JANUARY 28, 1950
AMES, Iowa, Friday—Certainly, as President Truman contemplates the difficulties of the Republican leadership today, he must have a sense of confidence in his own ability to weather the storms of leadership. Both our political parties are plagued by divisions, but at least the Democratic leadership is standing for some of the principles approved and firmly held by the average citizen.
If the newspaper accounts I read are correct, even the Democratic reactionaries in Congress—that little band of Dixiecrats—must be beginning to see the light if they are willing to compromise to obtain a weaker fair employment practices bill by accepting an anti-poll tax and anti-lynching bill. If this is their real feeling it has come about not because of any action outside the South, but because of a conviction that in the South they can no longer hold their completely reactionary program and a following among their constituents.
This is truly encouraging, because I believe that the South is going to reform from within. Southern youth is not reactionary. Many of those who fought the war see human rights from a broader angle and understand the international implications of racial discrimination policies.
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I left Portland, Ore., Tuesday evening and flew across the continent to Chicago, stopping only in Denver. There a plane was stuck on the runway and we had to circle, waiting for clearance to land. As we neared Chicago the fog seemed to grow thicker and we were extremely glad, after flying around above it for some time, to land only an hour and a half late. I decided it would be better to take an earlier plane to Detroit for fear the weather would get worse instead of better, so we telephoned Ann Arbor, where I had my next speaking engagement, to ask them to meet us in the morning instead of in the afternoon.
We went straight to the home of the president of the University of Michigan, Alexander G. Ruthven, and Mrs. Ruthven, and after lunch we had a couple of hours to rest.
The new Administration Building on the campus at the University has a very complete setup for its radio students. I went there for a recording which is to go on the weekly woman's hour which the Women's Faculty Club puts on. Mrs. Marie D. Miller, the interviewer, asked many questions.
After I had seen the various studios, we paid a call on the Dean of Women who has been ill for some time. She gave me messages for Miss Sarah Gibson Blanding at Vassar College, and I left to return to President Ruthven's house for a press conference. There we chatted for a while with the local newspaper people and representatives of the university press.
This is a busy university campus with its 24,000 students. Mrs. Ruthven told me they have representatives from some 80 different countries.
The alumni has just begun a war memorial project which I think shows the trend of our young people's interests. They rejected all the usual conventional memorials for the students who died in World War II and decided they wanted a living memorial. They are now raising $6,000,000 for a study of the peacetime uses of atomic energy and will set up projects to find ways to benefit mankind. They are enormously encouraged by the cooperation of their foreign graduates in this memorial and particularly proud of what their alumni in the Philippines are doing for them.
The University of Michigan is gaining students constantly, a situation we have found elsewhere on this trip. This certainly is an indication that more and more young people recognize the value of a college education and are willing to work for it.