FEBRUARY 11, 1942
NEW YORK, Tuesday—I went last night to speak at a patriotic rally held in one of the large churches in Washington. Those present reiterated again their willingness to fight and die for the United States, and recounted the part that the colored people had played in the history of our country during every war.
I never like to have us remember only our contributions as military contributions, because there are so many things which people have given in times of peace which are just as important to the development of the country, even when these horrible days of war are upon us.
All of our racial groups have made a vast contribution to the development of the United States. Many of them have worked in our fields and have developed our agriculture. Without them the cotton fields of the South would never have been tilled and the wheat fields of the West would not have produced their abundance.
Our mines would not have been developed. Our factories would not have operated without the labor of the countless people who, once upon a time, came to these shores from Africa, Europe, the Near East and the Far East.
It is not only in these material ways that people have contributed to the development of this country. Think of what has been given by writers, painters, actors, dancers and musicians to the general culture of the nation. No country is fully civilized which cannot appreciate its artists. They make a contribution not just to the entertainment side of life, but to the educational, economic and spiritual sides.
I had a word before I left Washington this morning that Franklin Jr., came through his operation very successfully, though it was found to be most necessary. I am now on my way to New York City by plane and hope to see him this afternoon.
I was glad of the chance to see this naval hospital in Brooklyn, New York. I know the one in Washington very well, but I think it is always a satisfaction to the families of the boys in service to know that, if the boys are taken ill, care will be the best possible, like that given in any private hospital in the country.
A great deal depends on one's surroundings when one is suffering from any illness. The cleanliness and cheerfulness of the atmosphere in the Brooklyn Naval Hospital will, I am sure, contribute to the rapid recovery of the patients.