FEBRUARY 20, 1940
GOLDEN BEACH, Fla., Monday—Here I am installed in a very comfortable house on Golden Beach, in Florida, and our holiday has already begun. The one engagement I had before arrival was with the press, and they were all here when I arrived. So, almost before I had really looked over the house, the photographers had their field day, and the reporters asked all their questions. Now they are gone, and from now on nothing has to be done. I should qualify that a bit, for this column must be written, but if I didn't write it, I'd feel something was missing. Also, the mail must be attended to every day. So far as social engagements are concerned, or duties of any kind, they are wiped off my books during my stay here.
Spending a holiday is really a very nice feeling, but not having experienced it very often in my life, it makes me feel a bit guilty and I wonder if something won't happen which will necessitate my return to the more normal existence of doing things which have to be done. In any case, I am going to enjoy every day as we live it.
Yesterday afternoon, the exercises at the Bethune-Cookman College were a little disturbed by a heavy shower of rain and a great many people left their seats outside and stood inside the auditorium. It was surprising to me how many representatives there were from other schools and colleges to bring Mrs. Bethune congratulations on her work and good wishes for the future.
Until I went over the plant, I never realized what a really dramatic achievement this junior college is. It ministers to the needs of 100,000 Negroes from Daytona south, and it takes 250 students. The object is to train leaders who will return to their communities and serve their people in whatever line of activity they have chosen as a life work. Thirty-five years ago, Mrs. Bethune began with five little girls. The first land was bought with the first five dollars earned. This land up to that time had been part of the city dump in a portion of the city known as "Hell's Hole."
Like all other colleges, they still need a great deal—a library building, for instance, and many more books. From this small library in Bethune-Cookman College, books are sent travelling around into the various rural districts of the vicinity. They need a substantial endowment fund, a building where better shop work can be done, for at present the quarters are too small. Somehow, I have a feeling that this work is going to grow and that Mrs. Bethune's dream is going to carry her people far along the way to better education and better standards of living.
Mr. Aubrey Williams was with us for the day, and Mr. Clarence Pickett came to see me for a little while in the late afternoon. Both of them took the train north in the evening, and I confess that a quiet evening was very agreeable to me. We left Daytona about 9:30 this morning and motored down here, stopped to drink some delicious orange juice on the way and bought a swing made of cypress to send back to put beside the swimming pool at Hyde Park. I hope it will stand our weather and prove to be an addition to our outdoor furniture.