JANUARY 7, 1958
NEW YORK—Back in New York from Warm Springs, Ga., I found on my desk two appeals from widely different areas of the country, but each of them concerned with the lives of people.
One will seem to many to be of a very localized interest, since it concerns the Eastside Settlement House in Los Angeles, Calif.
In that great city live people of many different origins and backgrounds. This particular group organized in 1919 a Mother's Club, which grew into an organization for operating a shelter for girls and women. Then, in 1942, it was incorporated as the Eastside Settlement House.
This Settlement House was operated entirely by Negro women, many of them working women, and they say their objective is "building character and good citizenship habits and attitudes among young people."
The building in which they have operated has grown shabby over the years and they want to build a new one. This will cost $100,000, and they will need $25,000 more for additional land.
They want to make this a modern community center with a child care center, a teen-age counseling and guidance service, and an adult community center, all under one roof. It will be nondenominational, for among the Negro people of the area there are a variety of religions. But they feel that in their part of Los Angeles such a center can do a great deal of good.
They are discouraged, however, because they can find so little support. They appealed to 89 unions with practically no response, and yet from their area there are many men and women union members.
They appealed to 97 foundations and 14 women's clubs. They chose them all carefully, hoping that their project would be one of interest, but only one foundation gave them a small sum of money and most of the foundations were not interested in the work.
The women's clubs, for the most part, did not respond, and yet one would think they would sense the need of their sisters. Only one club offered some friendly help.
I know this is a little undertaking and that the same thing is being asked of people in every city throughout this great land of ours. But it seems to me that while the response must come largely from their own neighborhood, there should be interest on the part of national organizations that have funds, for the purposes of this group are of value to the whole country.
The other letter tells of a situation in Hobart, Okla., where land is being taken from people to increase the size of government-owned property at Fort Sill. Most of it, I imagine, is needed for the missile range.
The government says that the "unfortunate few" to lose their homes will be only 200 families, but these families think that at least 30,000 people will be affected.
The fundamental question is: Do we need to continue this military buildup in our country?
It seems to me that the Pentagon is fighting the last war, not the war of the future which will need far more than military power alone. We need to review our whole military setup, and we had better do it before we take away the homes of any more people.