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

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NEW YORK, Thursday—On Tuesday I left Lake Success a little before one o'clock and motored into New York City for the celebration in the Yankee Stadium in honor of Mary Margaret McBride and her 15th anniversary on the air. It seemed a mad dash into town, but I ate a sandwich on the way in the car and listened to the nice things which people were saying about Mary Margaret. It must be gratifying when you have been on the air for quite a while, and know how easy it would be to make enemies, to find that you have made so many friends! Her radio program is so informal that after a broadcast her listeners feel they really have had a chat with her.

Wednesday afternoon I was rather late but I managed to arrive at The Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in time to spend an hour at a delightful tea given by McCall's in my honor. It is hard to explain why I cannot leave Lake Success, for, of course, the vice chairman of the Human Rights Commission can preside. My difficulty lies in the fact that only I can cast a vote for the United States, so if we are voting I must be present.

I reached home in time to welcome a few young people for dinner and then went over at 9:40 to a meeting of the Southern Education Foundation held at Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Sonnenberg's home on Gramercy Park South.

Judge J. Waties Waring, the courageous jurist from Charleston, S.C., who has done so much to give the Negroes from that state the right to vote, was the speaker of the evening. He made a plea to the people who live in the North and who originally came from the South to come back and help those who live there.

Judge Waring said slavery cannot be perpetuated under the name of segregation, nor can the old spirit of secession be revised under the guise of states' rights. The South must awaken to its responsibilities in the world as a whole, he said, and realize that racial prejudice can seriously harm the United States as the leading democracy of the world. These were inspiring thoughts to hear from the lips of a Southern gentleman.

I have always felt that we, as Northerners, could do more harm than good by interfering in the South, and I am not convinced even now that there is much we can do beyond giving our money. But when people such as Judge Waring, Mrs. Tilly of Georgia and Aubrey Williams urge some of us to come down and speak, it impresses me. I begin to think I may be wrong in my feeling that the people of the South will resent the presence of us who do not live there but only come to talk of our ideas. I have always felt I had a certain right to speak because my Grandmother Roosevelt came from Georgia. Of late, however, I have been rather quiet about it, fearing that I might really make trouble for those who are hoping for help.

E. R.


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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, June 3, 1949

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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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.