RACES: Help from the D.A.R.

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Brown, bosomy Hazel Scott attained fame by changing Bach's stately counter-point into boogie-woogie at Manhattan's Café Society Uptown. Last week Pianist Scott considerably enhanced her fame and earning power by not changing the stately D.A.R.

Solemnly and unanimously, the executive committee of the ancestor-worshiping Daughters of the American Revolution decided to keep its Constitution Hall for "white artists only." Miss Scott could not, as she had asked, give a concert there. Said D.A.R. President General Mrs. Julius Y. Talmadge of Georgia: "It was a nice harmonious meeting."

From the White House. Next day, a special messenger from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue brought a letter to the office of Miss Scott's new husband, Congressman Adam Clayton Powell Jr. of Harlem (TIME, Aug. 13). In reply to Powell's demand for "action" against the D.A.R., President Truman said that he could not interfere with a "private enterprise." But, the President added testily, "one of the first steps taken by the Nazis when they came to power was to forbid the public appearance of artists and musicians whose religion or origin was unsatisfactory to the 'master race.' "

A few minutes later Powell received a telegram from the First Lady. Said she: "I deplore any action which denies artistic talent an opportunity to express itself because of prejudice against race or origin."

But that afternoon Bess Truman, only an honorary Daughter, attended a D.A.R. tea in her honor. Asked if she might be a guest at similar teas, later, the taciturn First Lady shrugged. "Why not?" she asked.

The measured complaints of Democrat Powell and his 25-year-old wife were prompt—and promptly relayed to the press. In Minneapolis for a concert, Miss Scott told newsmen she thought the First Lady's action "looks as if she gives sanction" to the D.A.R. action.

"From now on," trumpeted her Negro husband in Manhattan, "Mrs. Truman is the Last Lady."

This time neither the President nor the First Lady replied. But the New York Times reminded the D.A.R. that they had closed their doors to one of the descendants of Crispus Attucks, first American to die in the Boston Massacre (1770). A handful of Harlem residents (called together by Powell) formed its own "People's D.A.R.," standing for "Drive Against Reaction," and booked Carnegie Hall for a Scott concert.

Connoisseurs of the art of public relations guessed that it would be well attended, that Hazel Scott's Washington concert would also have a good house. The buildup had been mighty good.