FEBRUARY 12, 1951
HYDE PARK, Sunday—Lincoln's Birthday is one of my favorite holidays, for it seems to me that Lincoln as a man and as a leader had so many of the qualities that are particularly needed in our country and particularly admired when we find them in any of our public men. One of my favorite spots in Washington is the Lincoln Memorial, and I often think, as I look at the great statue which must inspire so many people, how much we owe to the artist who conceived and carried out that memorial. Primarily, monuments are important because they attract our attention and remind us of the things which great men did and which must not be forgotten if our nation is to continue great.
Lincoln took the first steps in wiping out slavery in our country. We haven't even now finished the task which he began. But he charted the way, and slowly we follow in his footsteps until someday we will achieve the real equality of all men which he envisaged and fought for.
On the 19th of next week we begin to celebrate in this country what is called "Brotherhood Week." I think perhaps it is one of the most important weeks in the year not only because of its national aspects, but because of its international significance. We have to learn to get on with all the people who make up our own country, to think of them as brothers and treat them as equals before we can hope to succeed in our desire to bring about peace and confidence in the world as a whole.
On February 16 I have been asked to attend a dinner in Chicago initiated and sponsored by Chicago's Negro community. It is given as a "Salute to Roosevelt College" and to its president, Dr. Edward J. Sparling, because in actuality the college practices brotherhood the year round and has set a pattern of equal educational opportunities, regardless of race, creed or color.
There are 5000 students at Roosevelt College, housed in Chicago's historic Auditorium Building on Michigan Avenue. No applying student is asked any questions bearing on race or origin. The records of the college do not show how many Negroes, how many Jews, how many Nisei or how many whites attend the college, nor do the records show what their religions are. Roosevelt College has simply pioneered courageously and without compromise in the field laid out by the President's Commission on Higher Education for all colleges: "Colleges have a unique opportunity to offer an experience in tolerance and understanding which grows out of democratic relations with students from various national and religious backgrounds. Colleges should become laboratories of inter-race and inter-fellowship."