JULY 19, 1944
HYDE PARK, Tuesday—Almost a year ago I visited the Schomburg Library in Harlem, New York City, and at that time I noticed a book which had recently come out. It was called "The Negro Caravan," edited by Sterling A. Brown, Arthur P. Davis and Ulysses Lee. I meant to speak of it at the time in my column, but it slipped my mind and now I have just received word that a new edition is being brought out and I have read a little item from the Louisville Courier- Journal which will show you that my own interest in this book is shared by others:
"The best of its kind, this collection should be an eye-opener. Both as sociology and as interesting reading 'The Negro Caravan' is richly worthwhile. No previous anthology of Negro literature, and not too many anthologies of American literature are as full of aesthetic satisfaction and human understanding. The pleasure of reading 'The Negro Caravan' is scarcely undermined by the fact that one emerges a more enlightened human being."
There are over a thousand pages here of short stories, blues, folk-songs, biographies, speeches, pamphlets, essays, letters, besides little bits taken out of novels and plays by some of the best Negro writers. William Rose Benet says that "It is a remarkable contribution to American literature," and I think for that reason it should be in everyone's library.
I was reading the other day a very interesting little pamphlet entitled: "Public Attitude Towards Ex-Servicemen After World War One," which is taken from the Monthly Labor Review, (December, 1943), of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, United States Department of Labor.
This little pamphlet should be "must" reading for every one of us because it indicates so clearly how important it is to think and plan ahead when today the problems of our returning servicemen are and will be so much greater than in 1919. The economic situation cannot be left entirely in the hands of the industrialists themselves. It must have at least some supervision from government, since everything that industry can do, government will gladly accept, but if at any point the problems become more than industry can handle, there is only government to fill the gap.
To say that government is usurping something which should remain in the hands of industry is foolish, because quite obviously government will be enchanted if industry can handle the problems alone. But since government's primary interest is to see that we do not return to a period of unemployed people, it must have at least the power of cooperation and regulation in its hands.