In a speech Monday night the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson called on all the nation's workers to participate in a one-hour work stoppage April 4, not just blacks, as reported yesterday.
The Rev. Jesse L. Jackson last night called on blacks in America to conduct a one-hour work stoppage on April 4, the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination, to protest the high rate of unemployment among blacks.
Speaking before a crowd of about 2,000 people at the 19th Street Baptist Church on upper 16th Street NW, Jackson said that "black America is in an intensified state of brokenness, misery and despair." He said that the federal government has cut back public aid to blacks while opportunities for them in the private sector remain limited.
Jackson, who was interrupted by applause and exhortations of "Speak, Jesse" several times during his address on "The State of Black America," criticized the Reagan administration's cuts in loans to minority-owned businesses. "We are being denied aid and trade, while black veterans of foreign wars and taxpayers are watching countless millions of dollars go to prop up puppet regimes and totalitarianism around the world," he declared.
He also accused the Reagan administration of promoting "voluntary desegregation" as a means of "reestablishing segregation."
Sounding one of his familiar themes, Jackson noted that while black Americans spend billions of dollars each year in the automobile, fast food and beverage industries, relatively few franchises in those businesses are black owned.
Jackson said to combat this squeeze from both the public and private sectors, blacks must use the power of the vote, particularly the 7 million blacks who are eligible to vote but are not registered. He noted that in recent years the Democratic party, which he said blacks have faithfully supported since 1932, has done little to promote black Democratic candidates.
"Whether you're a white Democrat or a white Republican, race loyalty is greater than party loyalty," Jackson said. He added that "blacks in 1983 must break out like a plague running for governor, senator and even president."
He also urged the crowd, which included several local black leaders, to support the Aug. 27 march on Washington, the goals of which include more jobs for blacks.
Among the leaders present were D.C. City Council member Jerry A. Moore (R-At Large), pastor of the 19th Street Baptist Church; Betti Whaley, president of the Washington Urban League; Calvin W. Rolark, director of the United Black Fund, and the Rev. Edward Hailes, president of the Washington chapter of the NAACP.
Jackson also criticized the labor movement which, he said, is calling for full employment but "continues to discriminate against us and deny us our fair share of labor jobs and labor leadership." He said that on April 4, the nation's workers should engage in a one-hour work stoppage from 11 a.m. to noon to protest the unemployment situation. He also urged the unemployed to conduct demonstrations at federal buildings.
Jackson said that churches, particularly "the white church," has been lacking in "moral leadership."
"At its best the white church has engaged in some pastoral care--aiding individuals. At its worst, it has blessed an unjust and unmerciful status quo . . ."
"Our dilemma, then, is that we cannot turn to the government, business, labor or the white church to save us. Nobody will save us, for us, but us."