OCTOBER 18, 1941
NEW YORK—Yesterday afternoon, I received the members of the National Council of Negro Women. Last year, like so many other organizations, they held one session of their convention in the White House. This year, however, they were seven hundred strong. Since the East Room of the White House does not seat more than between three and four hundred, I attended their session in the Labor Department Auditorium.
There I heard most interesting reports on different phases of their work, after which they were all received at the White House. Two of their artists, a young singer, Miss Carol Brice, and a violinist, Mr. Louis Vaughn Jones, from Howard University, entertained us.
This is the third organization that I have entertained this year, and it seems to me a very satisfactory way to get an idea of the work they are doing. The paper tells me that the women's organizations, at least, are being asked to choose other cities for their conventions and meetings because of the congestion here.
I can quite understand that this is perhaps necessary from the point of view of housing, but from the point of view of keeping in touch with what the organizations are doing, I shall regret it very much.
Twenty-one years ago in Cleveland, Ohio, they established a day which comes around again on Saturday, the 18th of October, for observance. There are people from coast to coast, who look upon this as the day in the year when they must, "Do a good deed, say a kind word, remember the forgotten."
This year they are emphasizing that everyone should "send a remembrance to the boys in the armed forces." I think the idea is a good one and hope it will spread, though I hardly think it need be restricted to one day in the year.
So many people have sent me birthday greetings this year, that I am afraid they never will receive personal acknowledgements. I want to take this opportunity to tell them how much I appreciate their kindness.
I told you yesterday about my postcards, and I must share another one with you. My anonymous correspondent desires to know if I still believe in free speech, or "think it is outmoded like our form of government."
Let me say that I do not think our form of government is outmoded, and so long as that is true, I must also believe in free speech, free assembly and freedom of religion. Believing in these things, I must at all times try to make them a reality for everyone who is a citizen of this country.