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

[Original version of the column. Text in red are tagged with <sic> (needs correction); text in purple are tagged with <orig> (needs regularization); and text in blue are tagged names of persons or organizations. View emended version]


NEW YORK, Monday—It certainly looks as though one thing after another is bringing the subject of race discrimination squarely before the public. The idea that 51 New York school children, who won awards for their work for public safety, could not be taken on a trip to Washington, D.C., because of discrimination there against four Negro children in the group, is a situation which must shock any fair-minded person.

The things that happen because of segregation—cruel, stupid things—are being brought before us more and more. How can we expect children to grow up loving their country and willing to fight for its democratic institutions if things such as this happen to them?

The national capital has no right to be either a Northern or a Southern town. It is the capital of the United States, and in it the Constitution should be respected.

* * *

In regard to what is happening in Palestine, there is one important thing that I think should be driven home to everyone. That is that the United Nations accepted a majority report advocating partition and that no change in that decision was made before the British mandate came to an end and the British military government departed.

The Jews, under that decision, prepared to set up a provisional government and so declared to the world. The Arabs, on every side, declared they would not recognize this United Nations decision. They not only prepared for war but have promptly invaded the new state of Israel. This seems to me to show very little respect for the rest of the world and very little real desire to promote the cause of peace.

* * *

There are many people in many countries, even some of the Jewish people themselves, who do not think there is the slightest reason why there should be a Jewish state. I have always taken it for granted that, when we agreed to the Balfour Declaration for establishing in Palestine a national home for the Jews, it was perfectly well understood that eventually this was to be a Jewish state. If that was not our conception and the conception of other governments, it seems to me we should have said so, clearly, a long time ago.

I do not think we should be surprised that a Jewish state has now been established, and it seems to me quite logical that we have recognized this state since we originally accepted the idea of its ultimate creation. To quibble about the words "a national home", and to question whether or not that meant a Jewish state, seems a bit unrealistic.

In any case, we now face a difficult situation. But the people facing the most serious situation are the Arabs. Will they continue to defy the United Nations? If they do, they are an aggressor nation or group of nations. If they do not, then they could sit down around a table and come to an agreement with the Jewish Government. And, in all probability, that would be to their advantage as well as to the advantage of all Jews. Let us hope that a little calm, cool common sense will come to the Arab leaders, and that they will not behave as irresponsibly as their first actions indicate.

E. R.


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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, May 18, 1948

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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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.