Hampton Beach Project -- The Riots of 1964 -- April 1965
The Riots of 1964 - Chapter 4
Project Director's Report
Paul Estaver, Director
Once the grant application was formally approved on April 9th, intensive activities to establish the Hampton Beach Project were quickly begun on a number of levels. The consultants met with Mr. Van Nostrand and began the research design . The TAR Committee held a community-wide meeting from which grew several subsequent community volunteer committees. Program planning and design was shaped up with advice from Washington and special consultants. On the beach there were interviews with young who were already turning up for weekends. The first members of the permanent summer crew were hired from an already established temporary spring crew of aides and interviewers. TAR policy began to develop in terms of the committee's own structure, its fiscal setup, its authority, and the program which would involve the young people themselves. Conferences on policy and method were held with town and state officials. Finally, as May approached, intensive floor discussions in the Chamber of Commerce directors' meeting resulted in the groundwork for the summer programs.
The project budget in its final form devoted approximately two-thirds of its funds to salaries with the remaining third for travel and miscellaneous expense. Paid personnel were Van Nostrand, four-fifths time; myself, full time; Drs. Kvaraceus, Kenney and Palmer as project and research consultants on a per diem basis. In addition Dr. James Wylie was to be a consultant for recreation and sports and there was to be named a specialist to advise the TAR Committee on community organization. There was an allowance for student interviewer-program aides for spring, also on a per diem basis. For the 13 weeks of summer the budget provided for ten full-time workers and five part-time ones. In addition there was to be a full-time secretary for the duration of the project. Miscellaneous funds covered travel, office supplies, plus fees for accounting, statistical treatment of data and reproduction of the final report. For further details see the project application in the Addenda.
Unfortunately the delay in the grant application made it impossible for Dr. Kvaraceus to participate in the early stages of the research design, since he had a prior commitment in Europe. However Dr. Kenney and Palmer at once went to work on the design of the first interview schedule, which was to be given to as many as possible of the young people who had been arrested in conjunction with the 1964 Labor Day riot.
I spent a number of hours going through police record assembling names and addresses. Inasmuch as the names of juveniles were not available to us, the total list we obtained numbered 120, including cases that were not processed and those who were simply released with a warning.
In the area of community organization the TAR Committee held, during the first week of April, its first community-wide meeting. Invited were not only all interested members of the Chamber of Commerce but young people and as wide a representation as possible of adults from Hampton and surrounding towns whose experience or interest was in the area of youth work. Somewhere between 50 and 75 people attended. After a few brief introductory remarks, the group was broken down into three smaller seminars conducted by Stone, Van Nostrand and myself to explore with all possible candor the causes of previous riots and the possible solutions for the coming year. In each case the presence of both young people and the adults led to healthy discussions as we went over the issues of youth responsibility versus community responsibility , the rights of each group to enjoy and share the beach, and details of possible program.
After the seminars there was an additional assembly to hear comments of Mr. Rosenthal who had come that day for this event and to advise the TAR Committee employed in the establishment of the project's structure. At the close of the meeting interested persons were asked to sign up to work either in community planning or directly with the young people, and an encouraging number did leave their names. Out of these lists eventually grew the several volunteer committees who aided the project in subsequent months.
During the course of that day and the next one, Rosenthal met with Stone, Van Nostrand and me in a lengthy conference during which he suggested an outline and framework of the entire Hampton Beach Project. First the work of the months ahead was broken down into so-called functional areas, which is to say the basic divisions into which the project naturally fell. Second, these functional areas were discussed in terms of the various individuals who would have to organize the work and see it through to its completion . The outline of that day's conference is reproduced herewith:
I. Functional Areas to be Developed
- A. Youth - local, out of town
- B. Research - develop design materials and program
- C. Adults - boardwalk operators, Chamber of Commerce, adult community
- D. Police - local, state, National Guard
- E. Politics - selectmen, governor, congressional
- F. Community facilities - recreation, housing, pavilion, reception, etc.
- G. Communications - press, television, radio
- H. Training - project staff
II. Suggested Activities of Functional Areas
- A. Youth (program Director Paul E. Estaver and 20 college student program-interview aides and consultants.)
- 1. Research
- a. last year's violators
- b. last year's participants
- c. current attitudes among youth
- d. evaluate Kvaraceus' research (winter 1965)
- a. develop local organizing committee
- b. sit on TAP(TAR) Committee
- c. develop pre-conditioning program
- 1. pre- and summer planning nearby schools, etc.
