SEPTEMBER 8, 1939
HYDE PARK, Thursday—Yesterday I reached New York City in time to attend the annual meeting of the National Advisory Committee of the National Youth Administration. The meeting was well attended. In the morning we found ourselves discussing how best to help the youth of the nation to live through the present crisis without being swept away by their emotions.
It seems hard enough to expect grown-ups to accomplish this, but to expect young people who can hardly remember 1914-1918, to keep an objective point of view seems somewhat difficult.
Yesterday was the first day I had not spent a good part of the day listening to a radio, and so I bought a paper at noon and again in the evening. But, in spite of being busy, one could not help but think of the war all the time, for everybody is doing the same thing.
Mr. Aubrey Williams cautioned the Committee, therefore, against forgetting that domestic problems were still with us and that for us they were still paramount, that Congress had shown its confidence in the NYA by allotting it an increase in funds, and that it was essential for us to evaluate the work that had been done and plan, if possible, to better it.
It seemed to me that the most interesting contribution made was that of a member of a local advisory group from Ohio. He discussed the problem of a semi-rural neighborhood and went into details on the value to the community and the youth of the training for work. We had an interesting discussion on various rural and industrial problems as they effect youth today. I hope a committee will be appointed to study much more thoroughly than one can in a brief two day meeting, the relationship between agricultural and industrial problems which affect youth.
I had a luncheon engagement and could not stay with the group, but I returned in time to hear the last part of Mayor LaGuardia's speech. He made a very stirring one that I am sure everyone present felt was a great contribution to the thinking of the group.
A number of state directors were with us in the afternoon and some of the young people who represented different groups. A few of them returned to my apartment with me and discussed some of the problems which the present situation has put before them. I felt that many people at this meeting were still confused in their own thinking as to what our attitude as a nation and as individuals should be in this crisis.
Dr. Mordecai Johnson struck a note which I think we must hold before us. He said that we were the only nation that could think of building a world in which wars did not recur and that that thought must never be out of our minds. I returned to Hyde Park late last night.