First Published: The Call, Vol. 6, No. 47, December 5, 1977.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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Atlanta–The SCEF conference for Jobs or Income Now, held here Thanksgiving weekend was a rousing success. Some 300 working and progressive people from 21 cities across the South participated in workshops and plenary sessions which focused on building the jobs struggle in the South.
It was one of the most broadly representative conferences in the Southern Conference Educational Fund’s history, as working class and minority people spoke their minds and learned from each other’s experiences. The whole conference had Spanish-language translation.
In a strong expression of internationalism, the conference’s Saturday night program–A Night of Solidarity with the African Liberation Struggle–heard representatives from the Zimbabwe African National Union and the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania.
SCEF Organizational Secretary David Simpson opened the conference by calling for “unity, organization and action” in the fightback against the especially severe effects of the crisis in the South. He showed that the living and working conditions of all the people in this region are lowered by the special oppression of Afro-Americans and the existence of an oppressed Black Belt nation here.
Mrs. Eva McMillan, president of SCEF, spoke on the general crisis of imperialism and in particular on its devastating effects on the family, women and minorities.
“We have to go away with the resolve to fight,” Black activist Robert Williams told the crowd. Williams pointed out that the gains of the Black struggle in the ’60s are now being wiped out by the crisis.
Odis Hyde, representing the Communist Party (M-L), urged the building of a broad-based mass movement for jobs. “We’re telling Jimmy Carter,” he warned, “we’re going to show you we no longer stoop. We shall silence you. As long as we have breath, we will fight in America.”
Mrs. Susie McQurter, mother of police murder victim Bennie McQurter, and Mrs. Juanita Tyler, Gary Tyler’s mother, both gave stirring messages of solidarity.
The conference ended in a spirit of militancy and unity, with the participants voting unanimously to endorse the Feb. 18 March for Jobs in Washington, DC.