NOVEMBER 12, 1958
MEXICO CITY—I was shocked to read of the explosion that blew up an integrated elementary-junior high school in the small mining community of Osage, W. Va., on Monday. The bombing certainly looks as though someone must have gone in deliberately to perpetrate this outrage.
Authorities have testified that integration took place four years ago without the slightest disturbance, at the time of the United States Supreme Court's integration decision. And over a period of many years in this community Negroes and whites have lived in racial peace and worked harmoniously in the coal mines together with no trouble whatsoever.
Osage is about four miles from Morgantown, which in the early days of the depression I knew very well. In the mines the men and women are rated for their worth as human beings, not for their color. At least that was my experience, and I am told it still is so.
The little community was formerly a mining community only, but was recently incorporated, and its first town council of five members includes two Negroes. This certainly would indicate that the perpetrator of this crime had come from somewhere else or at least that the instigation for this type of crime certainly had its roots somewhere on the outside.
It is a curious thing when violence starts that one can never count on control. In the South a number of Negroes were arrested without any reason, and then suddenly there was a series of bombings, as witness the outrages committed against the synagogues. Once you give in to prejudice and violence and cease to be law-abiding, there is no telling where it will end.
I should like to tell you about a few books that have come to me and which I think may interest many as gifts at the coming Christmas season.
One is called "Histoire de la France" by Andre Maurois, published by Hachette. The illustrations are very beautiful and this brief history is written in a way that will hold the attention of any young person as well as older readers. I do not know whether it is translated into English, but so many of us have learned to read French (and I sometimes think our American schools teach us to read better than to speak French) that many will enjoy this book as I have done in the past few days.
Another is a delightful book that came to me from Israel, featuring pictures by Beno Rothenberg. These are pictures of the land of Israel and its people, and they are really beautiful pictures. It is a book that young and old can look at, and after seeing it feel better acquainted with this faraway, small but very important country to those of us who believe in democracy and hope to see it spread in the world.
Last but not least is "Herblock's Special for Today" by Herbert Block, published by Simon and Schuster. I know of no one whose cartoons I enjoy as much as Herblock's, and since many battles for many causes have been won by means of the cartoon it is well have beside one constant reminders of how this gifted gentleman has seen the happenings of the day and portrayed them for us.