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STATEMENT OF DR. JOY ELMER MORGAN, PRESIDENT, SENIOR
CITIZENS OF AMERICA
Dr. MORGAN. Senator, I have a statement here which I have prepared for the record which gives an account of the origin, organization, and work of Senior Citizens of America.
Senator McNAMARA. It will be made a part of the record at this point.
(The statement referred to follows:)
PREPARED STATEMENT OF JOY ELMER MORGAN, PRESIDENT, SENIOR CITIZENS OF
AMERICA Senior Citizens of America is more than an organization. It is a philosophy of life and citizenship. In each issue of its monthly magazine Senior Citizen-it carries two quotations which express this philosophy:
"He most lives who thinks most, feels the noblest, acts the best" and the Senior Citizens prayer: "Heavenly Father, give us serenity to accept what cannot be changed ; courage to change what should be changed; and wisdom to know one from the other. Amen."
Everywhere we encounter the phrase "the problems of the aging” and we are inclined to think in terms of that fraction of our older population out of which problems arise. Would that we could get the emphasis away from “aging” to "living”; away from “problems” to “opportunities”; away from "getting" to "giving"; away from “money" to "higher motives"; away from “idling" to "serving"; away from "self" to "citizenship”; away from "fear” to “faith.”
The facts of the situation which we are here to consider are already well known to this committee :
That during the existence of our young Nation, life expectancy at birth has doubled from 35 years to more than 70.
That since 1900, while our population has doubled, the number of persons over 65 has quadrupled, that it now is more than 15 million and is increasing at the rate of about a thousand a day.
That during the first half of this century, life expectancy has increased from 48 years to more than 70 and is still going up, so that the active working life of adults has been virtually doubled in 50 years.
That during this same period the length of the workday, the workweek, the workyear, and the worklife has been steadily shortened, while production of farm and industrial products has steadily risen.
That even with immense expenditures of money and manpower for de fense and the manufacture of defense materials, our country is producing great surpluses of food and manufactured goods.
That the effects of automation on industrial output are only beginning to be felt and may be expected to increase in the future. These are not depressing facts. They are inspiring facts that should lift us to a new sense of adventure, perspective, purpose, and destiny-to a deeper love of country and a surer hope for mankind.
The situation in which we of this generation find ourselves is so new that we have much to learn-and I might add-to unlearn.
PERSONAL BACKGROUND OF WITNESS
I want to give you a little of my personal background because it is out of that and out of the corresponding period in the life of our Nation that this present work with Senior Citizens of America grows.
Your speaker was born in Nebraska on the margin of the cattle country. Orphaned in one of the early depressions, he was taken as an infant into the home of his grandparents.
He ran away when he was 14 and went on his own for an independent career which he has had ever since. He owes most of what he is to the free public schools and the great teachers who came into his life through the years. The first of them was Jennie Collins in district 46 in Franklin County, Nebr., who awakened his love of learning. Then in normal schooldays there was Herbert Brownell-father of the well-known Brownell brothers, Herbert and Sam. He was graduated from the Peru State Normal School and from the University of Nebraska. He came up through the free public schools as teacher, principal,
superintendent and eventually trained for librarianship. He intended to give the rest of his life to librarianship because it seemed to him that the most important part of education was to learn how to read and then to read.
He was director of camp libraries in Camp MacArthur during the World War I and after the war worked with the American Library Association in the development of its enlarged programs.
Then in 1920, the National Education Association voted to establish a division of publications and to start a journal for its members. He was urged to come to Washington to head that division and found the NEA Journal. His old friend, J. W. Crabtree, who had been president of the Peru Normal in his student days, was then NEA executive secretary—struggling with small means to build an organization to meet the growing educational needs of this country. During 34 years of service with the NEA he saw the NEA Journal grow from its small beginning to a circulation of more than 600,000 and the NEA become the largest publishing enterprise of its kind in the world.
During those 34 years, starting at a young age, he had the free run of this country. He was in every State in the Union meeting with various groupsteachers, parents, preachers, service clubs, bankers, lawyers, doctors, and business men and women. He served on the national board of the National Congress of Parents and Teachers for a period of years and—as a volunteer—was head of its division of publications. He built the Educational Press Association from a handful of members to several hundred.
In 1923 at San Francisco he handled public relations for the First World Conference on Education, out of which grew the World Federation of Education Associations—the forerunner of the World Confederation which is meeting here in Washington this week. He was one of the founders of the Horace Mann League and secretary of the Horace Mann centennial celebration in 1936–37. As an outgrowth of the Horace Mann centennial he founded Future Teachers of America which is now an active organization in thousands of high schools throughout the country.
In 1943 and 1944 he was director of the war and peace fund campaign which raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to help win the war and the peace. That campaign marked the turning point in NEA development.
In 1946 he developed and presented to the representative assembly of the National Education Association the victory action program which was adopted at its Buffalo convention.
In 1951 he developed and presented to the NEA representative assembly the centennial action program which reached its climax in the Philadelphia convention of 1957.
These many activities were made possible by the friendship and cooperation of thousands of the finest people to be found anywhere, and by the leadership of such men as J. W. Crabtree and Willard E. Givens, who followed Mr. Crabtree as executive secretary of the NEA.
Among his friends through the years were men and women in their 80's and 90's, and several over 100 who were still active, constructive citizens. He couldn't help comparing the usefulness of those older people who had kept active up into their 80's and 90's and 100's with others who were forced into retirement as the compulsory cutoff date of 65 came into vogue. He saw men in industry and in government and in colleges and schools cut off in the prime of life, often giving up, doing nothing_letting go to waste talent that should have had 10 or 15 or 20 years of useful service. That led him to think about the problems of the later years of life.
