6 august 1968 & ford foundation gives city $600,000
#OTD 6 August 1968 The Ford Foundation gave the city $600,000 to rebuild neighborhoods impacted by the uprising after the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on 4 April 1968.
According to the 1968 Ford Foundation annual report, "In Washington, $600,000 was granted for innovation reconstruction efforts in riot-torn areas. A Community Development Committee appointed by Mayor Walter E. Washington will coordinate efforts of neighborhood groups, private developers, and black businessmen, who will have a major role in the rebuilding and operation of commercial areas."
Note that there was a specific reference to black male business owners having a central role in this process. This most likely grew out of the fact that the majority of businesses near the intersection of 14th & U Sts were white-owned and that most of white business owners didn't live in the neighborhood and many of them lived in the suburbs.
According to the Washington Post, the following persons were on the Community Development Committee:
Ralph E. Becker, attorney (white)
Bernie Bergunder, Kann's Department Stores VP (white)
Donald H. Bittinger, Washington Gas Light Co. president (white)
William Calomiris, Board of Trade president (white)
Charles Cassell, architect
Ernest T. Eiland, realtor (white)
Clyde Ferguson, Jr., Howard University Law School Dean
Dr. Herbert McKnight, physician
Edward Murphy, Murphy's Supper Club owner
Ruth Webster, CHANGE, Inc.
S.D. Wolfe, Jewish Community Council (white)
Notice that the majority of the committee members were white men.
Your comments are welcome below. Were you, family members or friends on the committee? Do you remember reading or hearing about the Ford Foundation grant? Do you recognize anyone on the committee? Did you work for Ford Foundation in 1968? You may comment privately here.
Photo source: Courtesy Ford Foundation, Ford Foundation Annual Report 1968.
Richard M. Cohen, "Grant to Rebuild," Washington Post 7 August 1968.