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new program. A budget of $50,000 is needed. There are 2000 social work members of the Exchange now. We want 5000 by Spring
If you will send your $3.00 (or more) yours will be the privilege of backing this national movement, for, by and of social workers, as it starts. The shoulder of every additional social worker will give the wheel of progress increased momentum. Come and help us move forward more quickly. Tempus Fugit and we have a long way to go.
Dr. Finley in New Work
Dr. John H. Finley, for many years a member of the Board of Directors of the Playground and Recreation Association of America, first President of the Recreation League of New York, and an able and sincere friend of the recreation movement in many phases, has recently resigned as State Commissioner of Education of New York to become identified with the New York Times. The Times comments on Dr. Finley's resignation as follows:
DR. FINLEY'S RETIREMENT Dr. John H. Finley, who retires as Commissioner of Education at Albany and now joins the staff of The Times, has labored with energy and success during his seven years' service to bring the State department and system of education to a condition of high efficiency. To supervise the workings of a department or bureau at Albany, to see to it that the clockwork of an office operates in an orderly and methodical manner—that is easy. Dr. Finley has made it his personal business to inspect and direct the working of the school system in all its branches. His former secretary, Mr. Andrew Ten Eyck, in a brief review of Dr. Finley's administration of the department published in The Evening Post of yesterday, tells how he once discovered him "walking through the south central section of the State incognito, visiting country schools. He played with the children, photographed them, queried them about their homes and their parents, asked them what they had to eat in their dinner pails.” The little country school was his special care. Mr. Ten Eyck tells further of his achievements in organization:
“Mr. Finley's seven years at Albany have been a period of important educational progress for the State of New York. Education has become a matter of deeper State concern and vastly greater State support. Provision has been made in this period for promoting the health of the school children through medical inspection, physical training and health education; for the training of boys and girls up to 18 years of age who have left school to go to work; for wider agricultural and industrial training; for the consolidation of city school laws, for the encouragement of higher education through university scholarships; for the improvement and enrichment of teacher-training; for the better compensation of teachers and for their pensioning; for the raising of professional standards and for the special training of illiterate adults throughout the State. In the opinion of those who are competent to appraise, this work is an achievement that might well have required twenty years for consummation.”
The Times would not like to feel that in inviting Dr. Finley to another field of activity it has altogether deprived the State of his invaluable services. The knowledge and experience he has gained in practical service will still be put to public use. His interest in the educational system of the State will not be amiss; with counsel, advice and suggestion he will be in a position to promote and develop whatever is found to be good and sound in education. But it is of manifest importance that, in choosing the new Commissioner, the Board of Regents seek out a successor to Dr. Finley who will be able to continue to the best advantage of the State the work he has done so well.
Playgrounds for Colored America*
It has long been assumed that so universal a worker as the colored man has not time for play either in youth or thereafter. For his salvation and for the solving of his problems we have long heard of the value of religion, of education and of work, but until lately we have not heard much of his need for recreation.
Recreation is by far the quickest approach to the colored man. He is deeply religious. He is eager to learn. But like all other
* Reprinted from Park International, November, 1920
peoples of all other times, he likes to play. And communities are learning that it is just as necessary to find wholesome outlets for his play instinct as it is to foster his religious and educational life-that parks and equipped play spaces are just as necessary for his development as are churches and schools.
The keen desire on the part of colored people for proper recreation facilities in towns and cities is in evidence in every locality, but as yet comparatively small provision has been made for his need in this respect. Playgrounds and recreation parks are entirely lacking in many neighborhoods in the North where colored people reside, and in many sections of the South play facilities have not been developed for any group. Of the seventeen hundred cities to which inquiries were recently sent by the Playground and Recreation Association of America, four hundred and twenty-eight municipalities claimed to maintain 3,969 playgrounds and recreation centers under paid leadership. Fifty-six of the cities reporting maintain one hundred and eight playgrounds for the exclusive use of colored children. In addition, fourteen cities reported that their playgrounds were used by both white and colored children. These reports indicate, as undoubtedly full and complete returns would show, that about three per cent of all of the playgrounds now operated in America, beckon colored inhabitants to participate in the activities incident to their use. Thus far, only seventy cities provide open recreation spaces for colored people.
