OCTOBER 28, 1938
ATLANTA, Thursday—I spent the afternoon before my lecture in Birmingham yesterday, rather peacefully. To be sure, I had a few visitors and I went out and paid a visit, but I had plenty of time to sign all my mail and keep up to date, so we can consider it a really good day. Like everybody else in the world, the days I dread are those when your work seems to sit like an imp on your shoulder and beat you with the constant reiteration: "You won't get through, you won't get through."
Speaker and Mrs. Bankhead, Mr. and Mrs. Hansen and Mrs. Luke called for us at the hotel and escorted us to the auditorium, where the Speaker presided. The question period seemed to please the gentlemen particularly. I am always glad when I find that an audience responds to that period, for, from my point of view, it is pleasanter to be answering things in which you know someone is interested, than to be talking on a subject which everyone may find dull.
The more I travel around the country, the more impressed I am with the importance of housing. I wonder if other states are going to find that they need the same kind of amendment which is being proposed this year in New York State.
Amendment Number Four in my state, on which voters are going to be asked to express their opinion on November 8th, gives the state legislature the power to issue bonds up to $300,000,000 for loans to villages, towns, cities and public corporations to finance the construction of low rent houses and to assist in the elimination of bad housing. It makes it far easier to obtain land for present and future use and makes certain other very valuable provisions.
The Federal program for housing, of course, is only meeting the normal new housing needs of the average community and it can do very little really to change the standards of housing created by neglect in the past. However, New York's amendment should not be looked upon purely as a contribution to the raising of social standards. It has an economic value too, for it will mean recovery in the heavy industries and will provide new jobs for many men who have been thrown out of work and who, even if not completely jobless, have at least not as good jobs as they once had.
I write this not only because it is being done in New York State, but because it may be valuable to other states. The housing situation is present everywhere, so it is well to find out anything being done which can be of assistance in solving one of our basic problems.
We left the train in Atlanta this morning at 7:30 and everyone greeted us as though we were returning home, which was certainly a very pleasant feeling.