SEPTEMBER 17, 1953
NEW YORK, Wednesday—A rather interesting little booklet was sent to me not long ago written by Walter L. Blair. He says that he came here from the West Indies 34 years ago and has lived in New York City continuously ever since. He was surprised by many things he found here, particularly in Harlem where he went to live. The idea that people of African descent must all live in this rather restricted area seemed to him a strange phenomenon and then he was surprised by the fact that there was often a lack of good feeling among American Negroes and those who came from the West Indies.
He soon found that there were others from many parts of the world who were also of African descent and could not understand why they could not develop unity amongst themselves. Later he met people who helped the colored people get together and better their conditions and who created greater friendliness among them.
He now has the feeling that "a new day may be dawning for our nation, and for the world, in having a leader of outstanding prominence who feels the need of prayer, a leader who follows the principles of love and justice laid down by our Creator, who is more worthy of my confidence than the leader of a nation and a people who feel that their leader is supreme and God is not needed in the direction of their affairs."
In these few words this member of the African race has stated his reasons for not believing in Communism as practiced in the Soviet Union today. I think there are many Negroes in this country who because of their deep religious sense are opposed to all Communist propaganda, but I think all of us should remember that regardless of where people come from, those of African descent who live among us want an opportunity to be treated as equals.
This comes out in the last paragraph of this little pamphlet when the writer quotes the words uttered by President Eisenhower: "Any man who seeks to deny equality to all his brothers betrays the spirit of the free, and invites the mockery of the tyrant." Mr. Blair goes on to say himself: "Those words are not meaningless. They are significant to the cause of justice not only in our country but throughout the entire universe. Let us put them into practice, then when that is done the pathway will be clear to travel the way of leadership, honesty, and service with a conscience clear that we are worthy of the task assigned to us by Almighty God."
In this last paragraph Mr. Blair has given us a challenge as regards our leadership in the world and I think we should think of it seriously.
(WORLD COPYRIGHT, 1953, BY UNITED FEATURE SYNDICATE, INC. REPRODUCTION IN WHOLE OR IN PART PROHIBITED.)
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About this document
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, September 17, 1953
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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