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My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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NEW YORK—I must tell you some more about the "Prospects of Mankind" television show that we recorded in Boston last Sunday and which I only mentioned briefly in my column yesterday. Our subject was Africa.

Despite the heavy snowstorm that had hit Boston the airport was open, and Mr. Julius Nyerere of Tanganyika arrived safely from Washington and Dr. Ralph Bunche from New York. Lady Jackson (Barbara Ward), who is presently teaching at Harvard, did not have far to travel, nor did Mr. Saville Davis, our permanent questioner on the program, who lives in the Boston area.

It was quite evident that these people who participated in the program could have talked for several hours with perfect ease. We all enjoyed ourselves very much.

Mr. Nyerere, who is slated to be Prime Minister of Tanganyika when it gains its independence in the course of the next few years, has earned the reputation of being the most moderate of the African leaders who have visited our shores. He is young, as are nearly all the people who are founding the new nations on the African continent. I have a feeling that he will be an astute and wise leader. What is more, he will have wit and humor. His eyes can sparkle and smile, and he is not slow to take up any challenge.

Lady Jackson, whose husband is the resident government advisor in Ghana and whose home now is in Ghana, has a wide experience and knowledge of African problems. Her training as an economist fits her to look at the economic questions of these new countries objectively and in the framework of a very broad experience in Europe and Asia as well as in Africa.

Dr. Bunche, of course, is always a joy, and he was quick to take up any suggestion that the United Nations could do certain things that individual nations could not do. It is quite evident that economic help offered by the United Nations would be far more acceptable to the leaders of the African countries than would help from individual nations, for this would eradicate some of the fear of domination that they feel might ensue from private aid.

I was interested to hear that all three of our guests thought the threat of communism in Africa was much less important than the positive approach of giving the Africans some tangible help in capital investment, technical assistance, and understanding of their problems.

If the truth were told, I think every one of my guests was a little impatient that the United States did not have more interest than we have shown so far.

I hope that the television audience, when it sees this particular "Prospects of Mankind" show, will find it as exciting and interesting as I did in participating in it. There is great vitality in Africa today and we felt it in Mr. Nyerere and in the knowledge that Dr. Bunche and Lady Jackson brought from their vast experience and recent contacts.

Now, another word about Saturday and my meetings with the First Congregational Church group.

We began with a question-and-answer period with college-age men and women, and I was astonished at their interest in international relations. Later I went to a small dinner in one of the young minister's homes and there were two college and two high-school representatives present.

Then we went back to the church to talk about the ever-present question: What is the place of youth in our society? Are young people important? Have they any responsibility for what goes on in their communities?

This was quite evidently a popular subject with these young people, and after I had spoken in the church we went into a meeting room for questions. This time high-school youngsters spent more than an hour questioning me on many different topics.

Henry Morgenthau III joined us at dinner and stayed on, and I could see he was a most interested observer. Since he is interested in the educational television program, I could see him wondering how he could use an intelligent group of high-school or college youngsters to stimulate interest in a foreign affairs subject that is not supposed to be of great interest to these age groups.


(Copyright, 1960, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)

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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, March 9, 1960

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
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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.