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

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NEW YORK, Tuesday—The Supreme Court has handed down a momentous decision. It has told the realty people that no court in this country can uphold a restrictive covenant which prevents anyone from living in a house or on land which he has bought. In other words, it is legal for people to make such private covenants, but when they are taken into court by someone who is being prevented from occupying a house he has bought, the court must uphold the constitutional right of human beings, regardless of race or color, to live on property they have bought.

This having been decided by the Supreme Court, such covenants will become less and less frequent because they will be harder and harder to carry out. I think we have taken a big step forward in assuring democratic rights in this country.

* * *

I grieve, however, that anyone could be stupid enough, in any part of our country, to arrest the Vice-Presidential candidate of a recognized party because, on his way to speak to citizens of the United States, he tried to go through a door which was marked as the entrance for people of color. It seems to me completely incredible that, in a State where colored people are allowed to enlist and go to war and be killed for their country, there should exist anything so senseless as a rule which forces human beings to enter through separate doors according to their color.

It is fundamentally un-Christian and wrong, but aside from that, it is politically stupid. Those in the South who were responsible for the arrest of Sen. Glen Taylor may not want Henry Wallace to win many votes but, by such tactics, they are assuring that he and his party will be looked upon as martyrs. This will roll up a protest vote against such customs and laws.

* * *

On a plane the other day, a man sent me a note saying: "I am on my way to West Virginia to work for Mr. Wallace. I know you are against him, but I cannot believe that you would condone the unfair, restrictive measures which are being used against him." I inquired what these were and was told that government employees, such as sheriffs and state police, were threatening people who attended meetings for Mr. Wallace, and that other types of intimidation were very common—such as were once used against labor organizers. This, again, is stupid politics. It will win more votes for Mr. Wallace than he can ever win for himself because it is undemocratic and un-American.

I believe in defending democracy by preserving democracy, not by descending to the use of the same weapons used in dictatorships, whether of the Nazi or Communist stripe. A police state is abhorrent to the people of the United States. I remember many a trick used in the course of the campaigns in which my husband was a candidate but I never knew the time when threats and intimidation really carried the day.

E. R.


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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, May 5, 1948

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.