AUGUST 24, 1954
HYDE PARK, Monday—The President last week began his active campaigning for a Republican Congressional victory this fall. Speaking at the Illinois State Fair, he appealed to the voters to elect all Republican candidates, including Joseph T. Meek, who is running for the U.S. Senate against Democratic Senator Paul H. Douglas.
One wonders how much the President counts on Mr. Meek. The latter came out rather strongly in support of Senator Joseph R. McCarthy and against the President only a short time ago, but, in order to obtain the President's endorsement, he changes his tune and agreed that he would support the Administration.
Such tactics are familiar enough in politics, but if I were the President I should be very doubtful about whether Mr. Meek would vote as often as Senator Douglas in favor of the positions taken by the Administration. So many of the measures that represented the President's program this year would have failed to go through without Democratic support that in many cases it must be rather difficult for the President to go against the men who have actually given him what success he had in the 83rd Congress.
While the President was in Illinois I wonder if he was approached with the appeal that came to me the other day from a small place called Henry, Illinois. The woman who makes the appeal has been the librarian in this little town of about 2,000 people. She needs a new library building and is looking for someone who cares about providing such structures for small places.
The present library in Henry was started by Mrs. Laura Kline, who died in 1899. The librarian there now writes that they have an excellent collection of books and that their circulation is high, but their library is housed in the City Hall and the members who want books have to climb a long flight of stairs. Space is at a premium and they long for a little building all their own.
There must be individuals and foundations who feel it important, just as Andrew Carnegie did, who built so many libraries throughout the country, to give people access to books. So even if the President did not get this appeal, perhaps if anyone knows of a source where help can be obtained he will write to Miss Helen Raffensperger in Henry, Illinois.
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I am told that in a recent column I implied that the American Indians are not now full citizens.
My correspondent writes, "Individually they are as full and free citizens as you and I. Their legal status was taken care of in the Act of June 2, 1924, which granted full citizenship to all Indians born within the territorial limits of the U.S. There are, of course, many Indians who suffer discrimination as a result of local or state legislation just as other citizen groups do. Through the years the Indian Service and such private agencies as the Indian Rights Association and the Association for American Indian Affairs have struggled to eliminate these handicaps with a high degree of success."
I am sorry if I gave a wrong impression.