My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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BALTIMORE —Here I am off on another trip for the American Association for the United Nations. This time I'm at the regional meeting here, which has brought together representatives from Maryland, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia.

It is interesting to watch the reactions of different people to problems as they come up. These regional meetings are meant, of course, to discuss the problems in the different states and to see how national headquarters can help them to meet these problems.

New York State, for instance, is divided and has two sections. Upper New York State is represented here by Mr. John Emery, vice-president of the Rochester Association for the U.N., and Mr. Sol Linowitz, president for Upper New York State.

We have in Rochester one of the strongest and best chapters in the country. From the very beginning this chapter has had strong leadership and has managed to enlist support and find human interest projects to build this support and keep its membership interested.

Other areas that have not been so fortunate seem to feel, particularly southern New York State, that they should have been informed by national headquarters on every step taken in Rochester. This has been next to impossible in the past, but over the past six years we have been growing steadily and have gained in strength and in techniques of communication and cooperation. I think now it will be quite possible to keep not only each state informed of what goes on in different sections but the country as a whole can be kept informed of what is going on nationally.

But we cannot hope to do this perfectly as yet. First, we do not yet have enough finances in the national organization and, secondly, our organization is not yet completely effective. We are still in the growing stage. Still, I think we have far better field work going on this year because of the cooperation between our Greater New York area field director, our Collegiate Council field representative and our national headquarters field representative. They are working together, sharing information and sending one another suggestions and useful hints about the areas of the country they visit.

What we really need, however, is three more field representatives in the nation and we could do very well with one more for the Collegiate Council. And we certainly could do better in the national headquarters office with a little more expert clerical assistance. I think we have probably the most efficient and devoted staff that any organization could find, and I sometimes wonder how they cover all the different activities that come across their desks.

I have just read with great care Mr. Adlai Stevenson's speech delivered before the Institute of Life Insurance. The concept of the public welfare being considered ahead of that of any group seems to me a reasonable and correct concept. The rights of both labor and management should be carefully guarded, but if we are expecting to live under a rule of reason in the world as a whole we must realize that our differences at home must be settled through reason and not through force. The whole speech is worth reading by all Americans, regardless of party affiliation.

I must mention here my grief at hearing of the death of Dr. Ross McIntire. He was for a very long time not only my husband's doctor, but his friend. His advice was always good, but he was not always able to make my husband take the kind of care of himself that might well have prolonged his life. When one is deeply interested in what one is doing it is very difficult to take the good advice that tells one that less day-by-day hard work may mean a longer life and greater accomplishment in the long run.

I also want to mention a most interesting meeting that took place in New York City on December 10 at the Joan of Arc Junior High School. This meeting was co-sponsored by many West Side organizations, but I want to bring out the fact that it was the Democratic reform club—the FDR-Woodrow Wilson Democrats of the 5th Assembly District, North—that was most active in bringing about the meeting.

It was the kind of activity that should replace the old-time activities of city organizations throughout the country. This meeting sought to explain to a mixed population—many of them Spanish-speaking—what the Urban Renewal Project in their area may mean to them. Arrangements were made for simultaneous translation—as at the U.N.—with microphones placed in one section of the school auditorium for this purpose.

Every phase of the project for that part of the city was discussed and explained to the people affected. They were told of the time table of demolition, of remodeling and relocation, of the function of other community organizations, and of the possibility of enacting legislation to help the problems affecting small businessmen in the process of slum clearance and urban rebuilding.

This is the kind of identification with community interests that political organizations should seek out. Such activity really helps to increase the value of the political clubs in our cities.


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

Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Baltimore (Md., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, December 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.