NOVEMBER 12, 1959
JACKSON, Mich.—We had breakfast on Tuesday morning in De Kalb, Ill., with several members of the staff of the University of Northern Illinois and one girl, who is head of the student government. We sat and talked till nearly 10 o'clock and afterward President and Mrs. Leslie A. Holmes drove Miss Maureen Corr and me to Midway Airport in Chicago. It was a beautiful day and I was impressed again by the richness of the surrounding land.
There is one small steel plant in De Kalb, which had been closed but began last week to reopen. However, the town has a large variety of small manufacturing plants, and I was told that even during the depression years of the 'thirties the area did not suffer as much as some other parts of the country.
I was told about one gentleman who owns 600 acres of this rich farmland and who uses the most modern methods in everything he does on his farm. I inquired if, like my son and daughter-in-law, the farmers here believed in organic farming or if they used sprays and artificial chemical fertilizers. Some farms here have dairies, some are just "corn and hogs," and many take young Black Angus or Herefords and fatten them for market in Chicago. I was told, however, that they would not begin to have enough fertilizer to do organic farming.
Well, I see by the newspapers that part of the cranberry crop in the Northwest was contaminated by a substance that allegedly could bring on cancer. The cranberry growers, however, say that they have set in motion machinery to neutralize the danger.
It would be a pity if everyone had to eat their Thanksgiving turkeys without cranberry sauce, and I am glad that I get my cranberries from Campobello Island, clear to the Northeast. So, I can eat them with perfect security and offer them to my guests and relatives without any qualms of conscience.
Our short flight from Chicago to Jackson was a trifle rough in landing, but we were on time and were met by some kind people who took us to Adrian. At Adrian we had an early dinner and I spoke for an hour about the United Nations and its specialized agencies. This was followed by a reception at eight o'clock and then we returned to our hotel in Jackson.
On Wednesday morning my short talk was part of the Town Hall series in Jackson, which was followed by a press conference and a luncheon.
Now I must go to a meeting of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People for a short ceremony, during which the NAACP wishes to give me a plaque. At 2:45, however, Miss Corr and I have to be started on our drive to the Toledo Airport, where I take a plane for Columbus, Ohio, and she takes a plane back to New York City.