This is another letter that my father wrote home to Detroit from Los Angeles when he was studying film in 1944. The photograph of my mother putting a hem in her skirt is also from August, 1944. I’m not sure if this picture was enclosed with this letter.
231 South Hobart Blvd. #4
Los Angeles, 7, California
August 18, 1944
Its Friday afternoon and I just got home from school, and I thought I’d drop you-all a note on the state of the nation. My “little” wife is still working. She gets off about five-thirty and comes home by way of the grocery store. Everything is about the same as usual. We’re still at large (out of the poor-house)…but I’ll have to find something to do pretty quick if we’re planning to stay that-a-way! I’m “dickering” with the Los Angeles Church Federation for a “position”. The “boss-Man” is out of town but I’ve filed an application and we’ll discuss the matter further when he gets back in September. It would be a pretty-good job if I can get it…sort of Negro field-worker for the Federation, co-ordinating the community work of the Negro churches… recruiting and training volunteers and organizing programs and clubs and groups and what-have-you. I’ve also applied to the Negro Community-Center, just-in-case.
On the way to school this morning a man picked me up in the safety-zone (big fine looking red-faced white man) in a Packard from here down town…and we got to bulling each other, and it turned out that he’s the Director of Audio-Visual Education for the Los Angeles Public Schools. Of course he was very happy to meet a real authority in the field…and invited me down to his office to see the experimental work the School System is doing in Moving-picture production. I’ll go down as soon as I can and see what them there “amateurs” are a trying to do.
School is going along fine…(no grades yet, of course!) Me and the Dean of the School of Religion are having a little long-distance controversy through his secretary. He thinks I ought to take half of my work in RELIGION…and I think I ought to take all (or almost all) in Cinema. He has an ace in the hole, however, in as much as I’m registered under the School of Religion and therefore pay only the special fees (Fellowships in religion make up the difference) …However, I’m not going to take half of my work in religion in as much as the religion courses will not contribute to what I’m trying to do!
SPECIAL NOTE TO LOUIS: If he makes me pay up the REGULAR REGISTRATION FEES I’ll have to wire you for a small loan of $100.00 or so until I can work long enough to pay it back. I think we can “arrange the difference of opinion” without such a drastic step… but with the good-white-folks you can never tell…especially preachers. My wife will divorce me if I have to borrow…but I aint no sentimentalist myself…and so I’m a warnin’ you.
How’s the farm going? How’s Mama getting along? I hear that “Racial-tension” in Detroit is a thing of the past! We’re getting ready to have a riot here…The FEPC has ordered the Street Railways to hire and upgrade Negroes immediately! Maybe I can get a “Riot-Movie”.
Here are some “snaps”- Did you get the ones we sent from San Francisco – I don’t think you ever mentioned them.
One Response to Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories – Christmas Day 1944 – Part 3
I know I’ve said before that you come by the writing gene naturally. It’s such a part of your family’s heritage. Beautiful!
Kathy, You got here! Good to see your comment.
A letter written on Christmas Day shows his dedication. These days people don’t seem to write letters other than the ’round robins’ that I hate.
Perfect fit for the theme. I can’t wait to hear the rest of the story unfold.
I love the determination, vision, and hope. A wonderful letter.
Now that the holiday rush is past I’m getting caught up on my blog reading. I hope that you had a wonderful Christmas.
I really enjoyed reading this letter. It’s fun to read your father’s thoughts as he thinks about how to organize a church in Detroit–and I’m looking forward to future posts about how he eventually gets back there.