The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers, Digital Edition > My Day
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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NEW YORK, Friday—I have two letters from England this morning. I am going to quote them because they show two such different points of view, both of which are very interesting. Of course, all of us in both countries are deeply concerned with establishing a real peace eventually. One letter is written by a man who evidently went through the last war and must have suffered, for he is now an invalid. He poses this question:

"If a great power who depends for her life blood on industry and commerce, refuses to accept real responsibility in defense of decency in international affairs, how can she possibly help when matters may have been allowed to go too far as they may well do?"

The other is from a woman, and she says: "A very beloved brother was killed fighting in 1915. He said: `I don't mind if my life may help put an end to war.' Now I feel his life was given in vain, for the peace treaties made further wars inevitable since they were not revised. Therefore, I take the liberty of writing to implore you to use all your influence to keep America out of war, so that there may be some sane neutrals to help toward a world settlement as just as is possible."

I cannot help passing these two letters along to you, for I know our primary concern today is how we can eventually bring the world to greater security and peace.

Yesterday I went to the luncheon given by two of the societies taking part in the Prison Congress, which is meeting here. At our places at the table were little printed slips bearing the following message:

"My brother the criminal, I love him. The beggar, also my brother, I love him. The cripple, the poor, the unfortunate and the fortunate, are all my brothers. I can not separate myself from humanity, I am a human being, I belong to the human family and until the least of these are free, whole, perfect—I can not be so either.

"The criminal, what is his crime? Unwelcomed, unwanted, underprivileged through all his life, till the doors of the prison close upon him, and even there he is unwelcomed, unwanted, underprivileged.

"The beggar, the cripple, the poor, why are they so? Because you do not care— and because I do not care. Make the world safe for HUMANITY,—and BE your brother's keeper."

I had an opportunity of talking with the New York City Commissioner of Correction, Mr. Austin MacCormick, and the head of prison work in England, Colonel Patterson. They have a much less complicated problem over there. He told me an astounding thing about the number of prison visitors who give one night out of every week to visit five or six men in prison who are assigned to them. These prison visitors follow through with these men after they are released.

We are on our way today, with members of the Prison Congress, to the guard exhibition at Sing Sing prison.



Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • New York (N.Y., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, October 21, 1939

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
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Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University 312 Academic Building 2100 Foxhall Road, NW Washington, DC 20007

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Transcription created from a photocopy of a UFS wire copy of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.