My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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EMPORIA, Kan. —As I was driving down the West Side Highway in New York City last Friday I saw an unusual number of people carrying their bags—a circumstance caused by the dock strike. And it made me wonder what happens when a person has more luggage than he can carry.

I hope for the sake of East Coast shipping in general that this strike will not last long. It certainly would not be pleasant, for instance, to have to land in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and make the rest of the journey by train or by air. And a strike of this sort is damaging to the ports and puts in jeopardy many men's jobs. So, let us hope that management and labor will come to a quicker understanding in the dock situation than seems to be possible in the steel industry.

It seems to me that long ago the President should have appointed a fact-finding group for the steel situation. Invoking the Taft-Hartley law may temporarily bring the strike to an end, but it will not bring out the basic facts that should be brought out for a just decision.

The public is entitled to know what these facts are. And I hope we will be given this opportunity even though it is rather late to avoid the hardships that this long-drawn-out strike has caused for many workers outside the steel industry as well as those directly employed in the industry itself.

I was most interested last week to read of Gov. Nelson Rockefeller's visit to one of the two New York State conservation work camps where some boys are serving out their sentences instead of being kept behind bars. The boys themselves apparently approve of what they are doing!

I have had a couple of letters disapproving of the establishment of camps of this kind on a broad scale throughout the country. One elderly gentleman tells me that all that is needed is better parents to supervise their children. Unfortunately, however, all children do not have parents that can become "better."

Another man writes of the horrible experiences he had in a CCC camp in the early `thirties. He says he does not want to see the same things happen to today's young men. Still others tell me that it is dreadful to have to turn over our park system to young criminals. Of course, this latter idea is not the intention. And, as for the other gentleman, I hope that the new camps that would be organized would be better than were the CCC camps, because we can profit from the mistakes made at that time.

I think it is important, too, to say that these camps would not all be for delinquents who have come into collision with the law. Some of them would be for perfectly normal youngsters who, for one reason or another, find it difficult to live a normal life in the environment in which they are being raised. Sometimes this may be true in the big cities, sometimes it may be true in country areas.

So, we should not give the impression that only delinquents are to be given the opportunity of working in state and Federal camps. They should be open also to the youngsters who are trying to find a little better way of life than they have yet succeeded in finding.


(Copyright, 1959, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)

Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Emporia, Kan., United States [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, October 6, 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.