JULY 9, 1946
HYDE PARK, Monday—I received from the New York War and Peace Memorial, a non-profit corporation which is sponsoring rehabilitation and health centers as living war memorials, a rather interesting circular describing what they hope to do in New York City in memory of the men who fought in World War II.
It has always seemed to me that very beautiful memorials are of value in themselves because of their mere beauty, but if you can have something of beauty and at the same time make it serve the needs of the people who live in a community, I think you have doubled the value of your memorial.
This New York organization's plan is for a new type of physical health center. The architect is to be Harvey Wiley Corbett. They hope that it will serve the needs of many convalescent servicemen.
The building will be 500 feet in diameter and will enclose an indoor beach surrounding a large circular swimming pool. The interior will be lighted by a sun of ultra-violet rays, with purified and air-conditioned atmosphere. In a congested area such as New York, this will mean a great deal to those who cannot seek rest and change away from their work.
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I was discouraged on receiving word the other day that the trial of the Columbia, Tenn., Negroes was to be moved to a place where the tension and anti-Negro feeling is, if anything, stronger than it is in Columbia. The fear among the Negroes, to which apparently not only the civilian population but the law-enforcement officers of the state reacted, is very unfortunate. When once fear crops up between groups of people within a community, there is little hope of any real understanding and confidence developing between them.
Throughout this whole case, I have been wondering why we could not understand that, among the men in this community, there were numbers of Negro veterans. They have fought in the war. They often felt, during their war service, that there was discrimination against them. And to come home and face the difficulties of readjustment and of finding a job is as difficult for them as for the white men.
They undoubtedly feel that the public owes them a certain amount of consideration. They left jobs in many cases and went to war feeling that they were defending other people as well as themselves, but that the other people were not always treating them and their families with consideration and fairness.
This trial, therefore, should be conducted under the most favorable circumstances. Every fact should be carefully checked and verified. To move the trial now to a place where tension is greater seems to me to bode no good for the prisoners or for the people of this country who desire peace within our own land.
(WORLD COPYRIGHT, 1946, BY UNITED FEATURE SYNDICATE, INC.; REPRODUCTION IN WHOLE OR PART PROHIBITED.)