Other CORE Chapters

This section deals with the history of the other chapters in the NYC metropolitan area. Many of these chapters did not last long and there isn't much information available on them. The size of each chapter's description in comparison to the other NYC core chapters should not be taken to suggest that they are any more or less significant than any other chapter.

Some of these include:
Fordham University CORE
CW Post College CORE (aka North Shore CORE)
Amityville CORE
Westchester CORE
Staten Island CORE
Northwest CORE aka Bronx west CORE

Mount Vernon CORE
Because some basic information is not yet available, this piece can not say how and when the chapter started or ended. The chapter is significant because of a single event that had an effect on the national organization. The story involved a nasty statement critical of Jews that was made by a Black male officer of the chapter.

Mount Vernon is a city in Westchester County just above the Bronx. While not a part of New York City (NYC) proper, it is considered part of the New York metropolitan area. To native 'new yawkers', because of its historic closeness, Mount Vernon is often referred to, like Yonkers, as a sixth borough.

During the 1960's, Mount Vernon was literally divided by race to the extent that Blacks lived on one side of the railroad tracks and Whites lived on the other. According to a May 4, 1966 press release from CORE, Blacks were about 20,000 of the total population of 80,000. 70% of the 'non-domestic minority workers' had to go to NYC or other nearby cities to find work.

A letter from then field secretary Herb Callender to the CORE chapters listed many of the other racial problems in Mount Vernon: its mayor had barred Blacks 'from his office except those he deems worthy of talking with him'; constant police brutality against Blacks; families on welfare were being evicted to the extent that children were put out in the snow by city marshals while the parents were at work; the local Board of Education (BOE) not only refused to desegregate its schools, Blacks were constantly insulted at BOE meetings.

A May 3, 1966 letter from associate national director Lincoln Lynch to national director Floyd Mckissick stated that in terms of the issue of education "...Mount Vernon is likely to be the most important area in the north as far as CORE is involved."

Since 1964, Mount Vernon CORE had been involved in fighting against segregation in local schools. As part of a coalition of groups, it worked hand in hand with the local NAACP. Mount Vernon CORE had not been affiliated yet and was still in the process of becoming an official CORE chapter. Isabelle Hawkins (Black) served as chairman and Fred Dusenbury was her vice chairman.

A July, 1965 meeting between the chapter and Mr. Yannantuono, the president of Mount Vernon's BOE spoke to what was going on between the two opposing sides over the issue of race and the local public schools. Yannantuono was said to have made classically racist statements (referred to as 'observations') during the meeting, among which were:
- Black women in Mount Vernon were promiscuous
- Black men in Mount Vernon drank too much and did not want jobs
- 'these people' should have been brought into the church by Black ministers, as if to say Black ministers were neglecting their duty.
- Italian immigrants in Mount Vernon had become respectable citizens, but Blacks had not.

Cliff Brown (Black), a Westchester County probation officer, was Mount Vernon CORE's education chair. During a November, 1965 BOE meeting Brown led the coalition of opposition groups in singing freedom songs as protest against the BOE's failure to deal with the schools' integration problem. As the meeting got increasingly 'tumultuous', Brown stated he wanted to come down to the stage and spit on the board members. The president of the BOE had made another racist remark in stating the main reason for Black people's educational problems was they 'lacked culture'.

At an equally 'tumultuous' BOE meeting on February 3rd, 1966, the 32 year old Brown, remarked, "Hitler made one mistake when he didn't kill enough of you". The February 8 edition of the New York Times reported the statement was directed against the Jewish president of the Mount Vernon chapter of the Parents and Taxpayers group (PAT).

The Times reported CORE's national director James Farmer condemned the remark as 'intolerable'. Farmer equally blasted the actions of the BOE in delaying integration in Mount Vernon's public schools and insisted on investigating the context Brown's statements were made in.

>>>> Part 2<<<<