MARCH 29, 1960
SAN DIEGO—Among the great mass of literature that comes to me by mail I have seen mention of an organization of "black Muslims," who are described as Negroes of the Islamic faith, aligned with the Arab League. I had never heard of them before now, but I am told that in Washington, D.C., recently members of the Arab League picketed the visit of Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion and among them were some people wearing bands with the swastika sign on them and some "black Muslims." As a rule, though, I am told, the "black Muslims" function primarily in New York City and their main objective is to foment hate of the white people.
I am told that on Barry Gray's radio program one of the "black Muslim" representatives said that "whites have blood on their hands." I hope very much that feelings of this kind are going to be kept in check in this country because this is the kind of emotional fear that produces situations such as South Africa has been suffering from, both among her white and native citizens.
Our colored citizens have shown such remarkable patience and restraint that we have not had to suffer in this way. But I do feel that among some of the leaders, particularly in the North and in New York City, there is perhaps a coming together of hate groups—both Negro and foreign—and the growth of prejudices of every kind. This type of emotion can never be contained. It always spreads.
I think it is important that those of us who are able to do so must remain unemotional and we must remember to develop in all our contacts as much good feeling as possible. I have absolutely nothing against any foreign people in this country or any of our own citizens. I would like to see understanding and equality exist among us all, and I hope that that is the spirit that can be fostered everywhere. People would be better off at home and abroad if we did not build up areas of hatred but sought out ways of cooperation.
On last Thursday morning I visited Bronx High School No. 135 where a most interesting meeting about the Far East was being held for the teachers of New York City. This particular high school has made special studies about the Far Eastern situation and the students displayed excellent exhibitions.
These students have developed all kinds of research and have stirred up considerable interest, with the result that they have been able to put on one of the best programs about this troubled area of the world that I have seen and heard in a long time. Also, Mr. Henry Lieberman, former Far Eastern correspondent of The New York Times, read an excellent paper.
In my neighboring town of Poughkeepsie on Friday evening I went to the Arlington High School where, under the auspices of the American Field Service, the students were holding what they called "The Stockholders Ball." Anyone holding one share was welcome to come and dance to the music of the new high-school band. The group welcomed visiting students from Indonesia, Turkey, Pakistan, the Netherlands, Argentina, Italy, and three young Americans who had represented the United States as exchange students abroad last summer.
I was queen of the ball and very kindly received. The outstanding decoration was a revolving skeleton map of the world, around which revolved this legend: "Walk together, talk together, All ye peoples of the earth; Then and only then shall ye have peace."
(Copyright, 1960, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)
About this document
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, March 29, 1960
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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