- 3. Program
- a. pavilion, design, construction
- b. day and night activities
- c. games, contests, hootenannies, etc.
- 4. Recruitment
- a. on the beach
- b. in the communities
- c. identification program
- 5. Volunteers
- a. program committee, etc.
- B. Adults (Manning Van Nostrand, Richard Stone and consultants)
- 1. Interpretative program
- a. beach operators - seminars
- b. selectmen
- c. churches, PTA's
- d. Chamber of Commerce
- e. other community organizations
- 2. TAP
- a. Issues to be faced
- i. living conditions, cottages, codes
- ii. sleeping accommodations community American Youth Hostel
- iii. working conditions on beach
- iv. prices charged for services provided
- v. current program on beach (C. of C.)
- vi. relate to police activity - local and state
- vii. relate to Blandin Commission
- viii. develop program committee to be responsible for following each of the
- functional areas
- 3. Research - attitudes, etc.
- C. Police (Fire Dept.) - Van Nostrand and consultants
- 1. Develop functional relationship to police chief
- a. Washington visit
- b. develop training program for police department.
- c. suggest personnel types for summer employment
- 2, Develop working relationship to state police
- Governor's role
- D. Program - Van Nostrand, Estaver, etc.
- 1. Program plan for entire project
- a. youth
- b. adults
- c. police
- d. research
- 1. integration of age groups where possible
- E. Research - Van Nostrand, Kvaraceus and staff
- 1. Develop design
- 2. Produce instruments
- 3. Carry out program
- 4. Reports
- F. Communications - Van Nostrand
- 1. Develop organized and consistent program
- a. dissemination of news
- b. dealing with mass media
- c. developing community support
- d. developing state and regional support
Much of what was eventually either attempted or carried through as the Hampton Beach Project evolved from this outline. Eventually this program design was worked into a much more detailed schedule of related activities outlining in the responsibilities for the TAR chairman,the Project Director and the Youth Coordinator, and designating who had prime responsibility in which area in order to avoid overlapping effort and responsibility and hopefully leaving no functional areas unaccounted for.
The work schedule is reproduced herewith, partly because it indicates the areas which TAR hoped to encompass but also because it is at least one example of an organizational method.
Hampton Beach Project Team
N.B. The fact that one activity is assigned to a given office(r) does not necessarily indicate that the actual duty of carrying out the function falls to the officer indicated. What this schedule does suggest is areas of prime responsibility so that, in a team with overlapping functions, no single function may be inadvertently omitted. Thus an activity listed here under the "assist" category may essentially fall upon the "assistant" although the responsibility for seeing the function through to completion may fall to another officer.
A. Chairman (acting as executive officer for TAP
B. Project Director - Community Coordinator
C. Youth Activities Director
|1. Maintain contact with HEW||1. Coordinate with project consultants||1. Coordinate with project consultants|
|2. Coordinate with project consultants||2, Establish and maintain community relations with TAR||2. Interviews with young people to assist in establishing and coordinating team interviewers|
|3. Coordinate all local state and legal departments with TAR||3. Solicit funds for TAR from private sources||3. Investigation of riot phenomena in other cities|
|4. Approve and direct all TAR activities||4. Assist A-3||4. Assist B-9|
|5. Oversee financial transactions of TAR||5. Assist A-4||5. Assist B-10|
|6. Oversee employment of all TAR personnel||6. Assist A-6||6. Jointly with project director and chairman establish summer plan, acquire properties, funding, coordinate with police and community and youth program|
|7. Oversee acquisition TAR properties and materials||7. Assist A-7||7. Advise and oversee summer youth program|
|8. Assist with B-2||8. Assist C-1||8. With A and B, weekly evaluation of plan progress|
|9. Establish a TAR foundation to receive funds from private sources||9. Organize and assemble research data from C-2 and C-3||9. Continue interview project and analysis of beach youth population|
|10. Oversee a project to ascertain dynamics of riot||10. Create summer youth plan on basis of spring research||10. With A and B, establish Labor Day weekend activities plan, coordinate with police and community|
|11. Oversee assembly of data and writing of project report||11. See C-6||11. (Sept.) Initial evaluation of summer functions|
|12. Oversee post-summer community relations and projection of plans for 1966||12. Assist C-7||12. Interviews with those arrested|
|13. See C-8||13. Referral and research in other locations where riot phenomena exists|
|14. Assist C-9||14. Disseminate information of summer plan to the community and state law officials|
|15. See C-10||15. Assist A-5|
|16. See A-10||16. Assist A-9|
|17. See C-11||17. Assist A-10|
|18. Assist C-12||18. Assist B-2|
|19. Assemble and evaluate all data
of summer project
|19. Assist B-3|
|20. See C-14|
|21. See A-5|
|22. Assemble all records, write and submit
final comprehensive project report
To this point the TAR Committee had functioned for the most part in Stone's living room. Now however it became necessary to set up a more formal office. Space was donated to the project by the Hampton Beach Chamber of Commerce in the second floor of their building, which is a part of the Seashell complex. A telephone was put in and a part-time secretary was hired in the person of Mrs. Roberta Hall who subsequently went on full time as the work load demanded. Some of the furniture was donated, most of it was rented along with various other office equipment as the need dictated.
