After few blacks responded to the Peoria Journal Star‘s inquiry into what “Negroes could do to help themselves” in Peoria, Bill Conver explored the difficulties facing the town’s Civil Rights Movement.
Were blacks to blame, for instance, for “not get[ting] all the education they can”? Conver answered that there was institutional resistance to equity in education — few black teachers in Peoria high schools — and then there were scarce job opportunities available for even those blacks who did graduate high school.
Carver Community Center Henry Harper tried to square the circle. He both argued for collective efforts to open up institutions and suggested that “Negroes must gain understanding, respect, and advancement as individuals…not as members of a minority group.”