FEBRUARY 1, 1956
NEW YORK—An interesting sidelight on my trip to Albuquerque was a visit at the Barelas Community Center. This is operated under the auspices of the Parks and Recreation Department and is one of several centers, being developed to meet the problem of young people of different nationalities in crowded areas of the city.
This particular community house is in an area where the four predominant groups in the State of New Mexico meet and it serves a population of about 6,450. The greatest number in that area are Spanish-speaking Americans, then the English-speaking, then the Indians, and the Negro.
There is a playground adjacent to the building, and within the building all kinds of activities are planned for both boys and girls. There also is a clinic for mothers and babies.
The program is used, since part of its finance comes from a grant to the University of New Mexico, as a training program for students in social service. Some of the children take dancing there, and they gave me a wonderful little exhibition. This show began with a little five-year-old playing her castanets as well as any grown–up, and included a number of older girls.
The influence of these centers is making a great difference in the development of the young people. Last year on October 16 the Barelas Community Center and the Parks and Recreation Department presented the first annual folk festival which was directed by Nato Hernandez. This event featured Indian music and dances, Negro spirituals, cowboy music and square dancing, and Spanish-Mexican music and dancing. I was told it was a great success. I am sure that an undertaking of this kind, and headed by as devoted a supervisor as Mr. A. Richard Gonzales of the Barelas Community Center, cannot help but produce better citizens from poor and overcrowded areas.
I think I forgot to mention that in Albuquerque, also, at our luncheon we had some very excellent dances done by three young Indian brothers in native costume. There are five boys in the family and the father, Mr. Whitecloud, remembered meeting my husband and myself and dancing for us years ago, and I remembered him. The older boys could not leave school, so our entertainment was put on by the three younger ones. And I have rarely seen an Indian dance executed with more vim than the hoop dance which the oldest of the three children did for us.
In Phoenix we found the sun again, after much rainy weather, and it shone brightly as we landed in our plane. I was taken immediately before the Legislature where I had been invited to speak to the members. I thought they were most kind to want to hear about the United Nations from me and I was very happy to have this opportunity of meeting with the representatives from all over the State of Arizona.