JULY 8, 1955
HYDE PARK —While visiting in Yugoslavia, Prime Minister Nehru of India again repeated that there cannot be war in the atom age and that this must mean coexistence, and in order to exist in the same world we must negotiate with each other and try to settle difficulties by negotiation.
All of this is quite sensible and most of us would agree. In fact, it looks as though even the Soviet Union might agree that atomic war must be outlawed.
The problem, however, is how we are going to live together and whether we in the United States are going to realize that in living together peacefully we will still be fighting for men's minds and hearts. The Soviet Union will be trying to put over world communism and if we really understand our objectives we will be trying to put over the value of democracy and the good it will do the people all over the world.
This will not be an easy fight, but it will mean a great deal of education for our young people and for our older people—an attempt to put into our daily lives the principles to which many of us have only given lip service in the past.
We will not be able to get by merely by providing lip service to what we stand for, because the peoples of the world are going to want to see which ideology—world communism or democracy—actually is more concerned about their well-being.
I think our people have got to realize this in the next few years. We are apt to find ourselves working very hard in a peaceful "war," which will deal with men's beliefs and in which I hope we will be successful, for we might find ourselves slaves otherwise.
I find myself in considerable difficulty over the confusion which now exists in Washington on the question of Federal aid to the school system. That there is need for more schools in this country nobody should now doubt, and unless that need is met many of our children are going to lack a decent education.
The whole question has been complicated by the fact that the Supreme Court order on desegregation in schools everywhere in the U.S. is being fought by certain states. Therefore, we do not have clear-cut support for the program of school building and better salaries for teachers, which we should have from every state in the Union.
Quite naturally, the Negroes, who have fought for desegregation over so many years, will devise means of trying to make it impossible for any state that does not follow out a desegregation program to get Federal money. They will even go so far as to fight any bill that does not include specifically the provision that there should be no segregation in the schools.
On the other hand, the Southerners in Congress are going to say that they are unable to accept anything that includes such a clause and they will even risk losing out on the school-building program.
It seems to me impossible not to accept and face the need. Eventually the South has to conform to the Federal ruling on desegregation. And to subject the children of the whole country to poor educational standards, should the South continue to rebel, I fear, will bring great resentment against those states and those representatives who feel that this is the kind of loyalty to their country which they must provide. That is merely loyalty to a custom and a belief. They must realize that the world has grown smaller and we are today influenced by world conditions and cannot adhere to many of our old beliefs.
(Copyright, 1955, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)
About this document
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, July 8, 1955
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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