Bronx CORE (pt 3)

The Undercover Agent
On July 14, Callender, Woodall and John Valentine made a citizen's arrest on Mayor Wagner on charges of misappropriation of funds. They were arrested for disorderly conduct instead.

Callender was also sent to Bellevue for forced psychiatric evaluation, a move perhaps meant to humiliate as well as unduly punish him for his actions against the mayor, arguably the public face of local government. Callendar spent five days in Bellevue until he was bailed out. He was eventually found guilty of disorderly conduct for his part in the citizen's arrest.

What no one knew at the time was Ray Woodall was in reality Officer Ray Wood of the Bureau of Special Services (BOSS), a department within NYPD. Known informally as ‘the Red Squad’, BOSS’ function was to gather intelligence on political radicals. Wood's status as agent was not discovered until the next year when his photo appeared in a 1965 New York Times article detailing his infiltration of a group that alledgedly plotted to blow up the Statue of Liberty. When questioned in court by defense lawyer Mark Lane, Harlem CORE's former lawyer, Wood testified he was ordered to join Bronx CORE.

James Farmer's book, 'Lay Bare the Heart', states Callender identified Wood as the one who came up with the idea for the citizen's arrest. In court, 'Wood denied that he suggested the citizen's arrest', according to the New York Times.

An article by former New York CORE member Susan Brownmiller stated Wood had taken part in several actions with Bronx CORE, including demonstrating at the World’s Fair. Her article was most probably reffering to a pre World's Fair demonstration on April 5th in which seventy five members of Brooklyn and Bronx CORE, along with a group led by Milton Galamison of the city wide school boycotts, blocked trucks making deliveries to the World’s Fair. Thirty were arrested that day including Callendar.

The Stall-In with Bronx CORE
Bronx CORE was one of the three ‘ghetto chapters’ supporting the World’s Fair Stall-In. When the plans for the Stall-In were finally announced, a temporary restraining order was issued ‘barring any attempt by militant civil rights groups to tie up transportation to the World’s Fair’. Callender and the other CORE leaders named went into hiding so they could not be served with the injunction.

Callender was finally arrested when he showed up at a Queens police station to inquire about those arrested during the subway action of the planned Stall-ln. When he wasn’t allowed to see the arrested CORE demonstrators, he laid down on the floor of the precinct, went limp and was arrested for disorderly conduct.

Even though these actions went directly against those of the National CORE office, Callender became a field secretary and left Bronx CORE by the end of 1964 to. He was elected to the National Action Council (NAC) and eventually became the national organization director, the third ranking position in CORE at the time.

Transition to Sol Herbert
As the chapter went through a period of ‘re-organizing’, Howard Quander acted as temporary chair until Harold Davidson took over at the beginning of 1965. Pat Williams was co-chair and Geneva Andrews was vice chair. Other members of Bronx CORE at this time included Mabel Hurst, Joe Sweeny, John Talbot and Nat Williams. Judith Howell also moved up to a national position working for the Northeast Regional office. While there, she organized a sub-group of CORE, the Militant Young People. Beverly Perkins was listed as chair.

By mid-1965, Sol Herbert had become chair. Projects followed CORE’s directive of focusing less on demonstrations and more on community organizing. A literacy program had already been created and manned by members trained as literacy instructors in conjunction with the Institute of Educational Research. Another social service project was set up ‘to service individual social problems and complaints by’ experienced social workers.

Tenant organizing also continued with the goal being to get tenants in the community to voice their complaints formally to the housing authority, police and sanitation departments. In showing them how to organize, Bronx CORE sought to get tenant organizations up and running and able to stand on their own.

Similarly, the goal of its youth programs, besides getting kids off the street and helping them stay out of trouble, was to instill community spirit. The basketball teams it organized in mid 1966, for example, were seen as part of a larger program to ‘develop new youth leadership at the grassroots level’.

>>>> Part 4 <<<<