AUGUST 14, 1942
SALISBURY, N.C., Thursday—I left New York City on the evening train and arrived this morning at Salisbury, North Carolina. I am spending the day at the General Convention on Christian Education of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, which is conducting a forum for young people and speaking to the whole group. I take an evening train back to Washington.
Yesterday, in New York City, I had a most interesting time at Hunter College since there were a great many questions to make the forum held there interesting.
I had a pathetic letter the other day from a mother, who said she had been entirely dependent on her son, who has now been drafted. I think it came to her as an unexpected blow, because he was no longer among the very young group, being 39 years old. The woman, herself, is 59 and has to care for her 83-year-old father. She did not see how she was going to be able to live on the old age pension obtainable for her father, and the allotment which her son could make and to keep her home, in which she had lived so long and where she had planted a victory garden.
The Social Security Board is deeply concerned about such situations. They participated in the drafting of the Servicemen's Dependents Allowance Act of 1942, but all of their recommandations were not incorporated in the Act when it finally passed. Wives and children have fixed allowances, but cases a little out of the ordinary are not clearly dealt with as yet.
Now I must tell you about something which is being done for members of the Merchant Marine in our little sister Republic of Uruguay. Some public spirited young men of the British community in Uruguay conceived the idea that there ought to be a haven where officers and men of merchant ships, sailing under any of the United Nations' flags, could go to enjoy themselves during their stay in a foreign port.
"Liberty Inn" was started. There visitors may obtain food and beverages of the best kind at reasonable prices. There is a billiard table, card tables, table tennis, dart boards and a quiet room for letter writing. Perhaps the nicest part of the service is that the Inn arranges for a launch to call on all vessels lying away from the quay side when the day's work is over, and at a nominal cost any officer or member of the crew may go ashore for the evening.
Here is the most remarkable thing about this whole undertaking—the only paid person is the caretaker who lives on the premises. Everything else is done by voluntary helpers in their spare time. Incidentally this is a man's project, no ladies are allowed in the Inn.