As a first step to determine whether it was even feasible to consider such program elements as a youth foundation, coffee houses or teenage nightclubs, Van Nostrand during April made inquiries of a Hampton Beach real estate agency, simply to check sizes and costs of rental properties. Unhappily, this preliminary inquiry was taken as indication that the TAR Committee was already proceeding on firmed-up plans before they had been cleared with its parent organization, and the resultant rumors in the beach community made the presentation of these program items all the more difficult when they were formally presented as a part of a program agenda.
A final item under the heading of program planning was a meeting with a representative of the American Youth Hostel to determine whether they could be of assistance to Hampton Beach in establishing some sort of healthy and well-supervised but inexpensive housing for young people. Although AYH is set up primarily for young people who are traveling, they were interested in finding any possible way to expand their methods and facilities to assist the Hampton Beach Project. Customarily they did not take as guests young people who were traveling by automobile and those who were planning to stay for more than one or two nights.
We discussed at some length the possibility of renting one or more building in Hampton to be set up dormitory style and run as much as possible along the lines of an AYH hostel. AYH had no funds either for personnel or material, but they were more than willing to assist in training and, if at all possible, work out some way where they could lend their name to a specialized sort of hostel for Hampton Beach. The income for dormitory supervisors and materials would necessarily have to be earned by the hostel itself. The conference ended with the agreement that the TAR Committee would seek approval for this sort of project from the Chamber of Commerce and that the American Youth Hostel officers would determine whether or not their cooperation would be feasible. Subsequently the AYH offices in New York did write in hopes that the project could be pursued further, but by this time the TAR Committee had decided that a hostel project was beyond the scope of reasonable possibility for 1965.
In the area of youth work during April -- our first step was to confer with Dr. Palmer and show to him the results of the various seminars we had conducted with the young people. He felt the that the attitudes expressed by the youths were sufficiently similar to those found in other studies that there was no need in pursuing this sort of investigation further, that it was now time to contact young people at the beach on weekends to acquaint them with the coming project and to elicit their ideas and support if possible.
First Contacts with Youth at Hampton Beach
On Sunday, April 11th, a crew of volunteers, three students from the University of New Hampshire and nine high school boys and girls from Hampton and Portsmouth, met at my house. Each person equipped himself with a pencil and a notebook, and we went to the main beach. Our plan was to work in pairs, approaching groups of young people and drawing them into conversation.
The day was warm and sunny , unusually so for early April -- enough so that winter-weary New Englanders flocked to the coastline , and for a few hours of the afternoon Hampton Beach leaped suddenly into season: stores opened up to serve pizza and hot dogs, and heavy traffic choked Ocean Boulevard heading in both directions. A few adults were adventurous enough to leave their cars but for the most part the boardwalk from the Seashell northward was crowded with young people, perhaps 500 of them, hanging around, talking, eating, sitting in their cars, or riding back and forth in them.
Also present and conspicuous were, at that time, a dozen state police troopers. The following week their number was increased to 18 and by early May there were always at least 20 on hand for the congested hours of the weekend. Their presence and demeanor made it amply clear that they were tolerating no nonsense this year. It was striking contrast to the previous summer's "red carpet" policy under relying on their presence and their uniform to get the message across.
Now their patrol cars were parked conspicuously at the center of the beach, three or four together. The troopers patrolled in pairs, grim faced. Everything in their stance warned the young people not to take liberties.
Now too there were a number of new rules. Along with the previous ban on the wearing of blankets or carrying of bongos, there came a prohibition on guitars. Any young person who took a guitar out of his car and carried it either on the street or onto the sand was told to put back in his car and leave it there. Anyone who sat on the hood or fenders or on the trunk of an automobile -- his own or not -- was told to get in or get off.
Knots of young people who gathered to talk in numbers of more than for or five were broken up and told to keep walking. No one, at least during April, was permitted to sit on the railing (although leaning was tolerated).
