Fourteen years after the 1964 Civil Rights Act, federal courts in the South engage in employment discrimination that reflects "dismal, shameful neglect" of blacks and women> the non-profit Southern Regional Council said yesterday.
A 10-month study found that in the 11 states of the old Confederacy, where blacks make up 20 percent of the population, district and circuit courts have perpetuated "shadows of segregation" at all levels of employment. The report stated that southern federal courts have black employment of only 6 percent, an "astonishingly slow gain" from 2 percent in a 1965 survey.
Only one of 112 federal district judges in the South is black, the report showed. It said that none of the 26 circuit judges in the region is black and that there are no black full-time magistrates or U.S. district or circuit clerks, only one black U.S. attorney and three black U.S. marshals.
Two southern federal district courts - in Fort Smith, Ark., and Roanoke, Va. - have no black personnel, while nine of the region's 29 district courts have no blacks in professional positions, the report showed.
Women fared slightly better in low-level clerical, secretarial and library jobs, the study showed, but the number of women in court positions did not reflect their presence in the labor force. Only 9 percent of higher-level positions and 2 percent of southern federal district judgeships are occupied by women, the report stated. No women hold professional positions in district courts in Macon, Ga., and Oxford, Miss., the report said.
The Atlanta-based council - which since 1944 has strived to promote equal opportunity for blacks and white in the south - called on President Carter and senators to appoint quailfied blacks and women to "a large number" of the 60 judgeships created in the South by a recent law that will add 152 federal judgeships across the nation.
The council gave the highest marks for hiring blacks of district courts in Memphis and Montgomery (17 percent of court personnel) and new Orleans (14 percent). The highest percentages of women employed by district courts were found in Miami (24 percent), Atlanta (18 percent) and New Orleans (16 percent).
even so, the report stated, these figures fall substantially below the percentage of blacks and women in the labor force in these cities.