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


HYDE PARK, Tuesday—It is indeed a relief to find that the Civil Aeronautics Administration has had the courage to ban racial segregation at the Washington National Airport. This is a very substantial step forward in the fight that must be waged to bring our national capital into line with what must be government policy and what is now international policy.

I have always felt that there would come a time in this country when we would realize that all citizens must be treated alike, have complete equality before the law, equal and unsegregated opportunities for education, for training of any kind and for jobs at the end of that training. Also, it seems to me entirely fair that in such things as are available to citizens generally, there should be no discrimination or segregation.

It is obvious that this has nothing to do with what you or I may choose to do in our own homes. That remains the domain in which an individual retains personal control. Also, laws against intermarriage seem to be an invasion of personal liberty, just as it seems impossible to legislate on what an individual should or should not do in his own home.

Where the public is generally admitted, there everyone should have equal rights, but one's home remains, according to the old English tradition, a man's castle. One must also control one's own decisions as to personal conduct and association.

* * *

We are going to be concerned more and more, because of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, with these questions of the rights of citizens and individuals. And I think it would be well for us all to begin to analyze our own attitudes and think them over very carefully in the light of being a part of a world that has grown much smaller and, therefore, forces us to rub elbows with peoples of many other nations.

It is well for us, the white peoples of the world, to consider the fact that we are a small minority in comparison with the colored races. In certain areas we have attained great technical proficiency; we have gone ahead scientifically and materially. We have a sense of self-sufficiency and, in some regions, of superiority.

As a matter of fact, however, there are many other areas of the world in which other peoples feel that they have gone far beyond our achievements in different and varied fields. When we come to religious differences, for instance, we find that the Christians of the world are less numerous by far than the Mohammedans. And now that we must meet and work together, it is high time that we developed respect for other peoples' ways of doing things and an acceptance of a way of life that will make it possible to live in the same world without friction and with mutual self-respect.

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Hyde Park (Dutchess County, N.Y., United States) [ index ]
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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, December 29, 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
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Available under licence from the Estate of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.

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MEP edition publlished on June 30, 2008.

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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.