APRIL 3, 1940
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif., Tuesday—The newspapers were not pleasant reading yesterday. We rejoiced in the spring, and were shocked to see blazoned forth that the good weather made it possible to fly over the Western Front in Europe. The list of planes shot down which followed gave me an utter sense of futility. As I drove along the street, I saw a headline on one paper saying: "A Peace Pledge To Be Demanded of Roosevelt on April 6th." How unnecessary. Peace pledges should be demanded of their leaders by the people of nations at war. What good does it do to demand it of a leader who is entirely willing to give it?
A friend came to tea with us yesterday afternoon and then we had the pleasure of hearing some songs rendered for us by a Negro Choral Group. At 6:45, Mr. and Mrs. Maurice Benjamin called for us and took us to their home for a quiet family dinner before taking us to our lecture. The forum here is always a stimulating group before which to appear. The question period is most interesting to me revealing as it does, an absorbed and thoughtful audience.
This column is being written before I start at 7:15 a.m. with Mr. and Mrs. Melvyn Douglas for the airport on a trip to some of the farm security camps. I could not get back in time to tell you of this trip today, so that will have to wait until tomorrow, but I can assure you that it seems like a very early hour to be up and on my way.
While on planes and trains these last few days, I have been going through a number of articles and books which have been sent me to read before I left Washington. I am going to recommend one small book to you, for I think it should be read by all thoughtful people and it will be a useful handbook in families and study groups. This little book is called: "Schools For Democracy." It is published by the National Congress of Parents and Teachers and it was compiled by Miss Charl Ormond Williams and Mr. Frank W. Hubbard.
I have always been an advocate of community forums and study groups because I believe that communities must know their own problems and learn how to do something about them if democracy is to be a success. This book is designed to give us knowledge about one of our most cherished institutions—our public schools. It tells how schools are organized and what part non-school agencies play in our our scheme of education. It shows that larger participation by the Federal Government is necessary in order to equalize opportunities between the poorer and richer sections of our country for the education of our children. I have always believed this and was particularly interested in the clarity with which this is stated in this book.