JUNE 11, 1936
LITTLE ROCK, Ark.—My first glimpse of Arkansas was a drive through very rich country just before sun down on my way to the Dyess Colony. This is the biggest of all the homesteads that I have seen, four hundred and eighty families actually moved into their homes and you can almost feel that you are back in the pioneer days for they are clearing their land. It is very rich land and I think promises success in the future. The first man to move into the colony now has twenty-five acres cleared, the last one who moved in a week ago, has only five acres cleared, so he will probably only have a garden this summer. They have a community house, a recreation hall and a small hospital and all of these expenses are prorated back on the general expense of the land and house. They will begin to pay back in the course of the next few years as the land comes into production.
In the meantime, most of these people who were tenant farmers on relief, have the hope again of establishing themselves independently through their own efforts. It was hot as we stood on the steps of the community and shook hands with them all, but as I looked into their faces as they came by and at the children who slipped around and in and out, I decided that they had character and courage to make good when an opportunity offered and at last that opportunity seemed to be within their reach.
At supper I found the last people to move in were some friends of mine, made through a small son who had infantile and who had been at Warm Springs. It was really interesting to meet his father and mother, particularly his mother who had been just a handwriting to me before.
We got back on the train at midnight and Mrs. Scheider and I were gasping for something cold to drink, so they kindly brought us a long lemonade. I haven't tasted anything so good in a long time.
The car in which we slept was attached to the President's train during the night and this morning we were ready just in time to get off at Hot Springs. A charming group of ladies swept us off to a breakfast, a very informal breakfast with beautiful flowers in a beautiful room. I stayed with them until ten o'clock when the President's party picked us up and we drove through the town, visited one of the bath houses and even tasted the water which was too hot to really enjoy on a hot day. Then we went on to Mr. Harvey Couch's house on Lake Catherine, a beautiful lake and a beautiful setting for an informal but delightful luncheon. Now we have driven through Rockport and Malvern, taking part in the short religious ceremony commemorating the Centennial and getting a glimpse of the pageant before boarding our train bound for Little Rock.