JANUARY 31, 1951
HYDE PARK, Tuesday—On Sunday evening with two of my United Nations colleagues and a few American friends, I went to the concert at Town Hall given by William Warfield, baritone, who was accompanied by Otto Herz at the piano.
It was one of those experiences one does not soon forget. Mr. Warfield has an unusual voice, with wonderful diction and control, and though I have no idea under whom he studied, it is quite evident that he is a finished musician. He sang for two hours, his first selection being Andreas Hammerschmidt's "De Profundis," which is certainly a most difficult beginning to a concert. It was exquisitely performed. There followed a group of German songs, a group of French songs and finally some old American songs, some of which were being sung for the first time.
When the program was over it was as though the people could not bear to let him stop. They kept applauding and applauding. Whereupon, Mr. Warfield sang a number of encores in spite of the long program that he had been through. When we finally left, everyone felt that we had had an unforgettable evening and that we wanted to hear him again whenever we possibly could.
I was particularly glad to have with me so many people who really cared and knew music. They could be openly enthusiastic and were unafraid to show their enthusiasm. Sometimes I think we in the United States are a little nervous and wait for the critics to tell us whether we like or dislike something. But in this particular case, there was absolutely no question that the audience was a musical audience and that they loved the evening. They showed Mr. Warfield their appreciation with warmth.
I received a letter recently from a small group reporting on a campaign they carried on in February of last year. They called it a Brotherhood Pledge campaign, and people responded from 28 states, including 10 Southern states. In view of last year's success, the group has decided to again put on a campaign, over a greater area during February of this year. The organization calls itself the Fellowship of Reconciliation, with offices at 21 Audubon Avenue, New York City. The endorsers include such people as Harry Emerson Fosdick, John Dewey, Lillian Smith, and Roger Baldwin.
The pledge seems to me fairly simple. It begins: I pledge brotherhood. I want to be one of those who make brotherhood more than a word this year.
Following this are suggestions of what one can actually do to carry out this pledge. I like particularly the last paragraph, which says: "In all that I do I will remain non-violent and act in a spirit of good will, recognizing that men must be converted to brotherhood, not browbeaten into it."
Sometimes it is hard to remember that there are some things only persuasion and moral conviction will bring you to do, and in this particular effort it must be a matter of conviction and cannot be a matter of force.