MARCH 3, 1960
NEW YORK—This past Monday was not such a good day, and I wondered very much if I would make my Washington plane trip in good time. At the airport I found there was a mix-up in my ticket and I was 15 minutes late in arriving in Washington for a meeting which Mrs. Eugene Meyer held for Mr. Morris Milgram. Mr. Milgram presented his community development idea and asked for investment in an interracial housing project in Washington.
I spoke in the evening at a dinner for young Democrats, and there was a fine turnout for that affair.
On Tuesday at noon I spoke for the graduate school that is connected with the Department of Agriculture. This school, however, is open to all Federal departments for employees who wish to take graduate courses. Here we also had a good meeting, and I was back in New York a little after four o'clock.
The winds were very strong and nearly blew all of us off our feet as we got off the plane in New York. But once in the taxicab I was whisked home and found that my extremely nice and talkative driver would not accept my fare. I tried my best to force it on him but he carried my bags in and ran away, and all he had to show for the trip was an autograph I had signed on the way in!
Such acts of kindness should be recorded because they are far beyond any line of duty.
Everyone in Washington is talking about the continuous sessions of the Senate, which must be very hard on the members. They must remain nearby all the time because of the possibility of being called for a quorum vote.
I was told by someone who is watching the vote very carefully that during Monday night the Republicans, out of their 35 votes, managed to have 25 votes present for whatever they might have to vote for. It is natural, of course, that some Southern Democrats are anxious to stay away because they want, if possible, to kill the civil rights bill. But out of all the Democrats there were only 25 who were there on roll call—exactly the same number as Republicans—out of a much larger membership.
Those of us who care about civil rights should communicate with our Democratic Senators—where, of course, we have Democrats representing us. No liberal should be more than five minutes away from where he can be reached in case of a vote until the continuous session is over. A liberal cannot give lip service to civil rights. He must be on hand if a vote is going to be obtained on the civil rights bill in this session.
I would ask everyone who has this cause at heart to let their representatives, particularly if they are Democrats, know what they expect of them in this particular situation. I know it is hard on those who are campaigning in primaries for the Presidency, but what is the use of nominating anyone for any high office if he has not done his duty in this particular situation?
Vote by vote, the right to register and to vote and to the protection of the individual under Federal law can be obtained at this session—but the liberal Democrats must all be present.