Long Island CORE
Black power part 2

Beware the B-Side
In the wake of the many riots that took place throughout Long Island after King’s assassination, CORE members pushed for the creation of youth centers which were set up using anti-poverty funding in the hopes of preventing future riots.

The centers were not without critics, though. Westbury officials in referring to the local youth center stated in Newsday the centers were being used ‘to foment violence among Negro Youths’ by outsiders. In a sign of things to come, Lamar Cox identified himself as one of the outsiders who had been talking to Black youths after ‘racial tension’ led to high schools and JHS being closed down in Westbury that 1st week of April.

This is indicative of CORE’s growing influence throughout LI at this time. Like Jackson, James Graydon, a chairman of the Long Beach NAACP, also quit his position to join CORE. He took two others with him and established Long Beach CORE. This became characteristic of CORE on Long Island as it spread during Black Power while other chapters in NYC shrank or ended completely. Some of these new CORE groups were sub chapters, or committees of LI CORE set up in other towns and villages. One example was Roosevelt CORE headed by Herman Washington.

Graydon was arrested a few months later after a shouting match with cops over being parked on the wrong side of the street in front of a local youth center. Graydon stated he was not arrested until he went to precinct to make a complaint against the police officer. He was found guilty for scuffling with a court Marshall during his court case and given 10 days and $250 fine.

Graydon had nicknamed Long Beach ‘Lynch City’, because of the many charges of police brutality and harassment. He had accused the cops of Gestapo treatment and his successor in the Long Beach NAACP, Harold Russell warned that Blacks would ‘start breaking ribs’. The president of the Long Beach Police Benevolent Association accused Russell of ‘inciting the colored people to violence’. Both Russell and his vice chairman James Sober worked for the city but were told would be fired for making complaints. The Amsterdam News also reported Russell and Graydon were being ‘guarded around the clock because of threats’.

As a result, there was a Nassau County grand jury hearing, followed by the creation of a committee that included Graydon, Russell and Sobers and community relations classes for officers. Lamar Cox went on record stating that what was really needed was Black cops, as had many in CORE since the first of the riots in Harlem in 1964.

Throwing Rox
Lamar Cox, also an engineer, succeeded Jackson who was also serving on CORE’s NAC. William Page was vice chair of the chapter which reported having 160 members at the time. White members were officially excluded when Innis became the head of CORE two months later. Cox had previously accused Whites in the movement of not being serious or committed and used Al Shankar of the United Teachers Federation as the perfect example. Whites ‘joined civil rights organizations with a recreational attitude’. Former LI CORE member Rev. Farley Wheelwright stated Cox’ remarks were, ‘only partially justified’. “For some it was… for others it was an intense, almost religious experience”.

LI CORE did not join with those chapters which decided to secede, even though Cox stated he sympathized. Suffolk County CORE was one of those chapters at first, but then decided against it. Lynch was slated to lead the rebel organization, the goal being to create a Black nation in the south, a ‘Black homeland’, ‘by whatever means necessary’, which was a direct reference to the philosophy of Malcolm X.

In and out of CORE, however, LI CORE leaders and members continued working with each other. Lynch, who was then vice president of the New York Urban Coalition specifically brought in Jon Moscow where he worked with a former treasurer of LI CORE, John Connor. Lynch, Graydon and Cox were three of the five to organize the Alliance of Minority Group Leaders which saw itself as a watchdog for local anti-poverty efforts.
Another similar group, the Long Island Coalition of Black Leaders was headed by Mel Jackson.

Black Leadership Training Schools
Jackson was also credited with starting a program within LI CORE ‘ to develop responsible and responsive leadership for and from Afro-American neighborhoods’, the Leadership Training Program. Originally known as the Black Leadership Training School (BLTS), its goal was to change the face of those officials dealing with education, jobs, and housing by placing Blacks in those roles and in other leadership positions. The program was mostly supported by local private industry included Gruman and Franklin National Bank.

In July, LI CORE initiated the program at the State Agricultural and Technical College at Farmingdale with eighteen kids from different parts of NYC. For ten weeks, they lived on campus and took classes in economics, political science, global history with an emphasis on Black History, public speaking and ‘the components of the power structure of each community.’ They were required on Sunday to go to local churches, ‘ not to pray’ but ‘to try and figure out why the churches had been the one constant Black activity that doesn’t crumble’.

Another session was done at Hofstra University in October and in March, 1969, a third session was done at both Hofstra and the State Agricultural and Technical College at Farmingdale. Some of its graduates immediately got involved in the various Long Island anti-poverty agencies. National CORE adopted the program that year as a national program to be replicated in other cities.

>>>> LI CORE Black power Part 3 <<<<