SEPTEMBER 15, 1939
MONTGOMERY, Ala., Thursday—I think our Southern friends are among the most hospitable hosts that one can find anywhere in this country, but I sometimes wonder if they are as conscious of the passage of time as the rest of us. Last night we drove from Gadsden to Birmingham after my lecture. Nobody seemed to be in any hurry to get off, in fact, I wondered if I had made a mistake about the distance, for one of the ladies driving with us remarked: "Oh, we'll be home again soon after midnight."
It was then nearly 11:00 o'clock and I thought we would not reach Birmingham until after midnight. As it turned out, I was right. When I went to bed after packing everything for an early morning start, I thought of my poor hosts driving wearily homeward and not arriving at their destination until somewhere around 2:00 o'clock in the morning.
Trains are also obligingly late in the early morning in this part of the world. Two mornings in succession the telephone operator in the hotel has said: "Good morning, it is seven o'clock, but your train is twenty minutes late." Perhaps a little later the train will lose a few more minutes. I am very grateful for I hate to start out without my breakfast and I usually plan to eat on the train if we are making a very early start, but both mornings we have had time to breakfast in the hotel before leaving.
We reached Montgomery this morning about 44 minutes late. We held a press conference, spent a few minutes with the Governor and Mrs. Dixon, and later with Mr. and Mrs. Murfee and Mrs. Graves. Then we started out with Senator Hill to see a little of the city.
I think the Alabama State Capitol is one of the loveliest state capitols I have seen. The approach up a long avenue is impressive. Over to the right is Jefferson Davis' house in which he and Mrs. Davis lived when he was President of the Confederacy. We stopped there, for I was very much interested in seeing the house and many of the historical pieces of furniture. The portrait of President Davis is very fine and shows a rare and sensitive spirit.
After lunch with Senator and Mrs. Hill, we went out to the Alabama Polytechnic Institute beyond Tuskegee. This institution has profited greatly by the help given by the Federal Government through PWA and should be able to meet much more adequately than ever before the needs of the young people in this area.
From there we drove to Tuskegee Institute, a privately endowed institution for colored people established by Booker T. Washington. The state as well as private funds and individuals contribute to its support. Mr. Washington is buried here and his tomb is an impressive sight—a massive stone with two tall evergreen trees towering up on either side of it.
We paid our first visit to the government hospital for colored veterans, a really fine institution, which, however, is already filled to capacity. Then we went back in the Tuskegee grounds, met the doctor who has charge of the infantile paralysis work and attended a little ceremony in the chapel. Everyone present carried away the singing by the choir in their hearts. The work done here for young colored people is outstanding in the South.