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


NEW YORK, Friday—In Providence, R.I., Thursday morning I awoke to the most beautiful snowstorm. It was not exactly auspicious, however, for I had a long drive to Kingston and my flight home ahead of me. The roads, though, were pretty well cleared, but my flight was cancelled and I came home by train.

I am very happy to have been presented an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws from the University of Rhode Island, and I was reminded that my last visit was in 1938 when they dedicated the building which bears my name. It is now very much lived in and I was glad to meet some of the girls who are residents there and are getting their education in this university. Like Cornell in New York, this state university has a noted agricultural college and we ate the most delicious ice cream made in their dairy laboratory.

President and Mrs. Carl R. Woodward were more than kind and Mr. and Mrs. Foster Hunt, who were my hosts for the night, gave me a most delightful evening.

I see that Russia has broken off relations with Israel. I suppose this should be no surprise, and yet I am sorry to see this nation, which talks so much about wanting peace, encourage war.

Quite obviously, this is a play for Arab following and sympathy. Russia feels that if she becomes the enemy of Israel she will automatically garner all the Arab votes to her side. Among the Arabs there are some very astute politicians, but they may think that they will get more out of the U.S., Great Britain and France if they seem to be leaning toward the Soviets. I hope they will realize that whatever the attitude of the U.S. may be, they are not likely ever to be taken over, lock, stock and barrel by us because we are not interested in so doing.

There is every chance, however, that someday it may be to the interest of the Soviets to give these countries the same kind of freedom that is enjoyed by Czechoslovakia, Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria and Roumania. They are all astute enough in these countries to weigh this carefully, so we will wait and see just what effect the break with Israel will have on them.

It seems to me a sorry commentary on our country that a local fraternity in a college should have to lose its national standing because it has pledged an American citizen whose race or religion bars him because of a by-law of the national fraternity that restricts members to "men of white and full Ayran blood." This happened at Williams College in Williamstown, Mass.

That little restrictive clause could have been written by Hitler in Nazi Germany. Also, this restrictive clause could be written today in communist Russia.

What is happening to us? Haven't we waked up to the fact that we are the leading democracy in the world and we must live up to democratic principles?

For the moment I am not talking about our form of government. I know we are a representative republic, but I am talking about the basic ideals for which the free democracies of the world stand. I am glad that the younger people of our nation seem more courageous about it than the older ones. I am quite sure that we are going to have to fight this fight many times over, but I am glad that our young people are facing it and fighting it now.

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • New York (N.Y., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, February 14, 1953

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
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.