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

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HYDE PARK—I have just received a copy of a resolution adopted by the Board of Directors of the California Democratic Council. And, because I think the same procedure may take place in other states, I am printing that resolution in full here, since I believe my readers will be interested. It follows:

"The House Un-American Activities Committee's recent attempt to investigate education in California has cast a cloud of suspicion over a group of teachers without giving those individuals, who were not charged with any crime, a chance to defend their reputations.

"These hit-and-run tactics violate basic principles of fair play. They do serious damage, not only to the individual teachers but to the educational system as a whole.

"The California Democratic Council Board of Directors expresses its condemnation of this action by this committee in the strongest terms, and urges Governor Brown and California Congressmen to employ all means at their disposal to bring about the cancellation of the existing subpoenas and to prevent any further maligning of the reputations of California citizens.

“We praise such newspapers as the Fresno Bee and San Francisco Chronicle for their forthright and immediate action in similarly objecting to this action of the House Un-American Activities Committee.”

Also sent to me was information that Chairman Francis E. Walter of Pennsylvania had indicated that, depending on the results of his investigations in California, he may then visit other states.

One hundred and ten teachers were subpoenaed throughout California and the preponderant number are either kindergarten or first-grade teachers. Also included among those subpoenaed were teachers of retarded children, and this seems a little far-fetched since it is so difficult to teach retarded children anything, let alone communism.

The person who sent me the resolution and the information on this subject wrote: "I do feel these hearings have very serious implications for good education not only in California but throughout our country."

I think a good many people will agree that the time has come to return the responsibility for education to the education authorities. We should certainly be able to trust those in charge of educational policies and the supervision of teaching. Teachers are usually chosen by local school boards, and I do not think that the rank and file of our people are so stupid that they cannot detect subversive teaching.

War is no longer an excuse for carrying on this kind of investigation, which often trespasses on the liberties of thought and action that are guaranteed to the people of this country in our Constitution.

I cannot believe that Congressman Walter and his committee are any more qualified to judge as to the qualifications or the loyalty of our teachers than those within our states who are responsible for the education that is given.


(Copyright, 1959, 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, July 11, 1959

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.