Letters from the Field
Lorena Hickok Reports on the State of the Nation
From Lorena Hickok
To Eleanor Roosevelt
Florence, Alabama Wednesday, June 6 
. . . Today has been strenuous. A field representative of the Tennessee relief administration came down with us, and this morning a field representative of the Alabama administration and the Alabama state transient director joined us.
We spent the morning in conference, took a quick look at the transient setup--thousands came here looking for work, you see, and present quite a problem--and spent the afternoon looking over Muscle Shoals--Wilson dam and power house, Wheeler dam, the houses they are building there for the engineers and their families, the construction camp, and so on. It's all on such a huge scale! But darned interesting. Always in the background, though, is this dreadful relief business-- dull, hopeless, deadening. God--when are we going to get out of it? As nearly as I can figure it out, most of the relief families in Tennessee are rural, living on sub-marginal or marginal land. What are we going to do with them? And, so low are their standards of living, that, once on relief, low as it is, they want to stay there the rest of their lives. Gosh! TVA is now employing some 9,500 people. But it doesn't even make a dent! . . .