In addition, the park rules and state and town laws were enforced assiduously. No one was permitted to take a ball out of his car. If a car was parked facing out from a curb, it was summarily ticketed. Any car crowded with young people or which looked like a jalopy was automatically stopped and contents of packages and car trunks to be sure no minors were carrying alcoholic beverages. Tough looking youngsters or those who were their hair long were stopped on foot and requited to show identification. In several cases where no identification was carried, the boy was held at the police station until relatives or parents could be contacted by phone.
Needless to say, the young people didn't like it. Their unanimous reaction was outrage - that they were minding their own business and being shoved around and deprived of their rights, and if anything was going to ensure another riot this would do it.
At this time parking was permitted all along the Boulevard adjacent to the boardwalk, and almost no one was going on to the beach proper so that all the young people and police were impacted into a rather narrow artificial alleyway. Those of us who worked in that area all felt a tremendous sense of tension.
It was the beginning of a summer-long debate whether rigid police patrolling would act as a deterrent or an irritant. Community observers who had urged that the police be present felt none of the tension, but were in fact much reassured by the police presence. It should be added, incidentally, that New Hampshire's state police are taller than average, and some are huge. Certainly they stood out conspicuously in the crowd of young people, many of whom made it a point to wear old clothes when they headed for Hampton Beach.
As a matter of fact, a good many of them looked tough enough and surly enough so that I, as an adult, was hesitant to walk up and break in on their conversations. It was easy to judge by superficial appearance and conclude that these were the "weekend warriors" hatching battle plans. All the more surprising was it, then, to discover that these were high school kids, the great bulk of them from not more than 20 miles away, who were willing and anxious to talk to anybody who might give them a chance to participate in a youth movement to control riots.
Once their initial suspicion of any adult - particularly one from Hampton -- was allayed they would talk at great length, offering constructive suggestions and opinions. They thought it would be of great benefit if representatives of this new movement could come to their high schools and talk. They said they'd be willing to join and participate in a constructive youth organization, and they were not hesitant to give their names and home addresses. The problem, if anything, was to reach a sufficient number of young people in the time allowed, for once a conversation started it was difficult to break away.
When the group of volunteers returned to the house we compared notes and found that our experiences had all been very much the same: initial hesitance, then enthusiastic response. Among us we had assembled a list of 40 names. Only in one or two instances had any of the volunteers been rebuffed. In general, girls had been harder to approach than boys, and our girl volunteers had experienced somewhat more difficulty in broaching a conversation than had the fellows. When there was resistance, it was based in simple disbelief.
Second Week - Loss of Momentum
When the crew of volunteers broke up for the day, they left with a feeling of some exhilaration. It had been a good beginning. What we were attempting was so obviously new that we felt like pioneers.
By comparison the second Sunday was a present. The crowds on the beach were sparse because it was Easter and the weather was much colder and windy. This time there were seven UNH boys and about eight high school people, but after no more than an hour on the beach it was obvious that the crew was uncomfortable and making little progress, so we returned to my house to see what could be done. Over coffee and doughnuts we discussed what sort of an organization might be structured for youth at this early date, whether a mass meeting of youth might accomplish anything if indeed it would be possible to call one.
There was considerable disagreement on the questions of structure and organization. The college boys, more mature and articulate, were adamant that any sort of youthful congress and officers was out of the question. They even doubted the validity of our collecting these names. Particularly there was concern that if an organization was started too soon it would be rejected by the subsequent arrivals on the beach. We had no clear idea of what the youth culture on the beach would turn out to be or even what would be the average age level. Almost universally the young people we had been talking to were high schoolers, and we made the incorrect assumption that there would subsequently be a large turnout of college people.
Clearly there was a loss of momentum and a lack of consensus. When the volunteers finally broke up, I had the sense we had stumbled rather badly.
By April 25th we had obtained tentative permission to use a store on C Street for a youth headquarters until the matter of a pavilion could be settled. The volunteer crew, smaller now, went down to inspect the store, but since it had neither light nor heat nor furniture, there was little we could do beyond a brief tour of inspection. Again it was cold. And again we retired to my house after an hour or more and perhaps another 20 names enlisted. I announced that we hoped shortly to have a name for the coming organization and that as soon as one was accepted we could have ID cards for new members. I also planned to make up some sort of mimeographed questionnaire for the volunteers to use, partly as an ice-breaker in approaching young people but primarily to gain some preliminary factual information. Again the question of youth organization structure came up, and this time I suggested that at least temporarily we should limit ourselves to committees as people signed up, suggesting committees on research, programs, beach rules, housing, jobs, building and equipment, and organization.
