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Resolution of the New Jersey State Federation of Colored Women's Clubs (1947)

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WHEREAS, it is the object of the New Jersey State Federation of Colored Women's Clubs to "Work and Serve the Hour" in helping solve the many problems confronting the race, and to study the conditions in cities and counties, with a view to raising the educational, industrial and economic standards of all people and improve the public health and general welfare of the public of the State; and

WHEREAS, for the past 32 years this organization has conducted a program working toward equal opportunity for all people and the full enjoyment of the rights, privileges and benefits of the State of New Jersey; and

WHEREAS, it has long been recognized that the restrictive covenant is a device used by real estate interests in conformity with narrow community attitudes to confine housing areas to favored racial groups and for the exclusion of other groups, most frequently the Jewish and Negro segments of our population; and

WHEREAS, a large percentage of the population of the State of New Jersey, in a general way, was denied opportunity for business and industrial employment (public utilities included) under the existing State Constitution until Executive Order 8802, superseding our state laws, was issued by the late President Roosevelt during the emergency, making such practices unlawful; and

WHEREAS, the recent survey of the school systems of the State of New Jersey, made by the N.A.A.C.P., showed the great extent of the segregation and discrimination in education as practiced in the State of New Jersey; and

WHEREAS, not much success has come out of remedies sought by education and legislation, because the average man holds hard to his prejudices, it is agreed that a strong and forthright declaration set forth in the Bill of Rights of the proposed New Constitution is needed, and will provide for all the people the instrument through which all rights and privileges accorded a citizen might be realized;

BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED, that we do respectfully submit to and urge the adoption by the 1947 Constitutional Convention, the following:

1. That this paragraph, as written in the new New York Bill of Rights, be added to section 5 under "Rights and Privileges":
"No person shall be denied the equal protection of this State or any subdivision thereof. No person shall, because of race, creed, color or religion, be subject to any discrimination in his civil rights by any other person or by any firm, corporation or institution, or by this State or any agency or subdivision of this State."
2. That the following sentence be added to section 17 under "Rights and Privileges";
"Property taken for public use shall be enjoyed without discrimination because of race, color, religion or national origin."

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that a copy of this resolution be forwarded to the Constitution Convention, the subcommittee on Rights and Privileges, the press, and a copy recorded in the minutes of our 32nd Annual Convention.

State of New Jersey Constitutional Convention of 1947, vol. 3, Committee on Rights, Privileges, Amendments and Miscellaneous Provisions (Trenton, N.J., 1947), pp. 421-22.

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Prepared by Deborah Mercer and Edith Beckett of the New Jersey State Library.
Copyright 2003 © by the New Jersey Historical Commission,
New Jersey Department of State.
All rights reserved.
Please direct questions and comments to Deborah Mercer.
Updated:Thursday, April 24, 2003