OCTOBER 12, 1950
NEW YORK, Wednesday—I have been getting letters lately regarding home rule in Washington, D.C. It seems to me that the regulations restricting residents of the District of Columbia from participating in the government works a hardship on those permanent residents who may have no desire to enter government service but who must carry on a business.
In the early days the District of Columbia was just the nation's capital. The idea of not giving people who lived there a vote in the management of their affairs was felt to be necessary to make it impossible to build up a group of people who could be manipulated as a political force. Now there are still a great many government employees who have their roots in their homes outside of the District, but there also are many under Civil Service who make their homes there and who belong to a variety of political parties.
Having the District of Columbia a sort of stepchild of Congress has not really led to very good conditions. With the growth of the city, in population and commercially, there has arisen the need of more and more institutions of various kinds. Instead of being shining examples of the best we can do in this country many of these are little short of the worst. The people of the District, who would naturally be interested in them, have no vote and, anyway, no one in Congress is really obligated to listen to them.
It seems to me, therefore, that the time has come for giving home rule to the capital of the United States. And I hope this will soon be accomplished. There is much agitation among the citizens of the city themselves who feel that they should have the same rights as the people who live in other parts of our country.
Now I want to tell you about some awards that should give us, as American citizens, great pride. Five years ago two public-spirited citizens, Albert and Mary Lasker, established these awards, to be given through the American Public Health Association. The chairman of the Lasker Awards Committee, Dr. Ernest L. Stebbins, and chairman of the School of Hygiene and Public Health, John Hopkins University, announced early this week the four selections for this year. They are the following:
Dr. George Wells Beadle: "for outstanding and fundamental contributions to the understanding of genetic control of the metabolic processes."
Dr. George Papanicolaou: "for outstanding contributions to the early diagnosis of cancer through cytological methods."
Dr. Eugene Lindsay Bishop: "for original and meritorious accomplishment in Public Health administration."
The fourth, or group, award was given to the International Health Division of the Rockefeller Foundation "for outstanding achievements in the control of infectious diseases and the education of health personnel throughout the world."
Dr. Papanicolaou's work will make it possible for the first time to study cancer prevention. Dr. Beadle has opened up rich, new fields for exploration, and Dr. Bishop is recognized because his career really epitomizes the development of the Public Health movement in this country.
It is good to see the spotlight shine on these men who contribute so much to the world and who get so little recognition.