OCTOBER 15, 1945
HYDE PARK, Sunday—This is Sunday, and I think that on this day, above all others, most of us think of what we can do to bring the people of our nation to an understanding that peace, democracy and real unity among the peoples of the world depend on our willingness to accept the fact that all of us, regardless of race or creed or color, belong to one human family.
Some of us may feel that we have developed beyond others, due to circumstances of birth or native ability. This is not incompatible with a belief that we must have equality of opportunity throughout the world, and that when people achieve a high level of success they must be given recognition for that success, regardless of their background, racial origin or religion.
* * *
In this recent controversy centering, again, around the granting of the use of the hall owned in the District of Columbia by the Daughters of the American Revolution for a concert by the gifted pianist, Mrs. Hazel Scott Powell, I do not think one can hold the Daughters of the American Revolution alone responsible. There is an agreement among all theatre owners in the District of Columbia as to how their theatres shall be used. Only the public can make the theatre owners change that agreement.
It is sad that in our nation's capital, where the eyes of the world are upon us, we should allow discrimination which impedes the progress and sears the souls of human beings whose only fault is that God, who made us all, gave their skin a darker color.
* * *
One might hope that an organization such as the Daughters of the American Revolution would have the courage to stand alone, if need be, and break this agreement which, though it may be unwritten, is nevertheless binding. They should be very sure of their own position and their own background, and they must be conscious of their Revolutionary ancestry, who came as immigrants to this country to escape discrimination in other lands.
It would be a rather glorious crusade for this organization to lead. To advocate human rights and insist that those who attain the highest artistic standards are to be judged as artists, and not discriminated against because of race or creed or color, would be in keeping with our Revolutionary traditions. They could so easily lead, and leaders are sorely needed today. Only those who are secure and who have convictions such as our forefathers had—that men have a right to stand on their achievements—could make this fight and give heart to others to join with them. Who could do it better than the daughters of Revolutionary great-grandfathers?