The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers, Digital Edition > My Day
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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HYDE PARK—Although a United States Circuit Court of Appeals has granted the Little Rock School Board additional time to carry on its fight against resumption of integration, you can be sure that the ultimate question will be far from settled.

I wish very much that instead of hinting that Federal troops might be sent again to Little Rock, President Eisenhower would try a different approach. There are forces in the South that are big enough to want to obey the law and to treat children, whether they are white or colored, fairly. But these forces need encouragement and backing, and no one in this country except the President can provide the leadership that is necessary to give these well-meaning people the strength to make this difficult fight. I am quite convinced that if these people know that the White House will move to back them they will suddenly show up in far greater numbers than most of us realize.

Instead of sending troops I wish President Eisenhower would go down to Little Rock and lead the colored children into the school.

The age-old cry in the South has always been that if you have integration in the schools you will have intermarriage. There are schools all over this country where integration has been in force for years and the amount of intermarriage is far less than anyone would suppose when listening to a Southerner.

Either we are a people who live by law or we are a people who consider that the law is to be obeyed only when it pleases us. In this light instead of being one country, after all these years, we are still 49 disconnected states that can still pass state laws that are at variance with the general attitude of the country as a whole.

It is not only the President of the United States who has sworn to uphold the Constitution but everyone of us as citizens does the same when we vote and thereby acknowledge our citizenship to accept the responsibility to uphold the Constitution, too.

It is interesting to note that in the United Nations situation, where India is leading the African and Asian nations in their demands for withdrawal of British and American troops from the Middle East, that what some of the countries say in private is at variance with their public attitude. In private they say, "Of course, we want the troops withdrawn, but not until a plan is acceptable which will guarantee the integrity of such countries as Jordan and Lebanon."

Well, now they seem to be agreed on a plan, and the next several weeks should tell or give us some indication how it might work out.

But one cannot help wondering if Mr. Nehru does not have in mind that if he cannot come to a reasonable understanding with Pakistan that some nation might decide to land troops in that situation. This is one thing he does not want to have to debate.

Nevertheless, the general feeling, which was certainly attested to by the vote in the General Assembly just before adjournment, is that the newly adopted plan will keep the peace in the Middle East and allow the troops of Great Britain and the U.S. to be withdrawn promptly.


(Copyright, 1958, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)

Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Hyde Park (Dutchess County, N.Y., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, August 23, 1958

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.