Negative Attitudes - Youth Volunteers
Both this week and the previous Sunday we spent quite a little time searching for a name for the potential organization. We tried a number of acronyms such as SEARCH (Student Exploratory Action and Research Committee for Hampton), and after much struggle tentatively agreed on SCOPE, whose meaning I have now forgotten. In any case it was dropped within a week: no one could bring himself to announce, "I'm from SCOPE," and then someone remembered that the name had already been coined by a civil rights organization in New York.
Again I found a tremendously discouraging negative attitude on the part of the older volunteers. They couldn't see the point in ID cards, they thought it was too early to open up temporary headquarters, and they were dubious both about the proposed questionnaire and the committee structure for the organization. They felt that the whole movement was so far too much adult directed and that only after the sociological research was under way could anything specific be undertaken.
This was a time of considerable discouragement. April was quickly moving into May, and we had no consensus on program or even the role we were to play in the beach youth society. Volunteers were becoming harder to get. Both high school and college academic years were progressing toward conclusion, and social and academic pressures were increasing. The budget specified that the spring workers were to be used for interviewing but not as program aides, and it was with some hesitation that I put several of them on per diem pay for this organizational work.
Level of Youth Participation a Problem
The college boys were also much concerned whether they would be given permanent summer employment, and of the seven who had been helping I felt obliged to assure at least five that they could count on a job. Rosenthal had strongly advised that in the choice of a summer crew I get a good cross section of types and interests, and I wanted to make sure that at least several came from other colleges than the University of New Hampshire. The question of the worker's role and level of participation in the program was, at that point, a difficult one. If we were to obtain insurance, we had to be specific about their duties. We knew that they would be interviewing, that they might be conducting youth activities in the range of parades, sports, dancing, etc., and we knew that they might somehow be involved in possibly tense crowd situations at Fourth of July and Labor Day. Pretty much by guesswork we outlined enough more specifics that temporary insurance coverage could be obtained.
It was even more difficult to answer the workers own questions concerning their role in the coming summer's work. The criteria which had been established through consultation with Rosenthal and Dr. Palmer for hiring of the workers had been several: first and foremost they must be able to communicate with other young people, which is to say they should be extroverted enough to approach strangers and sell an idea and at the same time be "cool" enough - regular guys - that they not be immediately branded as do-gooders or finds. Secondly, and equal in importance, they must have experience in sociology, in interviewing, or in related fields. Third, they must be independent of mind and creative, for it was to be up to them to help establish the nature of the program.
Beyond that we looked for talents in music or editing or carpentry or crafts or any of the things which appeared might be useful in working with young people through the summer. The hope was to get a variety of viewpoints and interests represented in the group, and if possible to have them come from different backgrounds. At first we thought there should be ten men but ultimately decided that at least a few should be girls.
In theory, the specifics of their summer's work were to be worked out as the program developed. The level of their participation was to be first what their title suggested - program aides - who would function somewhat as camp counselors aiding the young people on the beach to carry out their programs in whatever ways were necessary or possible. Secondly, they were to help breathe life into the program itself by recruiting members and by helping to fill in ideas for program.
However, the very independence of mind for which we hired them made it difficult for them to accept a role at such a subordinate level. Part of the excitement for them in undertaking a thing like the Hampton Beach Project was the hope of being social catalytic agents, to act and interact not only with the young people but with the adult portion of the community. They felt the need for something to set themselves apart of a bunch of the kids.
More than anything they were by training and inclination doubters. They felt that the devices suggested to them as first steps in establishing the program were naïve and "square" as well, and they voiced their opinions explicitly. Also by training and inclination their thinking was academic.
When the question was brought up in a meeting with the sociological consultants, the consultants' reaction was that we should not rush into program details as quickly as this but should wait until the research had given us something on which to base our program.
On the other hand, the schedule worked out in conjunction with Rosenthal, Stone and Van Nostrand called for the program to go forward as quickly as possible. If July 4th was to be a test date for Labor Day weekend, there was none too much time at best. Somehow an organization of a thousand youths had to be created and functioning well enough so that experimental programs could be tried, adjusted and accepted or cast aside. A building or some sort of headquarters had to be established. To do all this we had five weekends in May, two in June and possibly ten days of full time beach life in late June after school was out.
