MAY 9, 1941
NEW YORK, Thursday—It was nice to meet Miss Thompson again yesterday morning in Chicago. We were both surprised to find the weather really springlike, though I suppose by May 7th we might have expected that.
After a morning spent at the hotel, not quite as peacefully as I had hoped because the telephone rang rather frequently and we found a great deal of mail awaiting us, we went to the WPA Household Training Center at two-thirty. This training center for colored girls has done a wonderful piece of work and I feel sure has proven of great value to the community.
At 3:15 we went to the South Side Community Art Center to dedicate their building. From there we made our plane to New York City very comfortably.
Chicago has long been a center of Negro art. Many Negro artists have had a hard time getting their training and have starved as many artists do, even when they have achieved a certain amount of recognition. The Art Center is situated in the old home of Charles Comiskey, who was once a great baseball magnate.
It had become a rooming house before the South Side Community Art Center had bought it a year ago. With the aid of federal money it has been converted to its present purposes. There are classes in drawing, oil and water color painting, poster design, lettering and composition. Gradually the teaching of some of the crafts and other skills will be added.
It was all a most delightful experience and I am happy to have been able to spend this time in Chicago and to assist at these ceremonies.
Now I want to talk to you for a little while on a subject which has long been on my mind, namely; the improvement in our schools of physical education, instruction and guidance in healthful living, a wider recreational use of school facilities and the development of school camps. All these purposes are gathered together in a bill sponsored by Mr. Pius L. Schwert, a member of Congress from the 42nd District from New York State.
He suggests the appropriation of certain sums of money to be distributed to the various states for these purposes. I hope that in New York State this summer, there will be some camps for high school students under the guidance of the school system. I feel that the draft is proving to us that our young people are not receiving proper medical care or adequate diet for the best possible physical development and the schools can do much to improve the situation.