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E-mail From Washington

From: Wolf Blitzer/CNN White House Correspondent
In: Washington, D.C.
Posted: 6-11-97

Subject: Preview of President Clinton's speech on race relations

President Bill Clinton is planning to announce a year-long dialogue with the American people on race relations, sources tell CNN.

Clinton will use the occasion of his commencement address Saturday at the University of California at San Diego to begin that dialogue.

For weeks, his aides have said he hopes that improving race relations in the United States will prove to be one of his legacies. As a son of the once-segregated South, the president sees himself as well-positioned to lead this effort.

Before leaving Washington Friday night for San Diego, the president is planning to announce a seven-member advisory board that will help him formulate his proposals. Sources tell CNN that Duke University professor John Hope Franklin will be one of those advisers. The panel, the sources say, will include three whites, two blacks, one Hispanic, and one Asian.

In recent months, the president has often spoken of the changing demographics of the U.S. He's pointed out that large numbers of recent immigrants have come from more than 100 countries.

In addition, he's planning to participate over the course of the coming year in four town meetings on race in different parts of the country.

White House officials insist the president is not organizing another Kerner Commission on race in America. In 1968, the Kerner Commission concluded there were two societies in the United States, "one black, one white, separate and unequal."

Says one senior White House official: "This is not Kerner II. This is Clinton I."

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