APRIL 26, 1960
NEW YORK. —I would like to suggest greater participation by our young Americans in programs that will help countries gaining their independence to function better. This they can do by filling many of the positions opening up in these countries which the new states have not been able to fill themselves because they lack the necessary educated people.
One of my correspondents writes that she heard about a school in Nigeria called the Mayflower Secondary School for Boys—an institution patterned after American public schools—and she immediately tried to help.
This is not a mission school. It is a secular institution founded by Tai Solarian, a Nigerian, and his English-born wife. They began with 70 students in 1956 and had more than 400 enrolled last year.
The school is still growing rapidly because of its excellent program of study and because it has been able to get help not only from many Americans, but from many Europeans, especially from Switzerland, where many persons had heard of the program.
My correspondent says that she visited the school in 1958 and was much impressed by what was being done there. The visit also made her deeply aware of the need for help in the U.S. Information Agency's library in Ibaden.
This library, she says, is a good one, but it had to curtail its services because of lack of funds. With a little voluntary help from individuals, this would not have been necessary, and it should not be necessary in a growing country like Nigeria.
Actor Ralph Bellamy has sent me a statement from the Actors Equity Association concerning that group's negotiations with the League of New York Theatres. Since there are 11,000 members in Equity, I read the statement with a good deal of interest.
Negotiations started April 15 and an agreement is still far from completion, but I hope the League of New York Theatres will see fit to work out a satisfactory arrangement with the actors, since the two groups have always had good relations.
Most important of the requests made by Equity is a pension plan. An ample and practical pension seems to be a necessity for our artists. Equity then asks an extension of welfare provisions, and improved salaries and working conditions.
What Equity says is, I believe, quite true—that its members must be given safe and sanitary conditions backstage. They feel that conditions in New York should set a standard for other theatres in which they perform on the road and the Equity should protect its members from poor conditions that now exist.