APRIL 27, 1938
WASHINGTON, Tuesday—The largest group which came to tea yesterday consisted of 450 members of the National League of American Pen Women. They were followed by the wives of the motion picture engineers. In this small group of less than 100, there were representatives from other nations as well as from the United States. A very charming woman was introduced to me as having come from Austria. I asked her how long she had been in this country and she answered: "Just twenty-four hours." Wherupon I discovered she was here to stay and this was the beginning of a new life in a new country!
Then I had the pleasure of a real talk with 21 members of the Dublin (Georgia) Production Credit Association. Mr. W. I. Myers, Governor of the Farm Credit Administration, brought this group in. They have the distinction of having won a competition for the best attendance at a stockholders meeting—402 out of 406 members being present!
I thought they must come from a part of Georgia where the land is particularly good, but they told me their land is just average and their farmers just average farmers. They use the extension service from the college and their county agent advises them, but this is the ordinary assistance any group of farmers can have. I was forced to conclude that their progress is largely due to a few really good leaders. This proves the important thing in any community is to find someone who will take enough responsibility concerning community affairs to lead the others. If that is done, the whole community will go forward.
Mr. Sherwood Eddy came this morning, heading a group of about 73 people, all of whom seemed very much interested in their journey through a part of the United States. It has become an accepted habit for certain leaders to take groups on European or Far Eastern trips, but it is a more or less new idea to take citizens to visit their own country.
I met with them for half an hour in the Blue Room and did my best to answer a few of the questions which were asked. But I was conscious of the fact that probably many of the people present could have answered the questions very much better than I did!
Miss Hilda Smith, head of workers' education in the Educational Division of the WPA, came to lunch with me today. I feel so strongly that now is the time to put emphasis on this phase of education. The workers of the country are constantly assuming greater responsibility and it seems very necessary that they should have a real knowledge of history and economics and know something of the labor movement so they may have some perspective on the questions with which they find themselves confronted.
There was a time in this country when certain people felt that the uninformed workman was easier to handle and therefore the less the workers were taught the better, but we know now, to solve the economic problems of the day, workers and employers must cooperate. Cooperation with an uninformed group is practically impossible and will not lead to an intelligent solution of any problem.