My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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WASHINGTON —It is understandable that Communists in this country should now be attempting to inject themselves into the controversy over civil rights in the Southern states.

They know well that the more democracy and freedom is achieved in this country, the more attractive the democratic way of life will be to other areas of the world. If they can align themselves with those who are fighting for civil rights for all our citizens, they will do harm to the movement here and hurt the cause of democracy throughout the world.

I am glad that the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has warned its branches of the Communist party's probable tactics. But the local leaders will have to be alert, indeed, to keep out all Communists.

In the meantime, the states of Mississippi and Alabama are making a sad record for the nation as a whole. One is particularly proud, however, of those courageous Southerners who fight racial prejudices from within and the cruel and unlawful actions of those who attempt to prevent the inevitable march of freedom in this country and in the world as a whole.

What is happening here cannot be separated from what is happening all over the world. Wherever you look, human beings are striving to obtain freedom, equality of opportunity and the dignity all human beings have a right to expect.

One of the most frequent arguments brought up by the Southern people against desegregation of schools is that it would bring about intermarriage, creating a "mongrel" race.

I often have wondered if this is a valid argument, for in Europe people of different races have sat together in the same schoolrooms for many years.

We in this country have been free for many years to marry those of other races from other parts of the world. There have been some intermarriages but, by and large, they are few and do not seem to bring about what we usually are told will be a "mongrelized race."

It is a convenient argument, but I doubt if it is a valid one. I doubt, too if there is any real danger of a large number of intermarriages.

The announcement by the governor of Mississippi that if the courts should order the acceptance of a colored citizen in a college in Mississippi, the college would be closed is unfortunate for white students in Mississippi who would find it difficult to attend out-of-state colleges. They are the ones who would lose the opportunity for education. But I surmise that what really would happen is that the state would lose by having its young people go outside its borders for higher education.

Day by day, the things that happen in Alabama and Mississippi are doing us harm in our fight against Communism in Asia, Africa and the Near East.


(Copyright, 1956, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)

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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, February 25, 1956

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
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Available under licence from the Estate of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.

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MEP edition publlished on 2008-06-30

TEI-P5 edition published on 2017-04-28

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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.