APRIL 17, 1940
WASHINGTON, D. C.—Here I am back in Washington! After I had filed my column yesterday in Chattanooga, Tenn., I started on a busy day. Judge Cummings would have liked to take me to see a rural school in north Georgia about which I had written him, and which he feels needs help. Fortunately, the "Save the Children Fund" in New York City, which is interested in mountain children, on hearing the difficulties of some of these rural schools, collected desks from all over the country and distributed them to many of these schools where they had none at all, or an insufficient number.
In spite of my interest, I felt that, having come for the Southern Conference for Human Welfare, I should attend that. So, Dr. Louise Charlton took me to the afternoon session, which was on "The Industrial South." I heard ex-Senator Pope give a most interesting account of what the Tennessee Valley Authority had meant to the industrial development of the region. Incidentally, this has meant a good deal to the agricultural development too, for I was told the story of a woman of 65 who came to town to announce to her friends that the rural electrification project had reached her home and that for the first time in her life she had an opportunity really to lighten the homework which she had done for so many years. She said that she was going to buy every gadget possible and had already invested in an iron and a refrigerator and added that: "If they have something which will milk the cows by electricity, someday I'm going to have that too."
So, on every hand in this area, the TVA has meant a great deal. One finds the program being discussed and, from the figures given, the utility companies seem to have benefited too, for they report a rise in net profits of over $5,000,000 in the last few years.
After Senator Pope, Mr. Clark, who is an industrial adviser from Cleveland, Ohio, but who works with many firms in the South, gave a most interesting talk. He furnished me with some figures which I shall have to verify to make sure that I understand him correctly, for if I do, there is no question but what industry could well afford to help the youth of this nation to adjust itself to the proper jobs. He feels that much of the turnover in industry today is due to the fact that workers are not in the jobs which they are really fitted to perform, and he gave figures of the cost to industry of this maladjustment.
He was followed by the state head of the Alabama Mine Workers, who pointed out some of the difficulties which organized labor in the South has to face.
In the evening I spoke on the panel which discussed children from the viewpoint of health and education, but I was only able to stay for part of the evening, because the Eastern Seaboard had foggy weather conditions and the airline decided that I had better leave from Nashville and tour the country on my way East, if I expected to arrive here this morning. I arrived in time to keep the day's engagements.