JANUARY 13, 1951
NEW YORK, Friday—Wednesday afternoon I visited a model apartment in the Lexington Houses, a development being constructed under the auspices of the New York City Housing Authority. This group of apartment buildings is in Harlem and there will be no discrimination among the tenants. I understand that already people of many different races and creeds are occupying the apartments. My special interest in my visit was to see how the model apartment had been decorated and furnished by a group of 24 Hunter College Home Furnishing students, and they told me that the cost had been under $1,800.
The apartment consists of two bedrooms, a living room, a kitchen, plus a little extension as a dining room, and a bathroom. There also are two clothes closets off the hall and one linen closet. All of the rooms are of good size and well ventilated. The color scheme is well thought out and restful as well as attractive.
These modern apartments seem to provide a great deal for the rent. This one rented for $76 a month, and that includes refrigerator, stove and television set. I saw no laundry facilities, but I suppose those were provided in the basement.
The Hunter College girls seemed very happy over the work that was done and I think it is a very valuable experience in academic training to carry out in practice something you have been taught in theory.
In the evening I went out to speak at a forum in Woodmere, Long Island, on the work of the United Nations. I was impressed by the very excellent questions that came from the floor. They showed a realization of the fact that I sometimes fear is overlooked, namely, that in our struggle against communism and for peace we cannot go on the assumption that what happens in our own country is not part of that struggle.
Among my letters yesterday is one from a young woman who asked me not to use her name. She is frightened—but not of the possibility of extinction or the loss of the way of life that she is accustomed to. She seems to consider that that is not threatened. She is only frightened to stand up and say what she believes for fear that someone may think she is a Communist.
In her own mind she is convinced that she is really for peace, and that what she advocates is perfectly reasonable. But she won't come out and stand for it because she is afraid the majority of people around her would not agree.
Battles are never won that way, I fear, and if she is sincere in what she says: "I dislike communism as heartily as you; I love democracy as passionately; I worship freedom and I cherish peace above all else..."
Can it be that there's the rub? Peace? Then it seems to me that she should have the courage to come out in the open and tell us how she would preserve peace.