Civil rights organizations push programs for economic parity, voting
New Orleans — Two-dollar bills and Susan B. Anthony $1 coins are circulating in New Orleans more than ever, all because of the recent ''Black Dollar Day.'' Instigators of this unusual currency shower were the 7,000 delegates and visitors attending the 74th national convention of the National Association for the Advancement for Colored People (NAACP), which closed July 15. They have departed New Orleans for home leaving a message - the NAACP is seeking economic parity for blacks as its No. 1 priority.
In a typical scene on Black Dollar Day, a cashier looks at a person wearing an NAACP badge. She rings up the charges. She accepts the payment. She looks at the customer and asks, ''Where are you-all from?''
''I'm from Georgia. Why?''
The cashier drawls, ''All these $2 bills and little silver dollars! I never saw so many of these things before.''
The $2 bill and $1 coin were exchanged by NAACP delegates to spend in place of the usual currency and traveler's checks. And it was designed to call attention to the association's Fair Share economic program, which is the NAACP's effort to get mainstream America to hire and promote more blacks and to do business with more black entrepreneurs and financial institutions.
In this effort, the NAACP convention previewed a new ''unity summer'' for civil rights advocates. Summer 1983 will be climaxed Aug. 26 and 27 in the nation's capital with a 20th-anniversary ''Mobilization for Jobs, Peace, and Freedom.'' This program will memorialize the 20th anniversary of the Aug. 28, 1963, march on Washington, best remembered for the ''I Had A Dream'' speech by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The New Orleans convention has also set the pattern for civil rights goals in 1984 - economic parity for blacks, political power through voter registration and a campaign to defeat Ronald Reagan, and quality education in public school classrooms.
These programs will be spotlighted in the conventions of three other organizations, Operation PUSH (People United to Save Humanity) July 24-30 in Atlanta, The National Urban League July 31-Aug. 3 in New Orleans, and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference Aug. 23-26 in Washington.
The NAACP itself will hold two special events to implement Fair Share and voter registration. A national Black Dollar Day will be held under the guidance of L. R. Byrd of Greenville, S.C., director of the Fair Share program. A date is to be set. The kickoff for the registration and voting drive will be a three-week, 360-mile march Aug. 14-Sept. 4 from Covington, Ky., to Detroit. A caravan, led by Joseph Madison of Detroit, NAACP political action director, will conduct registration campaigns along the way in cooperation with local NAACP leaders. Stops are scheduled in Cincinnati, Dayton, Toledo, and a number of other Ohio cities.