My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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DETROIT, Sunday—Flying out to Chicago on Thursday was rather slow and we arrived nearly hour late. Forty minutes after I reached the hotel, I was in the bid dining room where the South Central Association was holding its bond rally dinner. This Association, they told me with great care, is a purely business association. The businessmen of the area, both white and Negro have joined together to improve their business. Shortly I discovered, however, that the association meant more than just better business practices. They had found out that improving the way of life in the area improved business. Their interests now take in housing, better education, better recreation facilities, sanitation and, as they put it, general outdoor housekeeping.

Their first joint project had been in connection with our first bond drive, and from then on they have encouraged thrift. They have made people understand that bonds are a good investment, and at this bond rally dinner they told how many had already been sold in the area. Then they proceeded to sell bonds so rapidly that the man who was keeping count couldn't keep up with them. The amounts ranged from $25 to $100,000, and the number of one and five-thousand dollar checks that were handed in left me dizzy. I came away feeling that here was a pattern of interracial cooperation which might point the way to better understanding.

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By 9:30 the next morning I was on my way to the Rosenwald Fund meeting. This proved to be a particularly spirited session, and I always feel it a privilege to meet with such an interesting board.

At 3:30 Friday afternoon I had to leave the meeting, however, when Dr. Edward J. Sparling of Roosevelt College came with his wife to take me to see the college. Here is an experiment in education for democracy where 1,400 students representing a number of foreign countries as well as many racial and religious backgrounds, are enthusiastically at work. The college runs at night as well as in the day, and older people attend as well as young. One pre-medical student is a grandmother. I met the faculty, which is as varied as the student body. But teachers and students alike are dedicated to a search for knowledge and truth through knowledge.

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From the college I went to, the broadcasting station, where I tried to tell a little of my impressions of this really inspiring educational institution. Then I went down to the dedication dinner. The cornerstone of the college building which will someday be erected was placed in the middle of the big dining room. After the speeches, Dr. Sparling and I placed the little copper box—containing a copy of the charter and of the first check received and a microfilm with the names of all the donors—inside the cornerstone and screwed the plate down over it.

PNews, SHJ, 19 November 1945