MARCH 15, 1939
HOUSTON, Tuesday—After lunch yesterday, we started with Elliott and Ruth for Waco, Texas, but we stopped at Elliott's office and he discovered some urgent business. Miss Thompson and I, therefore, bid them goodbye and stepped into Mr. J. C. Kellum's car which was followng us, because we had promised to stop at an NYA project on the way. We stopped in Hillsboro to see a practice house for girls. Rural girls come in for two week periods and then return home to put into practice what they have learned, after which they return for another stretch of training. This alternating system works out very well, for two shifts are kept going and on each return a girl is given training in activities in which she did not participate during the previous period.
Once in Waco, we left Miss Thompson at the hotel and I went out to see the building which the NYA boys have constructed for the municipal airport. Then we stopped at the Girls Club of Waco for a meeting with members of the State Advisory Committee of the NYA. The girls club is interesting in that the women's organizations in Waco have sponsored it, feeling that the underprivileged girl needed a place to spend some of her leisure time.
We were not able to board the train until after 1:00 a.m., so we caught up with the mail. I went to sleep with the light shining full in my face and would probably never have caught the train at all, if Miss Thompson had not been firm that sleep for her was out of the question if she expected to sleep on the train. This was, of course, pure unselfishness, but I accepted it knowing that I could not stay awake.
In the waiting room at the station we saw a young woman with a small child, apparently sleeping on something which looked like a rough canvas stretcher. Every now and then the child would give a croupy cough and move her little arm which hung over the edge of the stretcher in a most uncomfortable position. Miss Thompson felt sure that they needed some help, but since the young woman never even looked at us, neither of us had the courage to speak to her. In consequence, I think both of us left with rather a guilty conscience.
We arrived in Houston at 7:45 a.m. After breakfast came a press conference and then I went off with Mr. Kellum. They have a hospital project here much like the one which is being carried on in New York state and which I described to you before. We visited a woodworking shop where school desks were being repaired and then drove some 50 miles to see a little community center built for the small town of Hempstead. The NYA boys have done a beautiful job in stone and the building is attractively planned with a big fireplace in the large main room, which also has an opening on the outside so that they can have outdoor picnics if they like. We stopped in to see some buildings on the way home put up by NYA boys at Prairie View College, which is the only state supported Negro college in Texas. Back at the hotel now with no further public activity until my lecture this evening, though a few people are coming in to see me later on.