Discussing "Blackboard Jungle," Berman writes a substantial letter addressing racial tensions of the mid 1950s. He also discussesthe quality of his own films. To Kathryn Buchman. In part, "Sweetheart, about your line 'it would be sad, especially now with all the racial problems at their peak, to think only in terms of violence' Do you really think that violence is what we are thinking about. It is the last thing on our minds. We have eliminated 98% of the violence from the book. Our greatest desire…from the inception of this project…has been to further the cause of the black in the world. We felt we had done a good job of this in "Blackboard" and I have felt it about others of my films often. For example on my wall is hanging a citation given to me by a negro organization (in 1945) which reads as follows "The Interracial Film and Radio Guild proudly presents this unity scroll to PSB for his outstanding contribution to universal understanding thru the medium of motion pictures by production of the film Dragon Seed". I have never stopped trying to do some good in my limited way…Out of 98 pictures I have made I can only say that I would again make 34 of them…the other 64 were average or poor; half making a profit - the other half not so. But in the 34 that I should have made lies my life's work and I have always believed that without the mistakes I wouldn't necessarily have made the good ones. In other words if you don't take a chance with fate you may avoid a Pastel Pen but you may also avoid a Winterset, Alice Adams, Of Human Bondage, etc. which are at my best darling, the importance of casting and direction and playing. We have an opportunity to move people and achieve qualities with personality and mood, which does not come thru on a printed page. I wonder what would have been your reaction to some of the things you liked if you had not seen them played by men & women of talent. Be optimistic even while you are being constructive. Nothing is ever bad until it is finished….Perhaps you are not entirely right in regard to what are the problems of an industry desperate for material; that must be commercial as well as artistic...." He signs, "Forever yours Pan."
Blackboard refers to his film "Blackboard Jungle" (1955) In December, 1955, Rosa Parks sparked the Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott by refusing to sit in the black rear section of public buses. The boycott aimed to integrate public busses. Racial tensions in the US continued for the remainder of the 1950's reaching a peak in 1968 with the assassinatin of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. A fine letter connecting film making and race relations.