little to report concerning problems of discrimination during most
of our year. Of course, members of the Commission are aware that
the areas of housing and employment, of relations among youths of
different groups, and of any general attitudes of distrust or over-
trust for members of other groups are persistentt sources of friction
and frustration. No doubt several individuals in Galesburg experienced
problems in one or more of those areas. But it was only in the spring
that some cases were brought to the attention of the Commission.

One was that of a man who felt he was refused employment because
of his color. Another was an instance of the firing of two employees
from a local eating place. This matter was referred to the Commission
from the Race Relations Committee of the Galesburg Council of Churches.
The third was an instance of any employee being fired from a local

In none of these cases did the Commission hear directly from
individuals involved, and in none did it make an official decision.
In the first instance it was learned that a factory was indeed not
hiring anybody in large numbers; in the second instance, a letter
written to the firm involved brought an immediate response from the
vice-president; in the third instance Mr. Goodwin, Mr. Reid, and Mr.
Dibden talked to the owner and manager involved, receiving from them
a clear picture of their position. Some points were still being
discussed informally at the time of this writing. And there, at this
moment, these matters rest.

One of the duties of the Commission is to hear and investigate
problems of possible discrimination. It is evident that the entrance
of a third party may aid in calmer discussions or disputes. But
one of the problems of the Commission is to do justice to both sides
and to get the relevant facts. Much personal attention and care are
thus required. In my opinion as Chairman of the Commission there is
also need of greater formalization of procedures. I suggest that any
member encountering a possible case of racial or religious discrimi-
nation should inform the chairman of the Investigative Committee and
probably one of the Commission officers. Members of the Investigative
Committee should then try to obtain first-hand information as soon
as possible and be ready to make a report of findings and recommenda-
tions to the Commission. The Commission may then take any official
action which seems appropriate. To wait until a regular meeting of
the Commission in order to report an incident may mean too much

On the whole it seems to remain true that while Galesburg has
its problems in group relations these problems are not as great as
in some Illinois communities.

V. Other Activities Via Special Committees

Additional activities of members of the Commission are indicated
in this listing of certain special committees or projects.

1. The Nominating Committee consisted of Mrs. Claire Chandler
(chairman), Mr. John Ankersen, Mr. William Goodwin, and Dr. Dibden.


2. The Committee on Special Commendations for Human Relations
Work in Galesburg consisted of Dr. S.J. Ross (chairman), Mr. Felix
Bengston, Mr. Floyd Williams, and Mr. John Black.

3. Mrs. William Toles is a committee of one to keep informed
about scholarships available to Negro students in colleges and

4. The Rev. Wilfred Reid is a delegate from the Commission to
the Knox County Housing Authority, of which Mr. William H. Moon
is chairman.

5. The Hospital Committee consisted of the Rev. T. W. Jolly
and Dr. Dibden.

6. Mrs. Claire Chandler is Commission Historian.

7. Miss Ruth Schwarz is Custodian of Contemporary Documents.

8. Two projects we hope to carry out in the future are a survey
of problems of discrimination and a survey of welfare agencies and
human relations resources in Galesburg. Mr. William Goodwin will be
in general charge of the first, and Mr. Ted Mansager of the second.


The sentiments expressed in the 1955-56 "Conclusion" we would
re-affirm for this annual Report. Sound human relations are an
important contribution to good group relations. We believe that
the Commission can play a valuable role in the life of Galesburg
citizens in promoting such concerns.

July 2, 1957 Arthur J. Dibden, [signature] Chairman,
for 1956-57 of the Galesburg Com-
mission on Human Relations
Physical Description5 typed sheets (carbon) 8.5 x 11 in.
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