FEBRUARY 13, 1943
WASHINGTON, Friday—This is Lincoln's Birthday and, following the custom of the past ten years, the President drove down to the Lincoln Memorial for the very simple ceremonies which are always held there at noon. I went with him and we watched the wreath being carried up the long flight of steps and heard the National Anthem played. I often wonder if the spirits of Lincoln and Washington have hovered over all the war Presidents since their day.
In the White House, itself, one is very conscious of the way that Lincoln must have suffered in the War Between the States. One can easily imagine him gazing out of the windows towards the river and listening to the sound of the firing in the distance.
Woodrow Wilson, an historian, must have been very conscious of the burdens that Lincoln and Washington carried. Perhaps Jefferson's trials and tribulations touched him even more deeply, for it was the philosophy of Jefferson which inspired the thinking of the Democratic Party from that day to this.
The President also has the historical approach, I think, towards the events of the day. Perhaps to deal with the present, one should not only have knowledge, but a real feeling for the men and circumstances of the past. It must add to one's perspective and make it possible to be more objective in all of one's decisions.
Sunday, the fourteenth of February, is not just St. Valentine's Day, though to many people that will undoubtedly loom as most important. It is the climax of Negro History Week, and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History holds its annual breakfast on that day.
It is important for all of us to know the story of the people of the United States as a whole, and every minority group has contributed toward the making of our nation. The Negroes have done much for our country. There are no wars in which they have not participated. Their poets, writers, artists, musicians, educators and scientists have contributed to the culture and development of the people.
At the beginning of the week, on February 7th, Dr. Lawrence Reddick of the New York Public Library, announced the names of twelve Negroes and six white people, who are on the honor roll of race relations for 1942. These people are outstanding for the work they have done for the improvement of race relations in terms of real democracy. On the list are Dr. Franz Boas, distinguished anthropologist, who died on December 21st; Mr. Wendell Willkie, Lillian Smith, Warner Brothers, the National Maritime Union and the Survey Graphic.