Address at the Third Annual WGHQ Human Relations Award Dinner, Ellenville, New York

April 19, 1966


Ellenville, NY

We should not be disappointed that Community Action has not been an instant success. It has been a long time since most leadership in this country has spoken to the poor and tried to understand the problems of their existence. We should not be disillusioned because spokesmen for the poor have not appeared overnight. It takes time for genuine leadership capable of action and results to develop. Nor should we fear the conflicts that have arisen as new power groups contend with old, as political leaders are forced to meet the slum dwellers instead of the ward leaders. Every department of city government dealing with social welfare problems should feel challenged to justify their traditional response to the problems of the poor. They may not like it but the price of their discontent may be progress—and stronger and safer communities for our children and ourselves.