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Jordan shooting rivets attention on blacks' plight

By Robert M. PressStaff correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor / May 30, 1980



Atlanta

The Thursday morning shooting of one of the nation's top civil rights leaders , Vernon Jordan Jr., came just hours after he warned that proposed federal budget cuts of programs for the poor are potentially dangerous.

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This was the theme of Mr. Jordan's speech to the Fort Wayne, Ind., chapter of the National Urban League on the evening of May 28. Mr. Jordan is director of the league. Early the following morning, he was shot twice in the abdomen just after getting out of his car at his motel in Fort Wayne.

At this writing late Thursday, Mr. Jordan was in stable condition following surgery. Local police had found no suspect or motive for the shooting. The Federal Bureau of Investigation was probing to see if any civil rights violation was involved.

In his Fort Wayne speech, Mr. Jordan said the proposed federal budget cuts of social programs for the poor "reinforce inequality." He also said that "the ingredients that led to the urban disturbances in Miami are in every city in this country."

Earlier this month, Benjamin L. Hooks, executive director of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) accused the US House of "brutally slashing vital funds for health care, education, nutrition, and jobs."

Mr. Hooks, interviewed by this newspaper in Miami during the riots in black communities there last week, was asked what could be one to prevent further black unrest.

Other Miami-like pressures have been building up in black communities across the country, he said. "The key to this problem is to get people to register to vote," he said.

The NAACP recently announced plans for a nationwide voter registration drive. For the more immediate future, there are signs that President Carter may be listening to warnings from black leaders and others.

Earlier this week the President told a group of community leaders he opposes last week's House-Senate conference agreement pegging military spending for the coming fiscal year at $154 billion, approximately $3 billion higher than he had proposed. He said this would take away some funds needed for cities, jobs, transportation, and income security.