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

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HYDE PARK—One wonders, as the stock market continues its crazy way, whether this action is a real reflection of some economic trouble, which most of us have not as yet felt, or whether it is a political manipulation.

The President has given his assurance that he was not opposed to any element in our community life—business or labor. Naturally, Republicans—and Democrats alike—do not think the opposition's way of achieving results is the way that they would follow, and it is quite possible that big business and Republican politicians think that this is a good way to give Democratic politicians a lesson.

The trouble is that not just Democrats will suffer. The Democrats are the only ones who have had the courage to face up to the real economic difficulties of the future and begin to try to make some plans to meet them. It may suddenly dawn upon the people of the country that though it is very late and these plans should have been made some eight or 10 years ago, still the effort is now being made. And, late though it is, it may alleviate some of the troubles that loom in the future.

At the moment, however, the economy of the country is, from all accounts, in fairly good condition and it looks as though the stock market drop has been the result of manipulation rather than an actual reflection of real conditions.

Those of us who really work on programs that we hope will increase the chances for world peace have thought for a long time that the many foreign students attending our colleges and universities should have the opportunity of really experiencing the hospitality of American homes. And a letter I have just read from Bogor, Indonesia, emphasizes this belief. It reads:

"We have worked here on an aid program for four years now and it is with fear and trembling that we send our students to the U.S. for more than half of them return without really knowing an American family—a tragedy indeed."

The above note was sent to me by some kind people in North Carolina, who themselves write:

"Knowing a number of these students has so enriched our lives we feel sure there are many others who would enjoy the friendship of these students. At first students were invited to our home because they were away from home, and, too, a campus can be a lonely place during holidays. Then, after continued visits, we grew quite fond of many of the boys. We think it is wonderful and rewarding in so many ways."

So many of us live near colleges and universities where there are foreign students. It should be no real hardship to invite them at holiday times and perhaps gradually we might find room for them to spend a weekend now and then. I feel sure this is one of the ways we can really contribute to future world understanding.

During the past few days I have had the great pleasure of reading Floyd Patterson's autobiography. For those who are ardent boxing fans, probably the most interesting part of the book will be the various boxing matches. But to those who are interested in work for the disadvantaged children of our country it is the first four or five chapters and the last one that will hold their attention.

To me it was fascinating how this child, with so many difficulties to overcome, slowly developed. He had, however, one advantage—an intelligent and sympathetic mother who had the strength to do what she thought best for her child even when it seemed a great hardship.

While, as a young boy, he had many difficulties that lay in his way, he was fortunate to have had his years in Wiltwyck School and to be with a really good, kind teacher in the 600 school to which he was sent in New York City. These were the things that saved a human being who has now become the hero for many other small boys of his race and who has helped to make their lives more worthwhile through his own understanding and the help which he has given to the Patterson House in New York.

The board of Wiltwyck School hopes that Patterson House will be a bridge between the sheltered life at Wiltwyck and the return to normal life in the city. So often families are not able to give the children proper care, and if they must return to the same conditions they are apt to be in trouble again before long.

Given the bridge of Patterson House, where 20 boys can now be accomodated and allowed to go to public school again, the chance of developing a really strong character is greatly enhanced.

The reasons that have kept Floyd Patterson sensitive and wanting to help other youngsters come out clearly in this book. Few people will read it without being deeply touched by the man who has developed but who is still today wondering how one ceases to be alone.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Hyde Park (Dutchess County, N.Y., United States) [ index ]
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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, May 31, 1962

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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Digital edition published 2008, 2017 by
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MEP edition publlished on June 30, 2008.

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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.