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

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HYDE PARK, Wednesday—It is interesting to note that the three groups covered by a "Group Areas Bill" introduced in the South African Legislature by the Minister of Interior, Dr. Theopilus E. Donges, are the whites, the African Negroes, the Indians and other colored groups. This bill "makes provision for the establishment of separate areas for different racial groups by compulsion if necessary. The areas are not defined in the bill, it simply sets up machinery for the future demarcation of these areas. Since neither the African Negroes, nor the Indians or any of the colored groups have direct representation in the parliament, though they do have white representation, it would seem probable that the desires of the whites would be more clearly expressed than those of the other groups.

It is, of course, not fitting for one country to interfere with another country's internal policies, but, I think it is interesting to note that the Communist party will join with the colored groups in the day of mourning. As the colored groups carry on much of the work in all areas, it is hard to see how this segregation will affect contacts except in so far as the ownership of land may go. A day of mourning will, of course, interfere with the machinery which runs their economic life, so everyone will be well informed as to the reactions of the people chiefly concerned. It is hard for us to realize how much the Communists continually strive to divide people one from another. They are really pleased when these divisions occur. It gives them a chance to say: "In Communist countries all human beings are treated as equals," and people are left to draw their own conclusions as to the customs in democracies.

We are still far from a world in which "all men are brothers" and no matter where we may live we seem to learn certain lessons rather slowly.

It took us a long time in this country after World War I to learn that the high price of wheat induced farmers in the Middle West to cut down what trees they had and use all the extra space possible for raising wheat. This resulted in the disappearance of all windbreaks, which in turn, led to the blowing off of top soil and creating a desert strip from Canada to the Gulf in our plain country. Shelter belt planting saved us, but now I see that a nine months drought in the Southwest has brought about the threat of another Dust Bowl. The reasons given are the following: one, the high price of wheat and other crops; two, the breaking out of new lands, mostly land unsuited for cultivation; three, the plowing of marginal land, poor crop lands that should be used sparingly and with the best of conservation practice; four, the lack of sufficient stalks, straw and root crop residues left after harvesting help to hold the soil together and keep it from blowing when the ground is bare. When will we learn conservation in this rich country of ours which we keep on exploiting?

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Dönges, T. E. (Theophilus Ebenhaezer), 1898-1968 [ index ]
         Minister of Interior of South Africa
         [ LC | VIAF | Wikidata | FAST ]
  • Hyde Park (Dutchess County, N.Y., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, June 1, 1950

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
[ ERPP bio | LC | VIAF | WorldCat | DPLA | Wikidata | SNAC ]

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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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.