New York City suffers from lack of equipment in the playgrounds and recreation space in its colored district-North Harlem. The hundred and twenty thousand or more inhabitants in that district live in an area without the provision of community recreation space or facilities expected of the modern town. For many years the people of North Harlem have been petitioning for a playground. Last year such a petition contained more than five thousand names.
Play streets are the only recreation facilities provided by the city in this district. These streets were developed this year by a number of welfare organizations, by placing in charge recreation leaders who instituted games for the children. Parts of 140th and 131st streets were set aside in this district, the first street being organized by Community Service leaders.
Early in July, Community Service workers appeared with Alderman George Harris before the commissioners of the Sinking Fund for the purpose of placing before them the claims of this district for a playground. The spot had been selected at 139th Street and Fifth Avenue on a piece of ground that had been occupied by the city water department as a storage ground. It is a small plot probably one hundred by seventy-five feet, fenced in. The water department opposed the granting of the privilege. The commissioners unanimously agreed, however, to allow the plot to be used as a playground, after one of them had pointed out that healthy children are much more valuable to a community than rusty iron pipe. The place has not been equipped but it is expected that the workers will start next spring installing regular equipment. It is rumored that this is but a beginning of contemplated improvements in this district and that eventually the entire river front from 138th to 145th streets (adjacent to the North Harlem colored neighborhood) will be given over to be used as part of the park system.
Philadelphia, with its splendid Fairmount and other parks has not neglected locating a much used playground in one of the thickly settled sections almost wholly occupied by colored folks. The McCoach Playground is not specifically designated as a colored playground, as Quaker sentiment would not permit a public plant maintained by the city to exclude any racial group. The grounds occupy a full city block. The space permits of baseball diamond, sliding boards, swings and an open swimming pool, the latter being an especially popular part of the McCoach Playground equipment.
The city maintains a regular corps of trained colored workers to supervise, organize and encourage the fullest use of the grounds Here, during the summer season at night with some regularity a free motion picture entertainment under community club auspices was offered the neighbors of the playground. Hundreds were in attendance.
In Charleston, S. C., a new playground was recently opened on the grounds of the Colored Industrial School. An appropriation was made by the city for the maintenance of the playground, but the funds for the equipment were contributed in small amounts by the negroes themselves. The whole is under the direction of the general supervisor of playgrounds for Charleston.
Macon, Georgia, the population of which is largely white, aims to provide equal recreation facilities for white and colored, there being four white playgrounds and one colored. Reports go to show that the recent establishment of the latter is appreciated by both white and colored.
In Kansas City, Missouri, a part of the Parade, a playfield situated in the midst of the colored district, is used largely by negroes, and has facilities for various kinds of recreation, such as football, tennis, track work, skating and swimming. A bath house located in the midst of the area has been turned over for the exclusive use of the colored. The latter is of the “Open Air” type, being surrounded by a building which houses the administration offices, showers and dressing rooms. The pool is forty by seventy feet and is constantly in use.
The Park Board of Louisville, Kentucky, is maintaining three supervised playgrounds for colored children. Two are interior squares owned by the Board, each a city block square, with shelter houses, two tennis courts each, playground apparatus and wading pools. Ballard Park, the newest, has a fine concrete shelter house with shower baths in the basement and comfort facilities. The third is on a city block loaned for a period of three years with an option to buy and is equipped with a variety of playground apparatus with play supervisors in constant attendance. The experiment has proved a great success, both from the viewpoint of colored and white citizens.
Newport, Kentucky, recently secured small but well equipped playground for its colored children. Some of the adults of both races debated as to what means they might employ to keep out white children who have been attracted to this most alluring spot. But while the old folks debated the problem, a mixed group of white and colored youngsters shared and enjoyed the equipment together without fear of friction.
Memphis, Tennessee, has made provision for the recreation of its colored population by a tract of fifty-three acres called Douglas Park.
Washington, D. C., provides for the recreation of its colored population by setting aside certain of its park baseball diamonds which may be used by them. The new golf course in Potomac Park may be used by negroes at certain periods of the week. Willow Tree Alley Playground, on the site of a group of ramshackle buildings which were demolished for the construction of the playground, has proved a boon to a densely congested colored neighborhood. In many communities where the problem is not being handled