Report of Mrs. Dave H. Morris to Executive Committee War Work Council, October 30, 1917. Thursday night, October 18, Mrs. William Adams Brown and I left New York "under orders," to take part in Southern Conferences organized to start our nation-wide finance effort in the Southeastern states, and to study conditions at firsthand. As a result of our trip, the two things that stand out most vividly in my mind are a few personal words and a picture of locked arms. The words were from one of our truest war work organizers. I shall long remember her face as she said to me conversationally, as simply as if I were telling you that I could not get along without my daily bread, "if it weren't for Him, I could not get through." Without a vacation since June 1915, on the road much of the time, with often not more than four or five hours sleep, organizing new associations near camps among women without any previous association knowledge, creating something out of nothing, conducting girls' meetings, organizing conferences, investigating contractors and furniture dealers for hostess houses, chosing [sic] sites for new centers, conducting training center courses, - because she is never "without Him," she is serent [sic], adaptable, well poised and not broken down. No wonder that one person after another said to me, "I just adore her," And she is only one of many. Our headquarters and field secretaries are laboring under the same pressure and working with the same serenity and capacity, - because knowing as never before 'without Him we could not get through."
The picture of locked arms was given me at Petersburg, near where is situated Camp Lee, with a capacity of 47,000 soldiers. Petersburg has been called the Verdun of the Civil War and everyone is still feeling poor. In 1914 it had a population of 25,000 - 12,000 white people and 13,000 negroes. Then a Dupont munition plant was started which brought a new population of 10,000, many of them foreigners. This new population was not yet assimilated when Camp Lee was built. Last spring, on request, we sent one of our workers to Petersburg. On investigation, she found not one agency working for girls. The only women's social work consisted of a "King's Daughters," which did not reach beyond a small circle of fine girls who needed no protection, and one visiting nurse, who came in contact only with sick people. There was no woman protective agent, not even a woman jailer. Work for colored girls as well as white, was urgently needed. Nothing could be financed locally until interest was aroused. I believe we appropriated $600 for starting the work in Petersburg. Now there is a flourishing Y.W.C.A. run and financed by a body of the strongest women in Petersburg, all filled with enthusiasm, and devoted to their new interest. Hundreds of girls are being reached. It looks as if there would not be many repetitions of the bitter saying, at the beginning of our work, of one girl to our secretary: "Well, you've come too late to save me." The girls are busy in all sorts of patriotic service. One form received with great enthusiasm, was the hemming and putting up of little scrim curtains in one of the Y.M.C.A. huts in camp. Now the Y.M.C.A. has asked the Y.W.C.A. girls