For me this time in late April was the most discouraging of the entire project. I was beset by conflicting concepts and apparent loss of interest on the part of some volunteers, and a negativism which was difficult to cope with. I was working 30 hours a week for my magazine and some 40 for the project, drawing half salaries from each. No replacement had yet been found for me on the magazine and it was still possible for me to turn back to a position where I was both comfortable and competent from one where I was obviously inexperienced and feeling my way along.
Instead of keeping my irresolution to myself, I made the serious mistake of voicing doubts in my own capabilities both to the college boys and to my co-workers on the TAR Committee. The result, obviously, was that both (but especially the younger people) took my words at face value and doubted me all the more. It took months for me to reestablish myself in a position of strong leadership with the crew, and in a few instances I was never fully accepted as a leader.
What actually did hold the crew together during this period was the work to be done in research. In April I made two visits to Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, and several trips to St. Anselm's College in Manchester, NH to recruit personnel for the spring research, with the stated possibility that there were full time positions for the summer. By the third week in April Drs. Palmer and Kenney had completed the first interview schedule in its preliminary form. A training session was run for eight UNH volunteers who then found young people in or near Durham who had been in Hampton during the Labor Day riot and gave them the interview in a pre-test. Then we reassembled, evaluated each of the questions in terms of its clarity and function, and the sociologists made revisions for the interview's final form. In early May similar training sessions were run for the St. Anselm's students and for the Tufts students.
While all this work with the young people was taking place during April, the TAR Committee and its members were busy seeking to establish project policy and to obtain sanction to pursue the policy from the Chamber of Commerce.
TAR Policy Decisions
Early in the month it was decided that the signatory for project checks should be C of C president Walter Vanderpool who would be bonded for that purpose. As chairman of the TAR Committee Richard Stone was empowered to approve vouchers which were to be prepared for each check before it was processed. Two separate checking accounts were kept for the project, one for town funds and one for federal funds. Monies from the town fund were loaned to pay salaries from the federal fund and then returned when federal grant monies finally came through. John F. Conway, a certified public accountant of Exeter, was named as the fiscal agent for both accounts.
One serious policy matter which TAR tried to solve during this period - and indeed through much of the summer - was the question of public relations. Rosenthal and the consultants and several of the TAR members felt strongly that the news play given to strict court fines and sentences and to tough police measures in the offing could serve as an inducement and a challenge to those young people who were already inclined to regard Hampton with enmity.
Therefore it was argued that it was most important to change the community's image through personal contact with schools in adjacent areas and through the news media to show that Hampton was working constructively with young people and that there would be more fun for the youth on the beach this year. If the vicious circle of the self-fulfilling prophecy were to be broken, the chain of rumors and stories reflective of trouble and retribution would have to be altered as quickly as possible.
Since the prevailing view in the Chamber of Commerce publicity committee was that the best way to sell a new image of Hampton Beach was to have a press conference and announce that Hampton was going to be a safer place with better and more efficient police, advice was sought from an outside expert. To a special meeting attended by members of TAR and the Chamber of Commerce publicity committee there was invited Bill Stearns, public relations and advertising officer of Rockingham Race Track, who had had experience with publications both local and national in scope. Stearns warned that press conferences can get out of hand and that emphasis on safety precautions could backfire and give the impression of unmentioned danger.
At the meeting's conclusion the publicity committee and TAR jointly agreed that Robert Preston should be press officer and that all information concerning beach problems would be cleared through him.
During the latter half of April through a series of meetings with the TAR Committee and the directors of the Chamber of Commerce questions of the youth program and the TAR Committee's authority for carrying it through were discussed and, to some extent, clarified. At a TAR meeting April 17th Van Nostrand reported various steps of progress in office and other procedures since the granting of the project. My progress report concerned the spring program aides and volunteers and the meetings we had had with young people at the beach and elsewhere. Discussion then ranged over the feasibility and theory of the youth program and the hypothesis that the combined elements of a youth organization and an entertainment program could serve as a crowd-controlling device over the holiday weekends.
The committee approved the program in concept, but a serious question was raised concerning TAR's authority to translate the concept into actuality. Bill Elliot felt that any program must be okayed by the TAP Committee, recalling that TAR was a sub-committee of the other body and that a rather loose statement of the chain of responsibility had been made. Stone, on the other hand, felt that it was TAR's responsibility only to apprise TAP of its intentions; however, he agreed that communications between TAR and TAP had been less than desirable and should immediately be improved.
As a step in this direction several members of the TAR Committee attended the April 20th meeting of the Chamber directors. In an introductory statement Stone announced that the grant had officially been approved. He said that the project would undertake a two-pronged approach; first to upgrade the civic and business life of the community, and second to develop youth responsibility.
