OCTOBER 24, 1951
NEW YORK, Tuesday—The last few days I have been attending a number of events to commemorate United Nations Week.
First, there was the church service held Sunday afternoon at the Christ Church Methodist, here. It was very well attended and I thought it was an impressive service.
Monday at noon, as Ben Grauer, master of ceremonies, put it, there was held an intimate and family ceremony in Rockefeller Center overlooking the skating rink. To my surprise the crowds, which usually watch the skating, stayed to take part and listen to the speeches. Children from 22 nations, some of them in costume, recited the Preamble of the Charter of the United Nations. Douglas Fairbanks, Herman W. Steinkraus, who is chairman of U.N. week, and I spoke very briefly. Then Dorothy Sarnoff sang "Getting to Know You" from "The King and I" most charmingly, and it certainly was an appropriate song for U.N. week, which is observed to promote better understanding.
The First Army band played and a young man with a very good voice sang. At the very beginning before the ceremonies started, a new song, "Hail to the United Nations," was sung, which I think will become better known as it seemed to have a swing that might catch the public fancy.
After lunch, with John Golden, I met the youngsters from the high schools of New York City who had written the best essays on "Why I am for the United Nations." It is really hard to choose who shall get the first prize among these top essays. All of them are so good.
At 5 o'clock a number of people were kind enough to come in to tea with me to see a new colored doll, made by the Ideal Toy Corporation.
Miss Maxeda von Hesse and Miss Sarah Lee Creech, both Southerners by birth, conceived the idea that a really beautiful colored doll would give joy to the colored children and add to their self-respect. The white child in finding herself unconsciously choosing a doll without any regard to color will forget discrimination. Certainly, any child would love one of these baby dolls. They have the loveliest expressions and are beautifully made.
I have waited until I could bear the whole story to mention the episode that recently took place at the Stork Club in which Miss Josephine Baker and two friends were treated so rudely.
This type of discrimination, carried on under the eye of the proprietor who sat at a table just behind the one Miss Baker was sitting at, seems to me very shortsighted.
I should think the patrons would be very uncomfortable when they realize that only last year one of the delegates to the U.N. from India, who happens to be dark-skinned, was treated with equal discourtesy.
This is no longer a matter of domestic concern. This is a matter that affects our world position. Discrimination makes more enemies for us in Asia than almost any other one thing.
Few people around the country may know about either of these incidents or think much about them, but in the countries of the Near East and Asia, where we need friends today, they will be widely known and have unfortunate repercussions.
This is a very heavy responsibility for us all.
(WORLD COPYRIGHT, 1951, BY UNITED FEATURE SYNDICATE, INC. REPRODUCTION IN WHOLE OR IN PART PROHIBITED.)
Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced
- [ index ] New York (N.Y., United States)
About this document
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, October 24, 1951
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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