SEPTEMBER 14, 1939
GADSEN, Ala., Wednesday—The Cadek Choral Society of Chattanooga, Tennessee, which is a civic chorus conducted by Mr. J. Oscar Miller, sang three songs very beautifully before my lecture last night. I think they must have been slightly discouraged that there were going to be so many attractions in the city on the same evening.
Today an election for Congressman is taking place, so that all the last political meetings were going on last night. The Chattanooga baseball team has fought its way up and won the pennant and played its first game with Atlanta last night, and everyone was anxious to cheer the home team on. It was a tribute to the society that they still managed to have a good audience at the auditorium. I enjoyed the singing so much that I would gladly have had them go on for the whole evening and forget that I had come to give a lecture.
We left this morning at 8:30 by train for Attalla and drove from there to Gadsden, some six miles. Miss Daisy Smith and Miss Coates accompanied us. On our arrival the ladies and gentlemen of the press came up at once. I find a great interest everywhere now in the King and Queen of England's visit. How did they look, how did they act, were they are as democratic as the press reports implied? These are samples of the questions asked me.
After the press conference we went out to see the Alabama School of Trades. This is a state educational institution for the training of white boys and young men in useful occupations and in related technical and occupational knowledge required by the trade. A farm is run in connection with the school and the boys put up thousands of gallons of vegetables and fruits. They made most of the equipment for this small cannery and grew the food which they canned. Their herd of cows is not yet quite adequate to their needs, but they are gradually building it up. They have an electrical shop, a wood-working shop, a welding shop and a printing shop. The boys receive a course in sustenance farming, designed to be of use to the boy who, while holding a job, has perhaps five acres of land which he can utilize to raise his standard of living.
In this school is one of the biggest NYA projects in the state. One hundred and twenty-five of the two hundred students are NYA students. They are at present building a barn for which they drew the plans and made the complete working drawings.
We visited a nursery school, staffed in part by NYA girls, run in a poor part of town for underprivileged white children. Then we visited a library in the post office of Alabama City, where big cotton mills are situated. Here they have about 2,600 books but the circulation is so large that a very good educational job must have been done in the community to awaken a realization of the value of reading.
Back again now at the hotel for a late lunch and an afternoon of rest and work.