MAY 21, 1948
NEW YORK, Thursday—A group of very good actors in a little second-floor theater, with homemade costumes and no scenery, are doing a play called "Sojourner Truth," written by Katherine Garrison Chapin—in private life, Mrs. Francis Biddle. Last night I went to Harlem to see a special performance in this theater, and I came away with the feeling that I had heard some really fine writing spoken in the way it should be spoken. In this play, things are said that need to be said, and they have a bearing on the world of today though they were written about a woman who lived many years ago and who did much to arouse the conscience of New York against slavery.
Muriel Smith, who plays the part of Sojourner Truth, has a beautiful voice both in speaking and in singing, and I think she is a really fine actress. Many of the men impressed me also. I wish that someone able to produce this play as it should be produced could take hold of it and put it on Broadway. Maybe few people would go to see it but maybe many would go, and I think they would come away feeling that, in spite of all the discouragement some of us feel at times, we really are a little nearer to the day "when men can look at each other as brothers."
* * *
Yesterday I did a short recording for the United Nations Appeal for Children. Some countries have finished their drives and raised their quotas. Iceland reports proudly that every person on the island has sent in a contribution.
Our goal in this country is a big one, and the fund is being raised in collaboration with other overseas relief agencies—which I think makes it a little more difficult for people to concentrate on the fact that this is the means by which we can keep millions of children from starving to death all over the world.
It is not a question of big subscriptions. It is a question of everybody in every community sending at least something to the local or national committee. I think you will find that there is hardly a community in the country that does not have a committee raising funds in this drive for the benefit of needy children everywhere. Forty nations have national committees and there is a hope that, before the drive closes, fifty nations will have conducted campaigns.
The measure of what we can do for children in food and medical supplies is dependent on how many people give—it is the volume of giving that will count more than the large, individual gifts. If every adult in the country gave a dollar and if every child gave ten cents, we would be many times over our quota. The slogan, of course, is "Give a day's pay," but the important thing is to organize your entire neighborhood and see that everyone knows of this need to help the children of the world, so that everyone participates.