OCTOBER 15, 1953
NEW YORK, Wednesday—At nine o'clock on Monday morning I was visited by Dr. Trigg, the pastor of the Salem Methodist Church at Seventh Avenue and 129th Street. They awarded me one of their Angel Medals, but I had not been able to go to the ceremony to receive it so he kindly came down to present it to me and tell me what he had succeeded in doing in his area. The church is the center of a very large new housing development, and there are literally thousands of children about the streets.
They started out by raising money so they could have a church of which they could be really proud, and now they are within a very few hundred dollars of buying the lots from the city for three community houses in the development. Dr. Trigg said with conviction that the children and young people must be cared for.
I could not help thinking of some of the difficulties I had heard of concerning colored youngsters. These children playing in Central Park, finding themselves without baseball bats, mitts, or balls, just took them away from white youngsters who had them, and then fled. There was hot pursuit, but the boys who originally had them were far fewer in number and the have-nots got away with it.
The first reaction one has is to think what badly trained and badly brought up children these must be, but if we stop to think further I believe the lesson strikes deeper. There are really no bad children. There are only bad environments in which children are brought up and cannot develop normally. The Salem Methodist Church is going to try to create better surroundings for the children in this Harlem area.
The announcement by Great Britain and United States that they would withdraw their troops from Trieste has created great excitement. President Tito is apparently ready to fight if the Italian army starts marching in the region occupied by the British or Americans. One is slightly surprised at this reaction and wonders if it might have been safer to have turned all the land over to the U.N., and let them decide what troops had to be there and establish a free port open to every nation.
I hope that President Tito will not allow his people to reach a point of dissatisfaction where they would be anxious to fight over this question of the Italian occupation of a good part of the city. It is understandable enough, since all the people probably desire a plebiscite under the auspices of the United Nations, but from my point of view the one important thing is that war should not start.
It is an encouraging thing to be told that President Eisenhower's economic advisers seem to feel that there is only a slight slowing down of the national economy and that we are only a very little under last spring's record-breaking drive in our present prosperity. The advisers announce that Government spending fell off a little in September which, coupled with a slowing down among the businessmen and their refusal to accumulate things on hand, made the total output a bit less than it was last year.
The Commerce Department in its survey announced that the family income, however, actually increased by $850 a year between the years 1945 and 1952. General consumer purchasing power remains about the same in the third quarter of the year. All these things, in spite of spots here and there which report bad conditions, add up to a good national picture.
I often wonder as I see the variety of things that are constantly being increased and brought before the President of the United States for his judgement, how any one man can hope to intelligently grasp all the problems. So this group of economic advisers must be a Godsend. For Presidents are rarely chosen because of their special hidden knowledge outside of their professional previous field of interest.