OCTOBER 4, 1952
WASHINGTON, Friday—Ever since I wrote about the Mayor's Committee on Better Race Relations in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, I have been receiving material from different parts of the country where, in one way or another, an effort is being made to improve human relations. One very interesting report has come to me from a defense area that includes Pasco, Kenowick, Richmond, in the State of Washington. The Portland Urban League and the Seattle Urban League are responsible for starting the work that has been done in that area for better human relations.
Here is their latest statement of policy, or their goal:
"The aim of the project was to analyze the economic and cultural activities of the area as they relate to minority people, from a scientific point of view, through factual data from the records of the various governmental and social welfare agencies, private enterprise, and other reliable sources, and to make recommendations for the establishment of a program geared to insure the fullest participation in community life on the part of all citizens."
I found this report very interesting because it shows what can be accomplished with expert help and goodwill.
At the same time I have received much information about efforts being made in other parts of the country. Illinois seems particularly rich in official city commissions and citizen groups working for better conditions among the people.
The importance of all this is very great to all of us because it shows how conscious we are becoming of the need for goodwill among all our citizens and equality of opportunity everywhere for everyone.
I think we frequently do not realize how some customs, which we may object to but have not yet eliminated, may do us harm in the eyes of foreigners who visit our shores.
I had a letter the other day from an Indian professor who had come to Washington, D.C., hoping to attend the Citizenship Conference under the auspices of the Department of Justice and the National Education Association. His letter asked for an appointment to see me in New York City and explained that on arriving in Washington he had difficulty not only finding a place where he could get a room and leave his bags but even more difficulty about where he could eat. Apparently he was not recognized as an Indian. He probably was taken for a Negro and, therefore, subjected to such discrimination as still exists.
Coming from another country, he was perhaps a little more articulate about his annoyance, and I do not think an incident of this kind, occurring in our national capital, has a good effect on our international relations.