MARCH 25, 1937
JACKSON, Miss., Wednesday—We reached Birmingham, Alabama yesterday at 2:35 p.m. I was told that a few children would be out to greet me, but I found myself going down the street slowly behind a high school band and a corps of cadets. Something was distinctly wrong—the President should have been in the car. I wasn't really happy until we got away from the procession.
We stopped a Negro industrial school and heard some very fine singing. Then I saw the beginnings of a very fine PWA housing project for Negroes.
After a press conference we sat down to go over the mail which had been forwarded, after which three kind ladies came in to present me with some books. I was presented with a shield by the city at the lecture. Finally, when the Governor and Mrs. Graves came in to bid us goodbye, it seemed very inadequate to just say, "Thank you," for all their many kindnesses. Mrs. Graves had driven with me everywhere in the afternoon, so I really felt we had an opportunity to know each other a little.
We left a call for six o'clock this morning, but for some unknown reason I could not get the fact that we had to get up early off my mind. I woke up three or four times with a worried feeling. Each time it was so dark I turned over placidly and went to sleep again. When the telephone rang and a cheery voice said: "Good morning, it's six o'clock," it was so dark I was sure it still was the middle of the night.
It had been raining and as we travelled through the countryside we realized they have had about all the rain they can well absorb. Every stream and river seems to be full. We breakfasted peacefully on the train and then found ourselves settling down to dictation with a feeling that it must be well on in the day.
Mrs. Scheider looked at her watch and said: "Why it's only eight fifteen!" That gave us three clear hours before we changed trains at Meridian, Mississippi. The school children came in groups to several stations along the way and I went out and waved to then.
In Meridian we found Governor White of Mississippi, Major Sullens and Mr. Earl Russell, and they took over all our responsibilities.
We have decided that we will be saying for weeks to come, "We have seven pieces of luggage," because we have grown so accustomed to telling the porters not to forget any of the items. In Meridian, before we knew it, our bags were on the train. Someone else looked after them when we left the train and we found them in our hotel rooms.
There were representatives of many different groups at the Meridian station, for we were there for some time. A very smart looking high school band came down to play for us. The Governor and I accepted all our welcomes at various stations and I tried again inadequately to thank the people for their kindness, knowing that a large part of their interest in me is due to the fact that men, women and children alike say, "We love the President, please take him our good wishes."
Now we are in Jackson, Mississippi, and our press conference is over. Mrs. Ellen Woodward met us at the station together with Mrs. White. It was a joy to see Mrs. Woodward in her own home state where she is beloved by everyone. Peace and quiet reigns until we go to the lecture.