APRIL 21, 1942
NASHVILLE, Tenn., Monday—Saturday afternoon I caught a train for Trenton, N. J., and spoke at a banquet which closed the fourth annual session of the New Jersey Youth Legislature.
The YMCA has been carrying on this work with the Hi-Y Clubs, which take in boys of high school age. They study phases of government during the the year, go to Princeton and have a preliminary session and then end by actually going through all the motions of legislative procedure at Trenton. They look like a fine group of young people and those I had an opportunity to meet were very interesting.
Governor Edison made an excellent speech. I think I have rarely had an audience ask more pertinent questions. Afterwards, before catching my train, I stopped at the Y to look in at a dance given for the servicemen who come in from neighboring camps. The train was crowded—people stood in the aisles all the way to New York City. Most of them were servicemen on two-day furloughs. One of them gave me a seat, and so we talked together and I signed innumerable autographs until we reached New York City.
Yesterday morning, after a short time of work with Miss Thompson, I took a plane for Nashville, Tenn., where the Southern Conference for Human Welfare is being held this year.
I arrived in time for the evening session and I was particularly glad to hear Dr. Frank Graham and Mrs. Mary McLeod Bethune speak. Today has been a busy day. I am a member of the panel of which Dr. Homer P. Rainey, President of the University of Texas, is chairman. Our subject is "Youth and Training; Civilian and Military," so I had breakfast with Dr. Rainey and some other members to talk over ways to make our discussion most useful.
This evening there will be a concert by Mr. Paul Robeson. I shall have the honor of presenting the Thomas Jefferson Award to the outstanding Southerner of the year. The conference continues on Tuesday but I have one or two things which must be done in New York City, so I am leaving here tonight and shall be back in New York City, I hope, tomorrow morning.
I always feel that these conferences touch on matters that are of vital interest to the whole nation and I wish that more people from many parts of the country could attend them.
At the Y Dance in Trenton the other night, I asked the boys from what part of the country they came from and "Iowa,", "Texas," "Georgia," "Nebraska," was shouted at me from every part of the room. We are certainly fighting together, and it would seem that at home we should face our problems together.