My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

Text Size: Small Text Normal Text Large Text Larger Text

NEW YORK, Monday—Saturday I spent in Detroit, but I wasted a good part of the morning in bed, not having reached the hotel until 3:30 A. M. At 11:30 my sister-in-law, Mrs. Dorothy Roosevelt and two of her daughters, came in to tell me about the day's activities which had been planned for me.

First there was a press conference at 12 o'clock, and then the Michigan Citizens' Committee held a luncheon attended by almost 1,000 people. After that we went back to my room, where, for about an hour and a half, different groups of people came in to see me, among them the representatives of the women's auxiliaries of the local unions. They are extremely worried over the fact that women are being laid off in large numbers, with little recognition of their rights of seniority.

* * *

I asked them whether they thought the majority of women who had gone to work during the war, but who have young children, would go back to their homes on the return of their husbands. They said that many of them would, if their husbands received enough pay for them to give the children the educational advantages many of them hoped to provide. They added, however, that many women were going to be obliged to work in any case, for a variety of reasons, and that it was essential they be treated in this respect on a par with the men. This seems only fair.

I also saw some of the people who are working on housing and racial tensions. In Detroit, as in every other large city, the housing situation is critical. The situation is far worse everywhere than after the last war, because this war lasted longer and normal building has been completely stopped. The shortage in housing for people, of course, has been brought to our attention first. But I am sure that in every state there is also overcrowding in state institutions, and unless this is remedied very soon we will have some very shocking conditions.

* * *

It seems essential that building be undertaken on a very large scale, both by public authority and private enterprise. If there is any slack in employment to be taken up during the reconversion period, this would seem to me the most valuable place to use it. I realize that adjustments may have to be made within the unions, and some training may have to be given. But where the need is so great, it seems to me that our vaunted efficiency should find a way.

From 5 o'clock on, my time in Detroit was spent largely in seeing my family and their friends. On Sunday at noon I boarded the plane for New York City and had a very delightful flight into La Guardia Field, though we were somewhat delayed again.

E. R.

TMs, AERP, FDRL