NOVEMBER 23, 1956
NEW YORK—Monday was Equality Day and I attended a lunch given by the Bronx Urban League at which a citation was presented to J. Clarence Davies, a rare type of real estate broker who has taken a tremendous interest in integrated housing.
I wish that his interest in integration would spread to a great many more real estate operators and that we could get over the foolish idea that mixed neighborhoods are always run down in looks and low in price. As a matter of fact, if we are ever going to comply with the law of the land and desegregate schools, we must desegregate all of our housing.
Even New York City's Harlem has to cease being a colored neighborhood, and the same holds true of the Puerto Rican section.
It is natural, of course, for immigrants to this country to settle near friends and relatives, who may have urged them to come. But we should make every effort to keep a neighborhood from representing only one section of our population.
This actually will be better for real estate generally and better for us, as people, in addition to the fact that we will have to do this to comply with the law.
I spoke Monday night for the American Association for the United Nations in Riverdale, New York City, and was glad to find we had a flourishing chapter there which, I think, added a number of new members to its roster at the meeting.
I find that the present situation is awakening a great deal of public interest in the U.N. The fact that our Administration suddenly has found it wise to place such stress on our working through the U.N. has enhanced the value of this organization in the eyes of many people who before had thought of it as somewhat useless.
Now the U.N. appears as the instrument through which our country is hoping to stay out of war, since action by individual countries seems to bring nations into war rather than keep them out of it.
Slowly, but slowly, the lesson is being learned of submission to majority rule and the effort to work out things together in ways of peace rather than of war. But it will continue to be a slow process, because some of the people who profess to be constantly striving for peace are those who most often threaten the use of force.
Tuesday was the 85th birthday of Dr. William Heard Kilpatrick, who has worked so many years to further progressive education.
Dr. Kilpatrick retired from Teachers College, Columbia University, where he was responsible for teaching progressive educational methods, 19 years ago. But he has never really retired from his profession, and he is young in spirit even today.
He has taught at many colleges since that mandatory retirement at 65. He has lectured and written books, and at this very moment is reported to be beginning his autobiography.
Dr. Kilpatrick believes that a child should be educated in such a way as to help him live democratically as a citizen of the modern world. Without the right kind of education, he thinks, we cannot make democracy work. And I believe he has been proved right.
So I salute a gentleman who is 85 years young and hope he will remain as useful and creative for many years to come.