SEPTEMBER 26, 1939
HUNTINGTON, W. Va., Monday —The last time I came through Huntington was toward the end of a very long day's motoring and my recollection of the city was somewhat vague.
This morning, however, after a press conference at nine o'clock, Mrs. Gibson, Mrs. Allen and Mrs. Long came for me and we drove past Marshall College, where Mr. Dwight Morrow was once president. We saw the site of a new housing project. Then we went on our way to Red House. It took about an hour and a half to drive there, but this is interesting country and the roads wind among the hills and beside the river.
The Charleston, W. Va., Business and Professional Women's Club is sponsoring a shop in this government project to encourage the women to learn various handicrafts. This will be useful in making articles for their own homes and at the same time they may learn to make a variety of things for sale.
I wish more people in Charleston would take an interest in their government homestead, for there is so much that can be done for these communities if people nearby lend a hand. I have never felt that the government should be expected to carry the burden alone. These people on government homesteads would ordinarily have been charges on the local communities.
The government inaugurated an experiment, by which it was hoped a way to a better standard of living for a great many people could be found. The government built houses and tried to rehabilitate the morale of people who had been without work and in dire need for a long time. In doing this, work was provided for the homesteaders.
Now the nearby communities have an opportunity to show their interest and help the government. They can assist by getting industries to move in near these localities to give work, or they can find work for these people in existing industries nearby. Their homes and their gardens will give them an added measure of security.
Like all government undertakings, this one is dependent on the cooperation of the neighborhood, to be a real success. At present the men who do not find work outside the project have only part-time work, paid at the standard government rate. This is very low for a big family and not too much even for a little one.
I am glad to find the Business and Professional Women's Club of Charleston starting the interest ball a-rolling. I hope they will find an outlet in Charleston and in neighboring towns for some of the things which the women and young people on the project are learning to make.
On the way back we stopped at the Morris Memorial Crippled Children's hospital. The WPA is furnishing the labor for these buildings and they are a monument of which the workers may well be proud. The pool is one of the most delightful I have ever seen and it will certainly be of benefit to the children of this region, when the hospital operates at capacity.
We leave tonight for Washington, D. C.