JANUARY 13, 1949
WASHINGTON, Wednesday—Before I left New York City on Tuesday morning I attended the annual meeting of the New York State Women's Trade Union League. I like catching up on the thinking of this group with which I have been so long associated. I find, as the years go by, there are more and more accomplishments that make me feel that the day may come when women will be so well organized and integrated with men in their various occupations and organizations that the working women will not need separate organizations but will form a strong and influential part of a joint organization of workers.
There are certain points that women workers—because they are not only workers but homemakers as well—feel particularly keenly about. I think, therefore, that women are particularly fitted to make certain studies and recommendations necessary for solving particular problems.
I was shocked the other evening to read that in this prosperous land of plenty, which certainly the United States is considered to be by the rest of the world, one of our polls claimed that one out of seven people in the cities reported had known hunger during the past year.
I do not really know whether we should put more trust in polls of this kind than we do in a Presidential poll, but since they are not done hurriedly nor on political situations perhaps these polls should be worked out with greater care and objectivity. Surely, the day has come for us to find out why one out of seven people in our land has been hungry in the last year.
This will be a question of special interest to the women in the labor group and to the women in Congress.
En route here I stopped in Baltimore to speak at a luncheon of the League of Women Voters. Driving to Washington I was accompanied by my friend, Mrs. Durward V. Sandifer, and went to stay, as usual, with my old friends, Mr. and Mrs. Adolph C. Miller.
We usually manage on these hurried visits to have one selfishly pleasant evening alone together when we can talk unreservedly about whatever comes to mind.
Before coming here I received two communications which dovetail and point up one of the big questions about our national capital.
The first told me that a group of Negro actors and actresses called The Shearer Players who have their own summer theatre on the Island of Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, were going to appear at the Howard Theatre on February 12 in the District of Columbia, giving to the colored people there for the first time a legitimate theatre production. This is a very extraordinary group, which has attracted the notice of theatre lovers in Boston, and it seems to me a pity that their play should be only for the Negro population to see. In all probability, many other people who care about good theatre would find it an interesting production.
Simultaneously I received a letter from J.G. Frain, executive secretary of the Washington Art Center Association, Inc., begging that every possible influence be brought to bear on the government to give the Belasco Theatre, here, to some group that would operate it as a democratic theatre and concert hall. It would serve the population as a whole and give an opportunity to all artists to appear on its stage. This has come about because the National Theatre has been converted into a movie theatre.
It seems to me that the national capital should have one theatre and that theatre should be open to all citizens, no matter what their race, color or creed.