In my role as youth coordinator I then attempted to summarize the attitudes of the young people whom we had been interviewing for the past six weeks - that they felt no share in or identity with the beach community since so little of its entertainment programming was aimed at their level. I suggested that at least a strong element of the Hampton Beach youth society might take a more constructive attitude toward the beach and toward the rioting problem if they felt a sense of proprietorship, if they were given a constructive share in the community life and if there could be established for them a program of enjoyment and fun. It was stressed that the program could not yet be definitely formulated since many of the suggestions should come from the young people themselves. However, it was stated that under consideration were such things as teen clubs, registration centers, one or more coffee houses, some sort of youth organization and government, and a youth pavilion.
Stone then went on to say that Seymour Rosenthal would be the federal advisor to the Hampton Beach Project, that ten students would be employed by the project through the summer and that the first of a series of questionnaires was now being tested.
In the same meeting Stone asked for approval to apply for a $10,000 grant from the Spaulding Potter Charitable Trusts to carry out such program as might be undertaken during the summer, inasmuch as the bulk of the federal money would be used for salaries. At that time the filing date for consideration by Spaulding Potter was April 27, which put both the TAR Committee and Chamber of Commerce into an uncomfortable squeeze. The Committee had had insufficient time to establish project details, and the directors had had only these few introductory statements explaining what the project was and how it would be carried out.
Understandably, there were many questions: Who was getting how much money and for what? What was the role of the various project employees and the consultants? If there was to be a youth pavilion, how big would it be? Where would it be put? How would it be used? If there were to be teen clubs and/or coffee houses - if indeed they were desirable - where would they be? Under whose auspices? How would they be controlled? To what extent would these various enterprises compete with beach businesses? In what ways would it affect the image of Hampton Beach to plunge into such a program of youth entertainment?
On this occasion, and on subsequent occasions, the TAR Committee members' inability to cite specific details gave the impression of evasiveness. The statement that program could not be established until a youth organization had been formed and its desires explored was not satisfactory to businessmen, who were accustomed to well ordered and detailed advance planning. An additional impediment at the time was the fact that rumors had circulated the beach about coffee houses and teen clubs and even housing as a result of the committee's prior inquiries to determine whether properties were available for such efforts. There was a vague and general sense of discomfort and fear that these strangers in the TAR Committee were going off half-cocked and unchecked.
Program Takes Shape as Spaulding Potter Application Considered
However there was a general desire on the part of the directors of the C of C to carry the program forward and to settle all these details, indicated by their willingness to call a special emergency executive meeting for the following Sunday, April 24th, in order that an application could be filed in time to be considered for a Spaulding Potter grant. Whether or not an agreement could have been reached that quickly proved to be an academic question, for the next day we received word that there would be a two week extension of the filing date. The executive session was cancelled and the question was deferred to the following week's Chamber of Commerce directors meeting.
In the intervening days Stone, Van Nostrand and I assembled the following rough outline of budget items around which the Spaulding Potter application would be constructed. We were able to get brochures illustrating the sort of metal building we had in mind, and we filled in program details as concretely as we dared, considering that the program was still in its conceptual stage.
Spaulding Potter Fund Application
Specific items on budget:
At the April 27th meeting of the Chamber of Commerce directors, Stone and Van Nostrand presented this outline which had been mimeographed for the directors' convenience. (Subsequently this document came to be known as the white sheet)
Again, there were many questions. If the building was to go south of the Seashell, how would it affect adjacent businesses in that area? Was it legal or possible to put a building on the east side of Ocean Boulevard, and whose approval was necessary? If there was to be a newspaper, who would control its policies? What about lounging - should it be encouraged?
And again the questions of competition to established businesses on the beach was paramount. The consensus was quite clear that programs competitive to business could not be tolerated - that teen clubs, coffee houses and overnight accommodations for youth would not be acceptable.
As before, there was confusion and concern over concepts, authority, and responsibility. TAP Chairman Fallon stated that there had been a great deal of misunderstanding about TAR's work and that its policies should be spelled out. Selectmen Chairman Salomon made a plea for unity in the thinking of various community elements. Rather clearly, if a vote had been taken that night whether or not to approve the Spaulding Potter application it would have lost.
Therefore, it was suggested from the floor by director George Downer that specific steps be taken to improve communications between TAP and TAR. A special combined committee meeting was set up for May 3rd and it was agreed that a final discussion of the Spaulding Potter application would be aired at the following week's directors meeting on May 4th.
