OCTOBER 24, 1940
HYDE PARK, Wednesday—The two hours I spent at the N. Y. Herald Tribune Forum yesterday afternoon were most interesting, but I am troubled by the impression that people are thinking and talking today as though everything being done is in preparation for going to war. I suppose different people would explain the cause for this state of mind in different ways.
The reason seems immaterial to me. The important thing is that we should stop allowing our thoughts to run along this line. Instead, we should say: "We are not only building an impregnable defense against any attack from without or within, but we hope to discourage all thought of attack from any source."
Last evening, Mrs. Eliot Pratt and I gave a dinner for "Work Camps in America" at which Mr. Algernon D. Black, presided and Mr. Kenneth Holland of the American Youth Commission spoke. Both of them have been much interested in the work camp idea for some time and feel that a private organization, through experimental work, might develop some camp methods which would be valuable in the CCC camps and the NYA resident projects.
The idea in back of the work camp is that work in itself is valuable from the educational point of view. Work and education, particularly where these college age young people are concerned, is a valuable combination, and the setting of these work camps is peculiarly happy for the development of real understanding of democracy. The students govern themselves, but a faculty is in attendance and the idea of inspiring youth to study and live democratically is present in everybody's mind.
Ever since I visited the first camp at West Park, across the river from here, I have been interested in the way young people reacted to the time they spent together, so the speeches from the two young campers last night were to me a very interesting part of the evening. One other feature of these camps, which impressed me on this first visit, was the fact that the young people came from colleges all over this country. Some of them were refugee students who came from five different countries in Europe and had here their first opportunity of living really intimately with other young people in a land which was still strange, though it was to be their adopted country.
We drove up the Parkway this morning and my brilliant colors are all gone. The more subdued and darker shades are still to be seen here and there where the leaves still cling to the trees, but many trees are bare and the signs of late autumn greet me on every hand.