APRIL 27, 1939
WASHINGTON—I spent two hours yesterday afternoon with a group of rural young people from all over the United States. They were picked by various farm organizations to meet here with an equal number of their elders from these organizations to discuss the problems of rural youth. I was deeply impressed by the interest and understanding which many of these young people showed. One youngster asked me if I thought it was possible to consider youth's problems apart from the general problems of the nation, which shows a real understanding of economic conditions and their effect on families.
These young people belong to the organized farming groups and lay great stress on making their organizations play a part in their success. The great mass of unorganized rural young people, of course, might not agree. This is the way, however, that industrial young people feel. I have heard the same remark from factory workers: "We can't get anywhere alone, we need to be in an organization." Right here is where an understanding of the point of view of urban people could easily begin.
One thing impressed itself on me as I listened to their discussion. I believe that, if we are hoping to make these young people actively participating citizens of a democracy, we should make the various government agencies contact the schools and explain themselves to youngsters while they are still in the schoolrooms. Too many of us judge from the narrow point of view of whether this or that government policy helps our community, because in school we have never been taught to take a wider viewpoint and think of our country as a whole.
Last night, for the second time, a meeting for the presentation of the National Achievment Award was held at the White House. This yearly award was instituted by the Chi Omega Society to recognize the work of outstanding women in various fields. Curiously enough the two awards which have been given in the White House have been presented to people who had something to do with the theatre—first Katharine Cornell and last night Miss Rachel Crothers.
The speakers who paid their tributes to Miss Crothers as a playwright and producer were, Miss Lucile Watson, a friend and actress; Mr. John Golden, a producer and Mr. John Mason Brown, a dramatic critic. Mr. Golden reminded me that he could prove that he was right in stating that no woman had ever written a great play, so I want to register here my entire agreement with him, so far as the past is concerned. My hope is still strong, however, that in the future, women, who are no longer sheltered human beings, will write great plays which are true pictures of life.