My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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NEW YORK—My friend, Mrs. William Dick Sporborg, who is an ardent member of the Federation of Women's Clubs, sent me a very delightful story of what members of the Homemakers Club of Glen Burnie, Md., headed by Mrs. Samuel J. Anderson, did for the women of the village of Rai in India.

Of course, they did not do it all alone. They got valuable help from Washington and cooperation from Governor Harold Stassen, who had discovered the plight of these women on one of his trips to India. He found they were walking a whole day to draw water from a contaminated well.

Mrs. Anderson, reading the story, couldn't finish her glass of iced tea. She realized she could turn a tap faucet and have clean water for bathing, drinking and for general use and did not have to walk a whole day to get water which would bring dysentery and illness to anyone who drank it.

Somehow, the women of Glen Burnie were fired with the idea of helping these women of India. They got assurances from Governor Stassen that the $400 they raised for a new pump would be used for that purpose and that new work would be started to help the village develop wells for irrigation of crops and that laundry and bathing facilities would be established.

The best part of the story, as told by Mrs. Anderson, is this:

"I think the project has done as much for us as it will do for the women in India. It whipped up club interest, gave us such a vital goal in our club work. We have never been more unified, felt warmer or closer to one another. It was a wonderful experience for us."

What a nice story of how cooperation between the women of one community for the benefit of the women of another community can stimulate government aid to accomplish!

I have a letter of protest concerning my statement a short time ago that French was being taught badly in our public schools, colleges and universities.

The writer of the letter points out that I remarked that an audience I was in could understand a French play and insists that this was true because "the methods of teaching French and other languages have undergone a remarkable revolution in the course of the last few years."

I am delighted to hear that such is the case but sad when told that fewer and fewer young Americans are taking any foreign language at all at the elementary level.

I think that any young American, understanding how rapidly the world is being drawn closer and closer together, should take at least two languages as well as his own. French should be studied because it is spoken by many people around the world, nearly as many as speak English. And the student should take another language—the native tongue of the country he or she may be interested in and hopes to visit.

Incidentally, I think Latin and Greek provide valuable background for nearly all modern languages, and if I were young today, I would take both of these, as well as the modern languages!


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

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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, April 10, 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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Transcription created from a photocopy of a UFS wire copy of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.