As he came nearer the chronological deadline of 65 himself, he faced a new problem. He had been completely absorbed in an enterprise that took every ounce of creative energy and time and thought that he could give. Now he faced the prospect of being cut off from that enterprise. So he decided that he was going to find something to do before that time came.
He began to look for the greatest need in American life. It is his conviction that one finds the greatest happiness by searching out the greatest need and then serving that need. He considered many possibilities, but the one need that stood out above all others was the need to do something about the changed situation which has arisen as the result of the gift of added years. He decided to spend the rest of his life without pay serving that need to see what could be done. Since most of his life had been spent in organization building, the most logical thing seemed to be to develop an organization of older citizens who would work on their own problems and the problems of the community.
As he began to prepare for his new responsibility, his first effort was an endeavor to see the situation in perspective. He gathered all the books he could find on the subject, most of them written within the past 5 or 10 years. As he studied this literature, it grew upon him that man's tenure on earth is a relatively recent thing. If one takes the age of the earth as represented by the Washington Monument, the age of man would be represented by a penny on top of that monument and the age of modern civilization would be but the thickness of a tissue paper. The human race is still young. Man is just beginning to be man.
Going back into history, they tell us that among primitive men the average lifespan was about 18 years—just long enough to fight and find a mate and leave offspring and survive. By the time of the classic age of Greece and Rome—while there were a few people who reached ripe old age disease and war cut most of them down; the average life expectancy at birth was then only 23 or 24 years. Between that day and the founding of our own country some 1,700 years later, the lifespan had increased to an average expectancy of only 35 years. Conditions in the young country were still primitive no roads in the sense that we know them today; no railroads or airplanes or steamships or automobiles; no telephones or radios or refrigerators or anything of that sort. People were still struggling to keep warm with their little fireplaces and to get along with their home industries.
ROLE OF EDUCATION
Then our free public schools began to develop. I want to comment on that development because it is the free public school and the growth of science, medicine, and industry which it made possible that has been the most powerful force making for longer life in this country. A few years ago I wrote a little book entitled “The School That Built a Nation" in which I traced the influence of universal education upon our national life.
Horace Mann is known as the father of our system of free public education. He died just 100 years ago on August 2—so in a sense we are now observing his centennial.
Washington, Jefferson, Franklin and others had seen the necessity of education in a free country where the voter is king. Washington proposed a national university. Franklin laid the foundation for what became the University of Pennsylvania, and Jefferson founded the University of Virginia. Jefferson had also written a plan for elementary and secondary school, but it had not been adopted. Horace Mann, who was then a member of the Massachusetts Senate, recoguized that someone had to do the practical job of building a system of common schools to educate citizens if the young Republic was to survive. He got a law through the Massachusetts Legislature in 1837 creating the first State board of education in the United States. How recently that is. Afer the law was passed, his associates in the legislature and others insisted that Horace Mann become the first secretary. They gave him $1,500 a year for salary, office and everything else. He gave up a lucrative practice of law and a career as a statesman to take the humble job of building schools in Massachusetts. He gave such an outstanding leadership that he became renowned all over this country, and in some measure all over the world. He issued a clarion call for free public schools. In his famous Fourth of July address in 1842 he exclaimed :
"Pour out light and truth, as God pours sunshine and rain. No longer seek knowledge as the luxury of the few, but dispense it amongst all as the bread of life. Summon the mightiest intellects, collect whatever of talent, or erudition, or eloquence, or authority the broad land can supply and go forth and teach this people. For in the name of the living God, it must be proclaimed that licentiousness shall be the liberty; and violence and chicanery shall be the law; and superstition and craft shall be the religion; and the self-destructive indulgence of all sensual and unhallowed passions shall be the only happiness of that people who neglect the education of their children.”
Because of this educational revival which Horace Mann led during the second quarter of the 19th century this country got a new start-a new start educationally, a new start politically, a new start economically. Horace Mann had put health education into the schools. Doctors were beginning to get a little more training than they had before. By the middle of the century, life expect. ancy had gone up to 40 years and the idea of required universal elementary education had become established.
business manager of Civic Education Service, pub
er and other publications, Washington, D.C. er, is assistant secretary of the National Education rofessional development and welfare. She is an outleader. president of the American University, noted educaTeader, Washington, D.C.
ircuit judge, U.S. court of appeals, Washington, D.C., ligious leader.
formerly Governor of Minnesota, is Judge, U.S. Disrict of Columbia, recognized national leader in legal,
wowth and development includes provision for State Whion of local groups of senior citizens throughout the
ate branch has been organized and there are some 30 The State branch is in South Carolina. SCA has State ost of the States and suitable persons are being sought es. The present list is as follows: D. Johnston, 2300 23d Avenue South, Birmingham. Smith, executive assistant to president, A.A. & M.C.,
Imes Ford, SC Service Center, 306 West Third St., Los
Lanham, 2344 Yale Boulevard, Springfield.
E. Davis, director DAE, Purdue University, Lafayette.
S. Robertson, 1115 Camelia Avenue, Baton Rouge.
Raymond C. Burdick, 12 Philips Road, Melrose.
L. Stringer, 3951 Council Circle, Jackson.
Mildred Lackey, 116 Church Street, Keyport.
Otis Mallory, principal, Springer High School, Springer.
B.G. Childs, 1019 West Markham Avenue, Durham.
Holmes, Camp White.
John Henry Jensen, 802 Eighth Avenue SE, Aberdeen.