AUGUST 22, 1952
HYDE PARK, Thursday—Those among us who think it important, because of the international aspects, that we in the United States remove as many racial tensions as possible, are encouraged whenever we hear about something new working along these lines. Therefore, I was very much interested in reading an article written by Mr. J.C. Furnas, in Look magazine, which describes the work done in Philadelphia along these lines.
The City of Brotherly Love has taken seriously the fact that one can actually do something about human relations. In the new City Charter is included a Commission on Human Relations "to protect people against discrimination on the grounds of race, color, religion and national origin."
I understand that since World War II this has been done by a number of other cities, but in many cases not much actually has been done to implement any commission's work. In Philadelphia, though, the decree has been made part of the city's fundamental laws.
In some cities very promising results have been thus far attained, and with both young and old the keynote has been calmness and fairness in meeting situations as they arose. Such situations, of course, generally arise in schools and playgrounds, in housing, and in public places such as restaurants and theatres.
One of the places where the greatest progress has been made is in unions. I think that is because where men work together they get to know each other better. They cease to be just a colored man, a Jew or a "wop." They are fellow workers and they frequently have to depend on one another.
New York City, with its great mixture of populations, Boston, San Francisco and Los Angeles seem to me important cities for work of this kind to be begun and carried through. An alert and responsible commission to report cases as they arise and to deal with them promptly would, I am sure, be of very great help.
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A group affiliated with the Americans for Democratic Action came down from Bard College yesterday to use my picnic grounds. This particular seminar has people attending from many different states, one all the way from the West Coast, and it has been studying the questions that we need to look for in our candidates for public office.
I was asked to tell them a little about my trip last winter and they asked me many questions on what can be done to improve the present world situation. There is a growing feeling apparently that something must be done in the course of the next few years, but no one has as yet found the answer as to what will solve the world's problems.