On April 28th the TAR Committee met to deal with questions of the police training program and of publicity (discussed below). Van Nostrand and I were authorized to do the hiring of project personnel.
The TAR Committee's Civic Subcommittee was at this point just established and its hopes of dealing with problems in the area of rentals and community support were discussed.
Further discussion about the Spaulding Potter fund application resulted in a special meeting, set for May 1, to include Selectman Noel Salomon, Robert Preston, President Walter Vanderpool and myself.
Town Officials and TAR
During the month of April the TAR Committee also concerned itself with activities on several other levels. Continuing its relationship with the town TAR had invited Noel Salomon to sit with the committee when he assumed chairmanship of the Board of Selectmen at the March town meeting. The newly elected selectman, Lawrence Hackett, who had previously sat a number of years on that board, was introduced to the TAR project in a special conference between the selectmen and Stone and Rosenthal.
Of the three selectmen, Salomon and Herbert Trofatter were enthusiastic supporters of the Hampton Beach Project from the outset, and although Lawrence Hackett's view was inclined to the school that says "spare the rod and spoil the child," he conscientiously refrained from blocking the project inasmuch as it was already under way. His greatest doubt was whether such a project should be undertaken through the auspices of a chamber of commerce, or whether it should have been the province of the selectmen as the town's governing body.
Also under the heading of town affairs was the continued TAR participation of Paul Leavitt who was confirmed as Hampton's police chief about mid-April. During that month, through the auspices of the TAR Committee Chief Leavitt made a special trip to Washington to meet with International Association of Chiefs of Police officials to establish a special training program in crowd control and psychology to be carried on during the summer weeks. Payment for this project was shared by the town police budget and TAR Committee funds to a maximum of $1000 each, and it was understood that any remaining funds would be covered through a grant from the Ford Foundation.
State Officials and TAR
During April various members of the TAR Committee also established contact with several branches of the state government. A visit to Director of Parks Russell Tobey and his associate Howard Berry drew warm support of the TAR program, and tentative approval for a building site adjacent to the sand. The park officials expressed concern that divergent factions within Hampton appeared to be working for different objectives. Commissioner Tobey urged that a meeting with representatives of all viewpoints be held with members of his department as soon as possible.
TAR members also sat in on several meetings of the Blandin Commission to outline the concepts under which the Hampton Beach Project would attempt to establish program and research. Where possible tentative program details were listed.
During this period the Blandin Commission was in what might be called a shake-down phase as it worked toward a consensus. Views ranged from that of a prominent Hampton Beach businessman - "we don't want kids - period!" - to that of Professor Jervis and several others that some sort of humanistic program was necessary. Members of the Blandin Commission were urged by TAR members to make personal visits to Hampton Beach during these spring weekends to judge for themselves how effective were the stringent police measures then employed.
It was apparent that state police Colonel Regan felt great responsibility for the safety of Hampton Beach. Several times he stated that although the position was not of his choosing, he felt the ultimate responsibility for the prevention of riots rested with him. At the request of Justice Blandin I met with Colonel Regan and discussed with him at some length the concept and such details as were possible of the Hampton Beach Project. He appeared most enthusiastic about our plans, and on April 19th permitted me to file with the Blandin Commission a statement to the effect that we were in agreement in principle, that the state police would support the project, and that a lieutenant had been assigned as liaison from the state police to the TAR Committee and to me.
Under the heading of Public Relations all was not as well for the project as it should have been during April. The rumor mill continued to grind out details of possible trouble for the summer and of supposed retaliatory actions by the community. A Massachusetts state police colonel was credited with a statement that there had been new handbills seen as far away as Chicago to announce a 1965 Hampton riot. The subsequent discovery that he had been misquoted was lost in the back pages of the newspapers, while the prior release had received front page treatment. At about this same time there was published in the FBI Journal an article by Colonel Regan recounting the history of the 1964 riot and hinting that the police would be tough indeed for 1965. Echoes of this also filtered to the newspapers and through news coverage on radio and television.
News of the federal grant to Hampton Beach and of the police training program also received premature release. It had been hoped that no announcement of either would be made until the project was far enough along to release program details.
Even worse, local press in the town of Hampton misunderstood and criticized the federal grant on the theme that a great deal of money was being spent on something possibly unnecessary and that everyone concerned was keeping it a big secret.
Therefore at Robert Preston's urging several members of the TAR Committee drafted statements for local release and made themselves available for comment. In subsequent weeks local newspapers carried detailed stories about the coming project and so ultimately did a few newspapers in the Merrimack Valley and in greater Boston. For the most part these news features were accurate and beneficial.