MAY 30, 1940
NEW YORK, Wednesday.—In various places I have moved about recently, I have been confronted with red poppies. I hurriedly look in my bag to see if I still have the last one to show, but finding it gone each time, I fish out more money and buy a new one. Veterans of the last World War are still in the hospitals and it is fitting that we should make their lot pleasanter by remembering them in this week before Memorial Day and by paying our share to the veterans' fund.
I want to congratulate the Amalgamated Clothing Workers on their silver jubilee, which they have just celebrated. This union has pioneered in many fields. Of course, their primary purpose has been to obtain the best possible wages and working conditions for the workers in the clothing and related industries, but they have undertaken labor banking, cooperative housing, unemployment insurance, life insurance and a real program of cultural activities.
I visited two crowded rooms used by the "Youth Services" at 400 East 71st Street yesterday morning. There were so many activities going on that I decided whatever else was being done, the young people were learning concentration, which is valuable in any kind of work. A real job is being done by these young people. They surveyed their district, which runs from 59th to 96th Streets, and Lexington Avenue to the East River. They know there are 31,000 young people between the ages of 16 and 25 living there and that 16,000 of them are out of school and unemployed. They know that they have succeeded in getting some twenty jobs in the course of the last few days. That isn't enough, however. They have discovered that most of these young people were educated in high school to go on to college and the majority of them are now trying to go to work and need training in some skill.
They also told me that three out of four of them have never taken the trouble to vote when they reached the voting age. I think they are discovering valuable facts. If they find a way to get these facts over to the community, they will have done a real service not only to their own community, but to many others. In addition to that, I think that the fact that they are all working together is giving them a sense of security which is essential if you are going to persist in looking for a rather elusive job.
After my broadcast, we lunched in a nearby restaurant with my cousin, Mr. Monroe Robinson, and then motored to Trenton, New Jersey. There I visited the State Home For Girls, which is one of the most encouraging institutions I have seen in a long time. These girls are treated like human beings. Their time is filled with educational and recreational activities and most of them looked happy. We dined with Mr. and Mrs. Robert Bowman, and after my lecture motored back to New York City. Today I am going to Olean, New York, for a lecture tonight.