JANUARY 19, 1950
LOS ANGELES, Wednesday—On Monday evening I spoke for Dr. Herman Lissauer's Modern Forum on "Minority Rights and Race Relations." He remarked, in introducing me, that few people would be willing to accept that subject. It seems to me, however, that it is a very important question and one that every nation throughout the world should be considering. I was happy, therefore, to have the opportunity to talk about it and to answer questions following my talk.
One person in the audience sent up a question which said that Paul Robeson in a statement in Paris said that in the event of war between the United States and the Soviet Union, he would not fight for the U.S. against the Russians. The questioner wanted to know if I thought Mr. Robeson was right.
It seems strange to me that Mr. Robeson does not refute that statement. I cannot believe that he made it, since his own son served brilliantly in World War II. Also, I think he knows his own people too well really to believe that they, in spite of the fact that on many occasions the white citizens have not treated them as equal citizens here, would nevertheless be the last ones to refuse to defend this soil of ours. If you examine dispassionately the progress made by the Negro in the U.S. during the last 15 years, you will find that the record is an increasingly good one and his hopes for equality must be heightened with each new achievement.
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Tuesday was a busy day in Los Angeles for me.
I began by visiting my godchildren's nursery school, a charming little spot where the youngsters get a good start in learning to live together.
Then I had a brief walk through the Mexican quarter and saw some of my ever-generous Mexican friends whose stalls and wares are exhibited there. I did not have time to enjoy even a short buying spree but I stopped to get a miniature tea set that I saw there and a miniature piggy bank for some child's pleasure.
Then we went to the Democratic Women's Club lunch and I had the pleasure of seeing Helen Gahagan Douglas, whom I have always greatly admired and whose record as a Congresswoman is heartening to all women.
From the luncheon I went directly to a meeting of the Conference of Jewish Women's Organizations where Dore Schary, vice president of MGM presented me with the group's award as the "Woman of the Year."
This scroll has a cover made from a scrap of material picked up by a woman in a German concentration camp—a bit of velvet which had covered a cherished Torah.
At the meeting we also heard a musical description of the work for human rights, embodying a song written to commemorate man's struggle for these rights which I hope can be produced before a great many people. It was a memorable experience.
In the evening I spoke in Santa Monica on "Ways to World Peace."
I think you will agree that this was not an idle day.