NOVEMBER 14, 1959
BOSTON—Little Adrian College in Adrian, Mich., provided the facilities for a most-interesting chapter meeting of the American Association for the United Nations early this week. The school has offered itself for anything connected with the U.N., and this meeting, held in the gymnasium-auditorium, attracted a capacity crowd of 2,000. The session was sponsored by a group of organizations, but primarily by the University Women's Association, the General Federation, and the Michigan Chapter of the AAUN.
The people out there have been working steadily at increasing interest in the U.N. and its work, and several of them told me that this meeting was the best one they had ever held. Many of them have made special visits to New York and have spent considerable time at U.N. meetings. One woman told me she spent an entire day there—when the General Assembly was not in session—attending meetings of various agencies and found it one of the most interesting days of her whole stay in New York.
The students at Adrian, too, seem to grasp the importance of the U.N. Adrian is a Methodist college with a student body of just under 1,000, who represent every section of our country. There also is a group of about 50 students from foreign countries.
I had dinner there with a young woman whose husband is a doctor. Their home is on a hill overlooking the city of Adrian and at night the view of lights in the distance, plus a brilliant moon, made it a very lovely sight.
She is a brave young woman to be so active for the U.N., because she also is head of the regional chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and is one of the five who stood up in opposition to some of the resolutions passed at their last national meeting.
It must take courage of a very exceptional kind to serve in an organization in which you are so far outnumbered by closed-minded ladies of great self-importance. I admire enormously the work done by the DAR for the preservation of historic monuments and for increased appreciation of our citizenship. But I must say that some of the resolutions passed only too recently were so funny and so childish that it makes one feel the group must live in a different world from the world of today.
I am in the midst of reading the special issue (October 31, 1959) of The Nation magazine, entitled "The Shame of New York" and written by Fred J. Cook and Gene Gleason.
These two reporters have done as good a muckraking job on big-city government as I can remember since the days when this was really a popular pastime and Jacob Riis and Lincoln Stephans came to the fore with equally bad revelations.
Many of the things they say of New York City are true of other big cities and of other political setups run by bosses who, because of the indifference of the citizens, came to believe that they own the city and its government.
The tie-up between boss rule, gangsters and corrupt leaders of various kinds is a depressing story to read, but one hopes that it will move the citizens of big cities everywhere to become more active to combat such goings-on. It should even awaken those of us who live in smaller communities who also have some responsibility for things that go wrong, though they may not be of the same magnitude. Determined action on the part of the citizens can change the picture, but it must be long-sustained and incorruptible action.