Document 33: Emmy Jenkins to Margaret Sanger, 5 January 1934, Reel 32, Papers of Margaret Sanger, 1900-1966, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
Social worker Emmy Jenkins wrote this letter in response to one from Sanger the previous day informing her that a lack of funding prevented Sanger from renewing her contract at her 1933 salary. Unable to support herself on the reduced salary Sanger was able to offer, Jenkins decided to leave the clinic. The letter thanks Sanger and reiterates Jenkins's support for birth control (see Document 22, Document 27, and Document 31 for Jenkins's tenure at the clinic). It provides an example of an African American advocate's views on birth control as a cause. The exchange of letters suggests that Sanger's reluctance to hire African American staff members may have had more to do with funding constraints than anything else.
226 West 150
New York City, N. Y.
February 1, 1934
Mrs. Margaret Sanger, Director,
Birth Control Clinical Research Bureau
1343 H. Street, N. W.
Washington, D. C.
Dear Mrs Sanger:
I have been considering very carefully your letter of January 5, 1934. I wish so much that I could comply with its terms, but I really will not be able to do so.
I can fully appreciate the fact that the raising of funds is increasingly difficult, and also that Harlem is not actually paying for itself yet. We who are closest to this community problem believe that there will soon be more general cooperation from the community at large, as well as from the welfare and other agencies
I had a conference yesterday which seems to give promise of a position with the Emergency Home Relief Bureau, in the immediate future, perhaps by February 15. This offers me much more security than working on a month to month basis; also the salary is commensurate with my responsibilities. I must consider both these just now.
When I leave, I shall continue an active interest and participation in the work of the Harlem Branch, if this meets with your approval. You see, Birth Control has not been simply a job with me. If it were at all possible, I would remain on at a sacrifice, or even volunteer my services on a full-time basis, for my people need it so.
I am glad that you are pleased with the job which I have done in Harlem. I do feel that some very important foundation work has been done. You may feel free to call upon me at any time.
Very sincerely yours,
[Signed] Emmy D. Jenkins
[Sanger's handwritten response at bottom of letter for secretary to type up:] Sorry you cannot see your way to remain but I appreciate your position perfectly. I wish you the best success in your new position.
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