My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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NEW YORK—Yesterday and today have been rather peaceful days, but I had one amusing experience yesterday. I came out of a shop and took a taxi-cab and the driver was most talkative. The whole way down town he argued with me steadily on whether it was right to keep a man out of a WPA job when he still had some insurance, and had struggled hard to keep it up.

I agreed with him that it was one of the rules which seemed very trying, but explained that if you had insurance you still had something that you could realize money on, whereas there had been many, many people who had absolutely nothing left and therefore these people came first.

From that he waxed eloquent over foreigners who took out their first papers and then never proceeded to the next steps in their citizenships. I suggested that perhaps we had neglected in the past, when we were glad to acquire new labor in this country, the education of the immigrants coming in and possibly some of these people who had only taken out first papers might have been ignorant of the further steps they should take. He had evidently been reading much propaganda against the foreigner and though I have a feeling that Ireland was not very far in his background, he didn't have much sympathy with any foreign nationality.

It is a funny thing how hard it is to see the other fellow's point of view. I remember serving on a committee of the Women's Trade Union League and spending a certain amount of time explaining to foreign women who wished to become citizens what they had to do and I even accompanied some of them on their trips when they actually got their papers.

It was so confusing to me that I wondered how any one whose knowledge of the language was limited ever got through and so perhaps I have a little more patience than many people who have never been through the experience of acquiring citizenship papers even for others.

I came out of a Fifth Avenue shop this morning and the street was crowded. I was walking fast when something was thrust onto me. Almost unconsciously I started to take it, glanced at it and it was a Landon card with a Landon button and the two ladies standing side by side handing them out, had Landon buttons on their coats. It struck me as so funny that I looked up with a smile and as I walked along, looked back over my shoulder and laughed at them. They still looked absolutely solemn and I don't know now whether they knew to whom they were trying to hand a Landon button.

E.R.
TMsd 30 October 1936, AERP, FDRL