My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

Text Size: Small Text Normal Text Large Text Larger Text

WASHINGTON, Sunday—I spent an hour Friday morning going over housing conditions in the District of Columbia's section for poorer people, among whom are large numbers of our colored population. I must say I was appalled by some of the things I learned. The population of the District has greatly increased and the colored group has increased along with the white. In fact, more colored people have come.

The number of houses available to the poorer people has been so curtailed by the condemnation of land in the poorer sections for the erection of public buildings or military roads, that there are actually fewer housing units and rooms available than there were before the increase in population began.

Real estate interests are making a very definite effort, I am told, to curtail the activities of government housing. Yet it is impossible for commercial real estate operators to build adequate housing for people of very low incomes. It seems a rather dog-in-the-manger attitude.

If the interests of a few selfish people prevail against the interests of a great many people, we are going to have slum conditions and inadequate housing all over this country. These lead to health conditions that are a menace, not only to the poorer people, but to all the people of the community.

At 1:30 on Friday, I went to a mothers and daughters meeting held by the student council of the Phillips-Wormly School. The children did extremely well in explaining the objectives of the council and in reciting their creed.

In the late afternoon I received the members of the Home Hospitality Committee, of which Mrs. Martin Vogel is chairman. They have done very good work in the District for the entertainment of servicemen, and I was glad of an opportunity to tell them of my admiration.

Yesterday I saw quite a number of people in the course of the day. At 6:00 o'clock I went to the USO Club to speak at a buffet supper and dance, which was being given by the Filipino Women's Club in honor of the Filipinos serving in the United States armed forces.

From there I went to a banquet of the George Washington University Women's Athletic Association, where I spoke on, "The Place of Recreation in War and Peace." This brings me to a note sent by one of the soldiers who occupied our box for the recent concert given here by the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra.

Two of the boys wrote me how much they enjoyed the concert. One of them said he often noticed empty seats when he was fortunate enough to get to places of entertainment. He wondered why people, when they could not use their seats, did not send the tickets to a central place so that servicemen might obtain them.

In many big cities, all places of entertainment send to distributing centers a quota of tickets for use by servicemen on furlough. I should think that practice might be organized and carried out in smaller places as well, so that everyone would know where to send their unused tickets.

E.R.
TMs, AERP, FDRL