My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

Text Size: Small Text Normal Text Large Text Larger Text

SAN FRANCISCO, Friday—I am far behind in my regular diary but I must finish the impressions of last Tuesday, because that day will stand out in my mind for a long time as a vital human experience.

The people of California must be proud of this effort to find a way to meet the problem of the migratory worker, who must always be with us because he is needed to follow the crops. This problem exists in other parts of the country as well as in California, but here they are finding a solution to the question of how to make life possible for workers who must always travel to harvest the crops.

The second problem, that of the mass of people who have been uprooted from their old homes in the Middle West or in the Southwest, cannot be answered by these government camps. A permanent solution, somewhere, somehow, is needed. We must find land again for these families to settle down on, so they can again be self-respecting independent Americans. Above everything else, I carried away from my day in the migratory camps, a feeling of pride in our people and an admiration for the indomitable courage which can continue to have faith in the future when present conditions seem almost unbearable.

This is a heavy burden and difficult situation temporarily for California, but in the end, I cannot help feeling that people such as these must be an asset to any state when they are finally given an opportunity to work out their salvation. I must also take this opportunity to pay a tribute to the personnel in the Farm Security Administration Camps and in the Administration as a whole. From the architect, who plans the little farm home on the edge of the camps, to the camp managers and regional director, there was no one who was not vitally interested in the people and their welfare. When you deal with human beings who are living under great strain with many conflicting interests to complicate the situation, it requires an amount of wisdom and tact which is not often found for the price of a government salary. Therefore, one must conclude that much of this service is done for love, and the rest of us must take off our hats to those who do it.

On the way back to Los Angeles we flew over the clouds and I think it was the most breathtakingly beautiful trip I have ever been on. Fields of snow and ice lay about us and billowed up into mountain peaks here and there. Every now and then a rift through the clouds would give us a glimpse through a dark chasm of green mountain slopes beneath us. It was almost like some of the Wagner opera scenes, too beautiful for reality.

I was home on time and reached my lecture engagement at Long Beach just before eight o'clock. There I had the pleasure of meeting the Mayor of Long Beach, the ladies of the committee, Mr. J.F.T. O'Connor, Mr. Orson Welles and Governor Olson, who was kind enough to introduce me.

E.R.
TMs, AERP, FDRL