MAY 6, 1939
WASHINGTON, Friday, —A few people dined with us last night, among them Dr. and Mrs. Charles Judd. He is a member of the advisory Committee of the National Youth Administration and is preparing some educational material for the use of our NYA youngsters, which I think will eventually prove of tremendous value in our school system.
Mr. James McDonald, who was here with the President's Committe on Refugees, also came in to dine with us and told me of the really remarkable radio programs which young high school students have been putting on every Saturday afternoon. I think this is an extremely interesting thing to do and should be very stimulating for the young people of that age.
The Reverend Father Dillard, from France, who has been travelling through the country and making a study of our youth organizations and educational institutions, and who was here also, made one observation which troubles me greatly. He feels that the high school youngster is far better prepared to meet a world in which cooperative thinking is necessary, than the young college student. Something happens, he feels, in the interim between high school and college graduation which makes our young college graduates concern themselves almost entirely with material things.
This, I think, is natural because they have a more mature sense of responsibility toward their families and the possibility of founding families of their own. It should not lead, however, to the old type of individualistic thinking and I wonder if his observation is really correct. If he is right, we must take other factors besides college education into consideration, as for instance, the attitude of the home toward the older boy. There is also the fact that the group which goes through college is of necessity a little different in background from the group that graduates from high school, or even from grade school, and then goes to work.
Last night I spoke over the radio for the fifteenth birthday celebration of the Pioneer Youth Organization, which is a trade union organization looking towards the development of children of the workers. It plans to give them a knowledge of the labor movement and includes recreational and educational opportunities under health-giving conditions in clubs and camps.
A letter from Mr. Edward Bruce, Chief of the Section of Fine Arts in the Treasury Department, tells me of a project which he is starting. He was so impressed by the singing of "America" by Marian Anderson in front of the Lincoln Memorial on Easter Sunday, that he felt: "the solemnity, grandeur and challenge of that moment" should be captured for posterity. He is raising a fund to which he is asking every youngster who can afford it, as well as their elders, to contribute pennies, nickels and dimes, in order to have a mural painted of what he considered "an unforgettable scene." This seems to me a fine occasion to commemorate and I am sure his idea will meet with an enthusiastic response.
Today the President and I are leaving the White House at 11:15 to meet the President of Nicaragua and Madame Somoza at the Union Station. I shall have to tell you about the rest of the day tomorrow, for I fear there will be little time to be a columnist during it.