FEBRUARY 20, 1953
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio, Thursday—I usually have some peaceful moments when I am out on lecture trips; I manage to get some rest during the day in my hotel. But so far on this trip, in Harrisburg and in Dayton, before coming here, I have not had much free time.
There was a press conference in Dayton very soon after we arrived on Wednesday morning and almost immediately afterward I went to the Urban League lunch. This being Brotherhood Week they were having a day's conference on better race relations. A large number of organizations are cooperating in an effort to take stock of the situation in Dayton from every point of view, primarily the housing situation. The Negro population there has increased 14 percent while the housing for them has increased only about four percent. This makes for crowded schools and difficulties all the way down the line and makes it easy to understand why juvenile delinquency in these areas took an upward jump.
At the lunch Carl T. Rowan, author of "South of Freedom" and staff member of the Minneapolis Tribune, gave a most interesting and informative speech, emphasizing the value of law in the education of people.
It is true that laws alone do not bring about the desired results of equality for all, but laws are a good background on which to build these results.
I had hardly reached my room and was preparing to do a little work before a four o'clock meeting of students from Antioch College and representatives of the American Association for the United Nations when the telephone began to ring. Two calls were coming through to me from New York City. When I am away from home and calls come from New York City I think of all the things that might go wrong, but in this case there was no reason for agitation. Both calls were from New York City newspapers.
The first inquired whether I had been told that in a speech on the floor of the Senate—in an attack apparently against the Voice of America—Senator McCarthy had said that I had helped to get the government, in the days when I was First Lady, to circulate Howard Fast's writings. I haven't the remotest idea how one goes about getting the government to circulate anybody's writings. There are certain books by Howard Fast that I consider worth reading. But I don't remember ever knowing how one circulates books through the government. I will be very glad if Senator McCarthy will give me a bill of particulars and I will answer as truthfully as I can.
The second call came from the New York Times, which was inquiring about a rumor from Beacon, New York. They didn't know the name of the party in Beacon but someone there told them I was becoming a Roman Catholic. My only answer to that must be that I have been a Protestant for 68 years of my life. It seems hardly likely that I will change before I die.
I spoke in Dayton last night for the Council on World Affairs. This organization was formed to get together all groups in the city working in international affairs, so as to become more effective in disseminating information. While it cooperates with the Foreign Policy Association, it is not one of its direct agencies. It's aims are purely for education.