FEBRUARY 13, 1960
NEW YORK—Perhaps I had better catch up a little on my movements of the past few days. Last Sunday morning I left for Boston and on Monday after lunch I flew with Mr. Tom Stix, my radio and TV agent, to Los Angeles to take part in the Frank Sinatra show, which will be on the air next Monday evening.
This was the first time I had ever seen how one of these entertainment shows is put together. It had seemed to me ridiculous that I had to stay two days in Los Angeles for the few minutes that I had to be on the air, but I found it an entertaining and interesting experience.
I enjoyed meeting all the people who do the real entertainment for these shows. Lena Horne was the chief star but there were many others. I became so interested in the mechanics that I almost forgot I had anything to do at all, until someone came up and prodded me to come on stage.
I enjoyed all the artists and all the people who do all the hard work of mechanics and direction. And I felt it was highly stimulating to be in an entirely new environment learning new things. Mr. Frank Sinatra was kind and charming but seemed very tired.
Thursday morning Mr. Stix and I flew back and as they told us we were flying over the state of Kentucky I could not help remembering that the following day would be Lincoln's birthday. How grateful we are for that great man who has left us such a noble heritage!
Everytime we think about the great people in our history I think we should try to evaluate whether we are advancing the principles for which they stood. At times we must all wonder why we have been so slow to carry out the real freedom which President Lincoln hoped for all human beings within our country.
I have two letters today which remind me of this. One is from a gentle, conciliatory colored man who sends me a carefully considered plan whereby we would slowly accustom the white race to accept dark-skinned people. We would do this by moving a few of the colored people into homes in every locality but always promise that they would not exceed a certain number. Thus, the white people would never be afraid either of the lowering of their real estate values or of the rapid increase in numbers in the housing taken up by the dark-skinned. This may be a good idea and may be a necessary bridge between the complete freedom that we all think is right in our country and the barriers which we have set up at the present time.
There is a better movement, I think, here in New York State, as my other correspondent informs me. The Rockland County Housing Council is sponsoring a "Good Neighbor Statement" and getting people to sign it so that it may be published. With every signature 25 cents is paid so that the local papers will carry the statement and the list of signers during this month.
The statement reads: "Because we believe that every family is entitled to the benefits of the entire community, we, the undersigned, gladly welcome as neighbors any family of good character, regardless of race, creed, or national origin."
Last year they obtained 538 signatures to their statement and found that other communities undertook to do a similar job.
The advertisement was sponsored by the Rockland Friends last year, but this year the Rockland County Housing Council has agreed to sponsor it.
Such things as this are really fulfilling Lincoln's hopes and plans, so it is good to be reminded of them on his birthday.