My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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NEW YORK, Thursday—At an hour when the theatre people were through with their shows, I went at Katherine Cornell's invitation to see the movie of Helen Keller's life, which Miss Cornell narrated. It is a most moving and dramatic picture which will not be released for some time. I think, in fact, it will be running the end of May in the Guild Theatre.

If anything could compensate for the handicaps which Miss Keller has had to endure and conquer, it would certainly be the realization of the help she has been to others similarly afflicted. I have never seen anything as touching as the way the faces lighted up around her wherever she went, whether they were children in school or G.I.'s who, because of battle casualties, were forced to face a handicap for the rest of their lives.

I spoke this week at the luncheon of the New Jersey chapter of the American Jewish Congress. It was a disappointment to find that Judge Justine Polier had left the night before for Geneva and Israel but I was happy to know she was going to attend the opening of a youth center in Israel which will be dedicated to her mother's memory. I also said goodbye to Mr. Baratz who is returning to his home, Dagania, the oldest Israel Kibutz.

I also went to the United Nations building to speak to a group of young people from a school in Boston. They had toured the United Nations and were evidently well informed on questions dealing with foreign relations. They asked me such questions as, "Do you believe Prime Minister Nehru is really neutral?" They also wanted to know about the possibility of admitting communist China to the U.N. . These visits by schoolchildren to the U.N. , I think, are very stimulating to the studies that are being carried on by schools to keep their young people in touch with world affairs.

What an extraordinary story that was of the man who learned to read and write while in prison and finally convinced the judge that he had been wrongly sentenced and that after 16 years he could now be free. His whole explanation of what has happened to him since he managed to educate himself is one that I think would be of great interest to psychiatrists.

This one sentence struck me as interesting: "When I was illiterate, I would get violent with people, strike them when I had an argument with them. This was because I had no words to argue with. I could only assert myself through violence". I wonder how many people could be rehabilitated by education.



Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

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

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, March 19, 1954

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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Transcription created from a photocopy of a UFS wire copy of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.