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Louisiana Senator Calls D.C. a “Cesspool,” Blames Negroes

June 16, 1963 - A Southern Senator called Washington a “cesspool” today and indicated that he thought this was true because of the large number of Negroes there. Sen. Allen J. Ellender (pictured in 1956), Democrat of Louisiana, made the remark while engaging in a televised debate with Sen. Jacob Javits, Republican of New York. He used Washington as an example of what he considered the result of putting Negroes in positions of authority. “This great city is a cesspool as far as crime is concerned,” Sen. Ellender said. In Washington, he continued, 56% of the populace is Negro. “They have control of the schools,” he said, “and you have the worst conditions of any big city in the country. To me, that simply shows their inability to govern. In all the world, you have only three countries headed by Negroes: Liberia, Ethiopia, and Haiti. I would like Senator Javits to go there and see for himself, as I have, how incapable those people are.” Senator Javits declared in response that “no matter how much education, no matter how much training, Negroes will have the same proportion of criminals, drunks, lazy people, immoral people, as we have.” “But they’ve got to have the chance,” he said, “and the record bears out the fact that they haven’t.” The debate was carried on the ABC-TV program “Issues and Answers.”


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