"The United States Government, under the Constitution
and the law, is committed to the guarantee of the
fundamental rights of every American. My Administration will
preserve these rights and work toward the elimination of all
forms of discrimination against individuals on the basis of
their race, color, religion, national origin, or sex."
Thus did President Ford tell of his commitment to the
preservation of the fundamental rights of all Americans.
President Ford has a twenty-five year record of achievement in
ending racial discrimination, beginning with his earliest service
in the House of Representatives to the present.
The President's efforts to end racial discrimination are well-known.
Throughout his years in Congress, then-Congressman Ford was
active in formulating, and voted for every major piece of
legislation aimed at ending discrimination based on race, from
the Civil Rights Bills of the 1950's; to the Civil
Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965;
and extensions and strengthening of these and other Acts through
the 1970's. In August, 1974, President Ford signed legislation
amending the Voting Rights Act of 1965, extending the temporary
provisions of the Act for seven years and expanding coverage of
the Act to language-minority citizens.
And President Ford has carried out his beliefs in the American
system of equal opportunity for all in his actions as well as in
his words. Notables such as Secretary of Transportation
William T. Coleman; John Calhoun, Special Assistant to the
President; Arthur Fletcher, Deputy Assistant to the President for
Urban Affairs; and Constance Newman, Assistant Secretary for
Consumer Affairs, in the Department of Housing and Urban
Development, lead the list of Black Americans appointed to
positions of leadership and responsibility in President Ford's
Administration. In another recent action to fight more subtle
discrimination against Americans, President Ford:
- Supported legislation to amend the Equal Credit
Opportunity Act, which presently covers sex and marital
status to include prohibition against any creditor
discriminating on the basis of race, color religion, or
national origin against any credit applicant in any
aspect of a credit transaction.
The Ford Administration has shown real commitment to the
concerns of Black Americans in the critical areas of Civil
Rights, Equal Opportunity, Employment, Business opportunities,
and Education, and Housing. Activities in these areas are
- Total outlays for civil rights activities will
increase from $2.9 billion in 1975 to $3.9 billion in
- Outlays for civil rights enforcement will grow to
$430 million in 1977, an increase of 24% over 1975.
- In 1977, outlays for equal-opportunity in the military
services, including the U.S. Coast Guard, will
total more than $40 million. An additional
$19 million will be expended for contract compliance,
fair housing and title VI activities.
Equal Employment Opportunity
- As of November 30, 1975, over one fifth (21%) of
Federal employees were from minority groups. Recent
surveys have reflected a continuing trend of more
minorities in the middle and upper grade and pay levels.
- Outlays for Federal civil service equal employment
opportunity programs (including upward mobility) will
increase by 29% in the years, 1975 to 1977, to $188
- The budget of the Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission will increase from $56 million in 1975 to
$68 million in 1977.
- Executive Order 11246, as amended, prohibits the
practice of discrimination in Federal contracts, sub-contracts,
and on federally assisted construction projects. In
1977, Federal agencies responsible for implementing this
order will spend $40 million compared to $18.1 million in
1972. Approximately 570,000 new hires and promotions will
be effected by such affirmative action goals.
- The President directed Secretaries Coleman, Usery and
Mathews and Attorney General Levi to review existing
Federal Affirmative Action Programs to make
recommendations as to how the programs can be made to
work more effectively without placing unreasonable
burdens on Federal contractors.
- Small Business Administration's (SBA) direct and
guaranteed loans to minority enterprises have increased
from $41.3 million in 1968 to $226 million in 1975.
As a part of the Administration's continuing strong
support of efforts to expand minority participation in
private enterprise, SBA expects to provide over $465
million in loan and loan guarantees to about 8,600
minority enterprises in 1977.
- The Office of Minority Business Enterprise (OMBE) will
continue to provide financial assistance at a level of $50
million to support efforts to create and expand business
ownership opportunities for minorities and stimulate
private, State and local initiatives in this area.
- SBA will expand its management assistance program for
minority firms by $3 million in 1977. SBA will also
increase procurement subsidies by $3 million for minority
contractors to facilitate participation in the 8(a)
- Under SBA's 8(a) procurement program, sole source
contracts with minority firms are expected to increase
from $32 million in 1975 to $350 million in 1977.
- 74 Minority Enterprise Small Business Investment
Companies (MESBICS) are currently in operation with
Federal matching funds of $43 million and private
capital investment of $40 million.
- A combined private sector/Government program has resulted
in a substantial increase in the deposits of the Nation's
71 minority-owned banks. These deposits totalled $1.3
billion as of June 30, 1975, compared with $396 million
in 31 minority-owned banks at the start of the program,
September 30, 1970.
- Under the emergency school aid program, Federal aid
will be continued to help overcome the effects of
minority group isolation in school systems. In 1977,
this program is proposed for operation at a requested
level of nearly $250 million, including some $35 million
for civil rights advisory services.
- In 1977, $110 million will be obligated in order to
support the improvement of developing institutions,
including Black colleges.
- In 1977, $1.9 billion will be provided for
disadvantaged students at the elementary and secondary
- Office of Child Development activities -- primarily in
the Head Start Program -- will receive $434
million in 1977 and serve more than 430,000 children.
- Expenditures for the enforcement of laws against
discrimination in housing will increase to more than $8
million in 1977.
- An experimental program will carry on its test of the
effectiveness of direct cash assistance programs as a
means of dealing with the fundamental problem --
inadequate income -- in achieving the goal of a decent
home for all Americans.
- The lower income housing assistance program will continue
to provide a more flexible form of housing assistance. In
1977, support will be provided for 400,000 units.
Anti-Poverty and Social Programs