Interview with Mayor Maurice Ferre
QUESTION 8
INTERVIEWER:

OK, here's your chance to tell me what you'd like to say about the underclass in the riot.

MAURICE FERRE:

I think, I think what has to be understood in the, in context of Miami and the McDuffie riots in 1980--



MAURICE FERRE:

The McDuffie riots in Miami in 1980 have to be taken in context, ah, of Black, brown, poor, urban America, ah, and all the things that plague, ah, poor brown, Black, urban America--poverty, racism. I think there's an overlapping between the, the problem of racism and the underclass. But right here in Miami I think one of the serious problems of, that affects us is the inability for a major segment of this community, it represents 17 percent of the total, ah, of course not all Blacks are poor, but of the 17 percent Black population in Miami there's a 10 or 12 or 13 percent that does live in poverty, is, is the inability for these people to participate in the promise of what America is all about. And therefore it's really a national problem and we, we, we must, we must understand and put, again putting it into context, that, that, ah, we as a society, as a free-enterprise, capitalistic society have not yet shown that we can solve the problem of that 20 percent that, that is the so-called underclass of our society. Indeed I think it's incomprehensible that in this great nation of ours there is an underclass. I mean that's the part that, ah,I as an American, ah, have a very difficult time dealing with. And I think there are a lot of us that feel that way. Perhaps our time is not now, ah, since, since Kennedy and the Johnson years are behind us and we're waiting for that to, to, to reoccur. But we in Miami, ah, and we in America, ah, must deal with that issue. And the, it, it, we faced it, ah, head on, ah, I mean eyeball to eyeball, ah, in 1980 during the McDuffie riots.