OCTOBER 4, 1941
WASHINGTON, Friday—I was enormously interested yesterday in hearing a young farmer from Alabama, tell of the plan which he and his friends had followed in rehabilitating their rural community. They simply mobilized all the available government agencies, federal, state and local, and they found they had many resources from which to draw.
One particularly good instance of cooperation among the neighbors, is how they contribute days of work to each other. Our ancestors did this in pioneer days, when they had to build a house, or a barn, or husk the corn. Today, they find they can build a house for a family and buy the materials at a cost of $300. If they cut their own lumber, they can do it for much less.
Then he told me how the community is trying to raise the level of its stock. They have built a community house with shops in it, and even make their own furniture as they build their houses!
I asked what they are doing for health, and heard, to my joy, that they are building a clinic. They hope to have a nurse there, particularly to help the women with their babies and to meet many emergencies which arise with children.
Even though this effort is being made in the state of Alabama, it is being made for both colored and white families, and they work side by side in accomplishing results. I was so encouraged by the whole account of what is being done, that I would have given a great deal if I had known how adequately to show the young man how enthusiastic I felt. I hope he keeps right on and is so successful that his pattern will be followed by many other communities; North, South, East and West.
Mrs. John L. Whitehurst, the President of the General Federation of Women's Clubs, came to see me this morning and I was much impressed by the work which she has done in the Federation, and on the State Defense Council of Maryland.
It was a joy today to see Mrs. Grenville Emmet, who has come to Washington to spend the winter with her two daughters. I enjoyed also having Mrs. Florence Kerr's WPA regional directors lunch with me and give me a word picture of conditions in their various regions. It is most interesting to hear from so many diffent groups of people about conditions in various parts of the country.