DECEMBER 8, 1956
BALTIMORE—Last September there came across my desk a publication which grew out of the 1946 National Health Forum conducted by the National Health Council.
It is entitled "Guides to Action on Chronic Illness, Today, Tomorrow, Together." I think that every community should see to it that its influential organizations study and discuss the points covered in this booklet.
In the coming year, the forum will consider the responsibilities of the many types of organizations promoting the nation's mental health. And as this is one of the most important medical problems in the country, I think every community should watch for this publication and see that all of its people are made familiar with the material in it.
The booklet can be bought for $1 from the National Health Council. If you buy 10 to 100, you pay 99 cents, and if you buy 100 or more, you pay only 75 cents each. Surely there are enough people in every community interested in chronic illness to buy this material for study purposes.
A recurring subject of interest in every community, and particularly to its educational groups, is the problem of how to deal with delinquency.
From the state of Mississippi and from a Negro educator, Dr. Laurence Jones, known as the "Little Professor of Piney Woods," comes some good advice on the question of delinquency. He makes an appeal for planned recreation, saying:
"It costs society a great deal less to form youngsters first than to reform them later. If we spent more money on formatory centers, we would have less need of our reformatory centers."
Dr. Jones is 72 years old, but he has an understanding of young. He says:
"They are full of energy which must be channeled in a constructive direction. Left to go its own way, that energy too often turns in a destructive direction."
It is not always a question of poverty or of bad home environment, for juvenile delinquents can be found in rich homes and in those where parents have made an honest effort to give their children good surroundings. It is a question of keeping young people busy doing good things, rather than letting them slip into doing bad things.
Dr. Jones in Mississippi, like Mary McLeod Bethune in Florida, in 1909 started his Piney Woods country life school literally on a pine stump with three pupils and $1.65 in cash. Today the school owns 1,700 acres of land and has an enrollment of 500.
There are 6,000 graduates, and not one has ever had a police record. Juvenile delinquency among them is unknown. Many of the graduates today hold responsible positions and they still remember little precepts which Professor Jones wrote and tacked on the trees of the campus.
One of them is applicable to all of us in the world we face today: "Success comes when you pray as though everything depended on the Lord, and work as though everything depended on you."