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


DELAWARE, Ohio—It seems unthinkable that Governor Faubus of Arkansas should have reiterated, as he did some days ago, his stand on integration in the state's school system. The Governor knows quite well that he would not be forced to use state troops to enforce a Federal court order if he himself led the compliance and insisted that as long as the Constitution had been interpreted by the proper authority, the Supreme Court, it must be lived up to.

This has been done in other states; it can be done in Arkansas. Arkansas, in fact, was known in the past for being ahead of other Southern states. They allowed Negroes to enter their universities when other Southern states held back. They did it, too, without any notice being taken of it—quietly and in matter-of-fact fashion, as if complying with the law was the normal, usual procedure of good citizens.

The President has spoken very clearly on what he thinks is his duty in this matter. I believe the Governors of our states have an obligation to recognize the fact that the President and the Constitution of the United States are higher authorities than any individual state.

A few days ago I attended a special showing of Stanley Kramer's new motion picture, "The Defiant Ones." The previous evening I had presented Sidney Poitier with the Berling Award for his magnificent performance in this film, and I was therefore much interested to see him in the role which had won him this distinction. He certainly is a superb performer and deserves Newsweek's characterization of him as "the country's finest Negro actor."

The story itself is dramatically done. Although I did not find it always completely convincing, the story does show that two human beings can come to look upon each other as fellow men, not as a Negro or a white man. In the present circumstances, I wonder if this film will reach the South. That is where it ought to be played; but I suppose even the superb acting of Tony Curtis and Mr. Poitier will not induce Southern moviegoers to see something which forces them to recognize a reality. But it will do us good in the North, too, so I am glad to hear that it will be shown in many cities all over the country.

I went back to Hyde Park on Thursday afternoon after a busy day in New York. This was my last weekend in the country until after I return from abroad in the early days of October. And as always seems to happen, I am deluged at the last minute with things I should have done long beforehand! There were people to see and preparations to complete for the move which I am making on my return. I am giving up my apartment on East 62nd Street when I leave here at the end of August. On my return, I will spend some months in a hotel until I find a permanent abode. I decided it was impossible to hurry into a new home and that I would rather take life quietly, enjoy my trip abroad and come home to a temporary apartment until I find just where I want to live permanently in this big city.



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  • Delaware, Ohio [ index ]
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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, August 26, 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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Digital edition published 2008, 2017 by
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MEP edition publlished on June 30, 2008.

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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.