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


NEW YORK, Monday—During the past week a case came before the Supreme Court of the United States affecting segregation on the grammar-school level. Thurgood Marshall presented the case against segregation; John W. Davis represented the side for equal but separate facilities. It has always seemed to me that there could be separate facilities, and technically they might offer the same opportunities for both colored and white. But the mere fact of segregation, which is not a voluntary act but an imposed one, makes equality impossible.

Some people rise above segregation but, by and large, it conditions most of them to a different approach to life.

There probably won't be a decision on this case for some time, but when it is handed down it will be a momentous one. If the court sanctions segregation, then the fight for equality among the races will receive a setback not only in this country but throughout the world. It follows, then, that our leadership in the areas of the world where people are colored will be weakened. On the other hand, if the decision is that segregation in this country must come to an end, I think we will move forward a long way, both at home and abroad, in our battle to lead the world spiritually and morally.

It is said that not only Gov. James S. Byrnes of South Carolina but others have made plans to close their public schools and do it in a way that would make it possible for the schools to reopen as private schools. How this juggling is to be done I do not know, but I am told it has been planned.

I cannot, however, believe that any part of this country will cease to be law-abiding. We have come a long way since Civil War days and we are much more mature. Even though we may not like certain policies, we have learned to grit our teeth and bear them and gradually grow accustomed to them.

That is what I expect to see happen in the North and the South in the long run. It will make a great difference so far as we all are concerned because just as long as there is segregation there are people among us who are not completely emancipated.

The sermon yesterday in our church dealt with the secularizing influence that has affected our Christmas. The minister told us that we must not forget the first six letters, which gave us the key to the significance of this season.

We give our presents in honor of the Christ Child, and if we do not teach our children that this is the season of joy because of the birth of the Christ Child, we have left out the most significant thing that brings joy to this Christmas season.

The story of good St. Nicholas was built on to give more reason for the children's pleasures, but we should never allow these pleasures to separate us from the beautiful story at Christmas. In every way possible we should remind our children of this religious significance.



Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Byrnes, James F. (James Francis), 1882-1972 [ index ]
         American Supreme Court Justice, Sec of State
         [ ERPP bio | LC | VIAF | Wikidata | SNAC ]
  • Davis, John W., 1873-1955 [ index ]
         American lawyer, politician, and diplomat; United States Solicitor General and Democratic nominee for President of the United States in 1924
  • Marshall, Thurgood, 1908-1993 [ index ]
         American lawyer; US Supreme Court Justice
         [ LC | ISNI | VIAF | Wikidata | SNAC | FAST | US Nat. Archives | ANB ]
  • New York (N.Y., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, December 16, 1952

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

  • Brick, Christopher (Editor)
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  • Regenhardt, Christy (Associate Editor)
    [ ISNI ]
  • Black, Allida M. (Editor)
    [ VIAF | ISNI ]
  • Binker, Mary Jo (Associate Editor)
    [ VIAF | ORCID ]
  • Alhambra, Christopher C. (Electronic Text Editor)
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Digital edition published 2008, 2017 by
The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project

Available under licence from the Estate of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.

Published with permission from the Estate of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.

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.