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


HYDE PARK, Monday—I am constantly being asked by people how they can help to make this world "one world," and I am constantly answering that, as far as I know, there is only one way that we, as individuals, can help. That is by doing all we can in our own communities, first to create good feeling amongst all our neighbors, and secondly to work with all of them to make our communities strong, well-governed entities, since a state or a nation can only be as united and as strong as each individual community can make it.

Two organized activities which seem to help in this direction have come to my attention lately.

One of them is the work of the United Urban League Service Fund. An appeal for this fund is made yearly on behalf of the National Urban League and the Urban League of Greater New York. The National League has 54 affiliate offices situated in strategic communities throughout the nation and, during the last 35 years, it has worked to maintain the machinery for removing race prejudice as it affects the Negroes.

* * *

I think the two most effective organizations in this field, working in slightly different ways, are the Urban League and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Both groups are doing a valuable service in a field which affects only one of our minorities. But every time we strike a blow for one minority, we strike it for them all, since there is one great thing which we must learn—that humanity is all one.

John Donne, the 17th century English poet, expressed it better than anyone I know when he said: "No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own were; any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee."

* * *

The second practical thing which has come to my attention in this connection is the police-training bulletin from the California Department of Justice. The general direction of the police courses to improve race relations has been under Robert Kenny, the state Attorney General. Psychologically, the interesting thing that was done was to remind the police that they also suffer from majority prejudice on the part of millions of people who think that "all cops have flat feet and steal bananas off pushcarts."

California has several minority groups with which her police have to deal wisely to avoid trouble. I suppose that is what has led to this practical effort at training and understanding. Here is one little quotation to show how well that is done: "Police officers will see an analogy between the immigrant Negro (from the South) testing his new freedom and a new policeman vested with authority for the first time in his life."

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Donne, John, 1572-1631 [ index ]
         English poet
         [ LC | VIAF | Wikidata | SNAC ]
  • Kenny, Robert W. (Robert Walker), 1901-1976 [ index ]
         California politician and attorney general
         [ LC | VIAF | Wikidata | SNAC ]
  • Hyde Park (Dutchess County, N.Y., United States) [ index ]
Other Terms and Topics

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, June 18, 1946

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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Digital edition published 2008, 2017 by
The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project

Available under licence from the Estate of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.

Published with permission from the Estate of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.

MEP edition publlished on June 30, 2008.

TEI-P5 edition published on April 28, 2017.

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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.