NOVEMBER 5, 1945
HYDE PARK, Sunday—On Friday evening I went to see "Deep Are the Roots," the first play that I have seen for many months. It is a sad play and, in some parts, a very grim play. The setting is well done and you get a sense of the charm and ease of Southern life—its flowers, its leisure, its Lady Bountiful attitude, so graciously done that one is hardly conscious of being patronized. The very fact that this atmosphere is created so well makes the grimness of the play twice as vivid.
It is a thought-provoking play, very well acted; and, of course, it cannot help but be deeply interesting since, in touching upon the racial question, it deals with one of the most important and difficult problems which we are meeting both at home and abroad today.
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One effort to meet our home problems which is evidently meeting with a certain amount of success was started by the Mayor's Committee on Race Relations in the city of Chicago. They organized the Chicago Conference on Home Front Unity in May, 1945, in response to requests received from representative community organizations. Because of the meeting of the United Nations then being held in San Francisco, the conference decided to develop its meeting along the same lines and to try to write a Dumbarton Oaks charter for Chicago. Based on this pattern, they formed themselves into six commissions on housing, employment, law and order, health and welfare, recreation, and education. These commissions formulated a long-range program to cover what could be done by the Mayor's Committee, other city bodies and community groups. The conference is now having a second meeting which will come to an end on November 6.
For the first time, citizens and responsible city officials are working together and meeting together, and the facts which are being discovered will be laid before these responsible officials. The organized community groups and the entire citizenry of Chicago will have had representatives on hand and will know just what is going on. This plan seems to me to carry great hope for success. It means more information on every level and more opportunity for real action.
I am quite sure that unless in every part of our country we not only talk about these problems but do something, we will never succeed in making any of our minority groups feel that we really mean to advance toward better understanding among people and nations.
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Another interesting effort is being made to help outside our country. A small committee went to Italy to see whether the old handcraft workers could be assisted by this country. It was found that many were already at work, but they needed machinery or tools, or material and advice on designing. Given this help, we can shortly begin an interchange of goods between our countries. This will help us both, and I think the committee, which consist of Dr. Max Ascoli, Dr. Frank Tamagna and Miss Freda Diamond, are to be congratulated.