JUNE 8, 1955
HYDE PARK—Life in the country is made up of little things...how the flowers come into bloom, whether the trees have pests, or the vegetables grow, etc.
Incidentally, we have a large number of birches and in spite of the spraying I am afraid they may develop whatever the horrible disease is that is turning them brown along the parkway. However, ours do not look bad as yet, but I do not know whether our good fortune can last.
Last Saturday afternoon, my uncle, Mr. David Gray, and I went over to the Library—he to talk to Mr. Kahn, and I to greet the members of the group of the International Ladies' Garment Workers Union. They came up to spend the day at the FDR Memorial Library.
On Sunday after church I again went to the Library to greet a very interesting group. The principal of the Central Avenue School in Newark, N.J., had told me that their evening Americanization class, largely attended by foreign-born in this country, sometimes by Negroes born in the South, had decided this year instead of having a party to take a trip to Hyde Park, and he asked if I could possibly arrange to meet them at the Library.
It was a great pleasure to be with this group, for I think very often people who learn English and reading and American history and something about civics, as adults, have a livelier interest in the citizenship which they are acquiring than we have. We have always known that we could vote; we have learned English as children in the public schools and have gone through our regular course of education as a matter of course. So, we never think of these things as privileges as well as rights.
Now that Africa has become a continent in which people are traveling more and more often, there are interesting discoveries being made. Only the other day our newspapers carried a story recording a find in some South African caves.
These caves go back perhaps two hundred thousand years and were occupied by different peoples in era after era. Layers of bones and artifacts mark each era.
The caves will give a good deal of trouble, I think, to some of our religious fundamentalists who like to fight with Mr. Darwin on his evolution of man, but they are nevertheless extremely interesting to all of us, showing how we moved gradually from one development to the next through endless generations.
Sooner or later we find in news coming out of the Soviet Union the reason why work on certain subjects with the Soviet Union is so difficult. I listened to hours of debate on freedom of the press in an effort to get some kind of international understanding as to what freedom of the press really was and what controls were needed to develop responsibility alongside of freedom.
Now comes this article in the paper giving a definition from Moscow of the role of the press, which makes it quite understandable that the free world and the Soviet world could not agree on this particular point.
The Reds say, in a party magazine called "Party Life," that newspapers are "so to speak, a direct continuation" of the Communist party apparatus. They go on to say that "not only should newspapermen be considered literary workers" but one should also "try to see that they fulfill their party duty to inform the local party committee of what they find on the spot, to present problems and offer proposals."
Work with newspapermen, the article continues, is "one of the most important aspects of party leadership of the press and this leadership should be exercised every day, with consideration for all the characteristics of this ideological weapon."
It is quite evident from this that no newspaperman would have any freedom to think for himself or to state anything which was not censored by the party leadership.