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

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BOSTON.—The House Un-American Activities Committee last year bestirred itself to call a hearing at which 110 California school teachers were to be smeared as possible Reds. They gave it up because of the public protests that arose, but this year they are again attempting not only to smear the school teachers by calling 48 to a hearing next Tuesday, but have timed the hearing so as to interfere with the notification of contract by May 15th which, according to California law, teachers must have if they are to have a renewal of their contracts.

This is not all, however. The attorney who was active on the teachers' behalf last year has also been subpoenaed, and a major group of witnesses have been summoned who have been active in picketing local branches of chain stores which, in their Southern state branches, are refusing to serve Negroes. This action by the committee is, of course, understandable since the sub-committee in California is represented by Congressman Edmund Willis of Louisiana.

How any person could believe that this spontaneous uprising in the South is communist-controlled or inspired seems to me very odd. The Communists can stir up and arouse a few people in one or two places, but that they could engineer the kind of universal student activity which is now going on is not credible. This is a genuine movement, non-violent but nevertheless strong and persistent, expressing the feelings of the young Negro today.

Of course the Southerners in the Un-American Activities Committee will try to say that this movement is communist-controlled, because this is the one way they can make it respectable on their part to stand up for an un-American custom in their states, which has made second-class citizens out of an entire group. I can only say that the Un-American Activities Committee is making itself less and less popular with honest-thinking people in the country.

The Negro students in the South may not be able to strike back now, but the teachers certainly can get the backing of people in their communities. And let us pray that there will come a day when we will trust our own people enough so that we can do away with such un-American activities as the Un-American Activities Committee.

I am sure that thousands of people watched Princess Margaret every step of the way that it was possible to watch her on TV through her wedding, and we in the U.S. wish her every happiness. I hope that the Caribbean cruise will be a real period of relaxation, for when she returns to Great Britain she will have certain responsibilities that the royal family can never ignore, and these will continue for the rest of her life. She has shown a sense of responsibility for the position she occupies, and I am sure that she will be a help to the Queen and to the Queen Mother in many of the routine services which the British royal family gives to the people.

Many people will have read with regret of the death of Miss Marian Edwards Park, who was president emeritus of Bryn Mawr College. She did so much for the college, both in encouraging high intellectual standards and in helping its economic status, that all students there have profited from her years of service. She lived to be 84 years old and even in retirement she exerted, I am sure, a very great influence over the students who have known her.


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

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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, May 9, 1960

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.