Southern Illinois University Carbondale Daily Egyptian Diversity News Archive (Southern Illinois University Carbondale)
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Item IDegyptian 1944 0519 vol 25 #27.tif
DescriptionToday, I received a letter from Pvt, Alvin L. Freeman, who has been in the army since Pearl Harbor.
Original Publication SourceDaily Egyptian
Date1944 May 19
Digital File Format.TIF (Tagged Image Format)
Digital File PublisherSpecial Collections Research Center, Morris Library, Southern Illinois University Carbondale
Rights StatementAll copyrights held by Southern Illinois University Carbondale. For permission to reproduce, distribute, or otherwise use this image, please contact the Special Collections Research Center, Morris Library, Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Phone: + 1 (618) 453-2516. Email:
CollectionDaily Egyptian Diversity News Archive (Southern Illinois University Carbondale)


Today, I received a letter from Pvt, Alvin L. Freeman, who has been in the army since Pearl Harbor. I could tell you what he said In the letter, but I think you
will enjey rending the ‘‘real McCoy", so here is the letter: Somewhere in North Africa.
Dear Dot:
Well, kid, did you thin finally get through with that test you were telling me about? How did you come out?
How are you? Your met her? and all my pals getting along there in the States? I'm doing fine now, in fact, the doctor told his that I would be able to get
back with the boys in a couple of weeks. All the guys here are improving and itching to get back to work.
You know, Dot, the other day after we had had our baths and dinner, one of the fellows, a British soldier, started talking about his home. I told you, didn't I, that here in this hospital there
art' fellows from England. Russia and the good ole U.S.A. ? If I didn't. I meant to do so. Well,
as I started to say, this fellow started talking about his home and how he would he glad to get
back to it again. This subject always attracts attention and it is one subject that all of us join in. Quite a number of us have been in two or three different countries and quite often we compare the
different ways of living with the way we lived before the war started. We also talk of the countries we hope to return to and the ways of living We hope to find. There is another fellow (white) here front U.S. and you could have knocked me out of my bed with a thermometer when he spoke my thought and ideas
about returning to the U.S. and finding it much improved. We often talk of what we are fighting
for, and believe it or not, Dot, he
is fighting for the same principles that I am, and he expects to find the same things In America
when we return as I do. Did I ever tell you, Dot, just what I hope to find when I get back home? Well, there is no better time than the present to do it.
When I come home, I want to find cities like this one: Let us call it the city of WELCOME, Illinois. Here we no longer find the town divided into two sections, one section for the Negroes and the other section for the
Whites, instead, we find in every block and section Negroes and Whites living side by side and
getting along like one big happy family. In Hotel Equality, we find Negroes, Chinese, Japanese,
Jews, Whites, and Germans living—they, too, get along like one big happy family. Right across the street front Hotel Equality we find Cafe La Ruse and inside the customers are of all races. Why, at one table we see a Negro and a Jew, and at the sante table we
see two other people, both are white. No, the four people evidentally did not enter the place
together because first the Jew left and then the Negro. The waiters and waitresses? Oh, they
are Negroes and white girls, Sure, they're working side by side. After all, this is a democratic country.
On Main street we find a large school, the Welcome Community High school. The students are coming out because, it is noon time. As we watch them we see
a group of girls coming out of the right exit. No, they aren't all of one race, to tell the truth, there
are German, Russian, Chinese and Negro girls in the group. We see a Negro boy and a White boy coming out band in hand, too, The teachers in the system?
Oh, the teachers in this school are front the White, Negro, and Jewish race. Their salaries ars
equal and so is the equipment they use in their rooms.
On Fifth avenue is the Midwest theater. As the people enter the theater, we see that a Negro takes the first floor along with his White brothers. No, they
don't have to sit in the balcony behind a rod, they are allowed to sit in any section of the theater they so desire. That fact is evident, for in every section of the theater you can see a Negro. This holds true for the busses and trains that enter this town,
too. There is no segregation and prejudice.
Just a few minutes ago there was an accident on Green street, so let us go to the hospital. There
we see the patient being taken intO the hospital room and the nurse that is undressing him is
a Jew Another nurse is a Negro, In the operating room We find a White doctor and his assistant is a Negro. In this Hospital we see many races as doctors and nurses.
Last, but not least, comes the recrteation halls. The halls are open to people of all races and all of them are treated alike. There is nothing so strange about
that group of boys and girls playing ping pong, nor is there anything strange about that Negro girl playing checkers with that White girl.
That, my dear Dot, is the America I hope that I'll be able to return to. That, too, is the America that the White soldier that I mentioned to you hopes to return to. He said so before I said one thing about home. I use to think that we Negroes were the only people who dreamed and hoped for such a thing in America, but we aren't, Dotty.
Well, I've written just about all that I can write today. It's rather hard to write very long
when you're flat of your back. Be sweet, Dot, and won't you encourage more of your pals to
write to the guys here? The fellows really enjoy getting letters from the kids even though they
don't know them. Bill says "Hello". Love,
Now, that you have read Alvin's letter, you are probably thinking many things. Well, what
are WE going to do about. these things that are so prominent in the minds of those two soldiers
who were wishing for the same thing—the same kind of America to return to? Are WE going to continue segregation? Are WE going to see discrimination in
process and not complain or try to put an end to it? Are WE going to continue to show our prejudices toward people of other races and give the people in the
other countries a chance to ask after the war is over: "What did you acconiphish during World War II?" Are WE going to sit and to stand by and see the fight
for the Four Freedoms, the fight for a better and democratic America go to waste, or are WE
going to do something to help America become more democratic—the land of freedom and equality?
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