FEBRUARY 21, 1956
NEW YORK—I told you about my visit at the University of Illinois in Urbana, but of particular interest was the meeting sponsored by the Association of International Students, which is "dedicated to the promotion of good will and understanding between Americans and students from other countries without regard to race, color, creed or religion."
These students sponsored the entertainment and it was good. A group of four Brazilians played several numbers, and I was told that at Christmastime they serenaded buildings all over the campus and, on request, often play for different groups. A gifted young Indian played on an Indian instrument and two students from Colombia danced.
The University of Illinois has 700 students from 70 foreign countries, the third largest foreign group at any university in the United States. And judging from the great many Americans present, it was evident these foreign students are making friends and Americans there are learning the value of contact with those from other countries.
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The weather was anything but propitious Thursday and we were sliding over icy streets. But by Friday morning it had improved. Flying conditions were bad, however, and Miss Corr had to take a train to Chicago so as to make an airline connection to New York.
I journeyed by train to Carbondale where my grandson, Van Seagraves, met me and took me to his house. There I spent the rest of the day.
Unfortunately, my flight from St. Louis was canceled and I had to stay overnight. However, I caught a through flight to New York and reached there Saturday afternoon.
Next year I may try to do more traveling in the autumn and less in the winter.
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The other day I received an account of the floods in Northern California as given in a letter from one of the young men living in the neighborhood to his mother. Here is a quotation which I think is worth giving you:
"Floods and their havoc have come home to us. The Feather River levee broke on our farm when the water rose to a height of 80 feet! Our farm was wiped clean of everything, buildings, tools, trees. We can't even find our good earth.
"We will be unable to use the land again unless it is entirely worked over, a tremendous task. We and our neighbors need help immediately.
"The program of federal loans to 'good risks' only is of no help to those of us who have lost everything in the floods. We should not be compelled to saddle ourselves and our children with a lifetime of debt in order to rehabilitate our land and our lives.
"An immediate and substantial grant for the rehabilitation of farms, homes and businesses is imperative. This is a good investment, for they will be helped to become taxpayers and thus repay their indebtedness...Further, the government must assume the responsibility of insuring families against floods and other catastrophes."
This is a description of a situation where the Federal government must act and it seems essential that it be done promptly.