MAY 23, 1941
WASHINGTON, Thursday—Yesterday afternoon I shook hands with some two hundred members of the Adult Education Class of Philadelphia, Pa., who had come down to visit their capitol. These groups of older people, many of whom are new citizens, are very stirring to me. They have so often been through experiences which make them particularly appreciative of living in the United States, and the Capitol, itself, means a great deal to them.
Afterwards I spent an hour with the regional supervisors of NYA girls' projects. In the course of going over various projects, I discovered that next Sunday, the 25th, at 3:00 p.m., Mr. Jules Bledsoe and the United Negro Choruses of Washington, D. C., are planning to get together in the Sylvan Theatre at the Washington Monument, to sing for the benefit of the citizens of Washington who care to come and sit on the grass and join in the singing, or just listen.
I think this is a wonderful idea and I wish it could be done every Sunday afternoon. I see in it the possibility of drawing in many of the servicemen who are spending their free time here, often without much money to spend and with few places which offer entertainment for the young men on a Sunday afternoon or evening.
I am very sorry that I shall have to be on my way to Arthurdale, W. Va., on Sunday, for I speak at their school commencement on Monday morning. If this were not the case, I should certainly go down and listen to the singing. Perhaps, if I were sure that no one would hear me, I might join in, but I am not very proud of my voice.
In our emphasis on defense projects, I feel it important to remember that girls as well as boys can be fitted for defense work. They, too, must have training in order to earn their livings and live better than they have done in the past. I hope, therefore, that we shall not forget our obligation to girls in any of the government programs.
Last night we held our annual newspaper dance. The President received with me and then he went back to work. I drifted around and had the pleasure of talking to a number of people. The evening was so beautiful that I think everyone enjoyed it. Joe Moss' orchestra played delightfully all evening.
Today we have the garden party for the veterans, which we have had to organize somewhat differently, since the President and members of the Cabinet have to attend a meeting during the afternoon. They will all greet the men, but will then leave them to their refreshments and the enjoyment of the Marine Band.