JULY 2, 1945
HYDE PARK, Sunday—Friday morning I met with a group of educators who are deeply concerned that there should be no discrimination shown to ex-servicement in the matter of higher education. In other words, if any man has served overseas and risked his life for you and me, and wants to attend a college or a university or a graduate school, his race or religion or place of origin should have no bearing on his opportunity.
Naturally, I think this is so self-evident that it should be hard to find anyone in this country who would stand up and say that qualified veterans should not have this equal opportunity.
* * *
I have a letter in my mail which I want to quote in part. It comes from a man in the State of New Jersey. His religion is Jewish. On November 7, 1944, his son was killed in action piloting a P-47 over Italy.
His daughter finished high school this year, and the principal told her father that her scholastic record was so high he would recommend her for any college in the country. Yet she has been refused by three colleges. The reasons given were, on the surface, good excuses, but the high school authorities told the parents the truth. These colleges have religious quotas.
This is what the father says, and I wonder if you would not say somewhat the same thing under similar circumstances:
"Frankly, this experience with these colleges has cast a shadow and has embittered us. I know that when my boy left on his last mission, his commanding officer never questioned him as to his religion, or had any doubt in his mind that he would not do his utmost in fulfilling his mission due to his religion."
* * *
After talking with the educators Friday morning and reading this letter, I read in the paper and heard over the radio the recurring comments on the filibuster going on in Congress over the FEPC bill to insure no discrimination in employment.
What is your conception of the procedures to be followed in Congress? Mine is that all men should be allowed to state their point of view. Yet there is much work of importance to be done for the world, and it seems to me that one of the obligations of our representatives is to state their point of view as clearly and as quickly as possible, and then allow all the other representatives to stand up and be counted on the question involved.
The obstructionist methods of the filibuster seem to me to make no sense. They destroy democratic government and leave the people in the position where their representatives waste hours and days of precious time, not gaining any new information, but simply being worn out. Finally, the leaders decide that to get important business done they must acquiesce in the views of the filibustering gentlemen, and so the people never know what is the real opinion of the majority. This seems to me a negation of real democracy.