Eleanor Roosevelt Visits Fort Belle

By Eleanor Roosevelt.

Pittsburgh, Pa., Monday – I visited a training school for boys between the ages of 12 and 18, yesterday afternoon. It is about 16 miles out of St. Louis and is run on the cottage system with much land around it. The boys work three hours of the day on academic school courses and four hours on actual labor jobs.
Yesterday being Sunday, the WPA orchestra and the choral leader were putting on a concert in which the boys themelves participated. The commentator told the story of the music which the orchestra was about to play and the boys joined in the singing. Sometimes it was a quartette of boys trained under the WPA recreational project by the choral director, sometimes it was a song by the entire glee club.
The boys never had any time to weary of too much orchestral music, nor did they have to sit still too long, because periodically they rose and sang as loudly as they wanted.
It seemed to me a very well planned entertainment. When it was brought to an end by the singing of “God Bless America” I could not help thinking that these boys, handicapped at the start but with a future still before them, were singing this song with more spirit than did the audience at the Kiwanis Club on Saturday.
As we went out, a sextette of rather elderly musicians was playing on the lawn. The musicians’ union has sponsored the music project in St. Louis. . . .
We are on the train today and will arrive in Pittsburgh late this afternoon.

(Copyright, 1939, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)

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