My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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NEW YORK, Sunday—After the Human Rights Commission meeting on Friday I took the plane for Washington and went, as usual, to stay with my old friends, Mr. and Mrs. Adolph C. Miller. Bright and early Saturday morning, however, Franklin, Jr. was at the door to take me home with him to an 8:30 breakfast. It was the first time I had seen the little house where he and his wife live, and had a meal with them; so it was fun, and we talked as fast as one can while eating scrambled eggs and drinking coffee. He and I had our big cups of coffee with hot milk, but Sue stuck to the American way of drinking hers with cream and from a smaller cup. I am afraid I am not really a coffee lover in the American tradition, for if I have the hot milk and a faint coloring of coffee that is all I require in the morning.

At 9:30 A. M. we reached the Shoreham Hotel for the Americans for Democratic Action convention, at which Franklin, Jr. presided. The first two speakers were the Hon. Hubert H. Humphrey, Senator from Minnesota, and the Hon. Chester Bowles, Governor of Connecticut, both of whom made extremely good speeches. Perhaps Governor Bowles' was the more thought-provoking, for he has had the practical experience of meeting in his small state problems which are nationwide. He has not run away from them, but is actually trying to find some answers to them.

What do you do about unemployment, for instance? The general business picture is good. Our national income is high and earnings are high, but still we have mounting unemployment. In some fields there are vacancies and people are looking for workers, but the unemployed and the jobs do not seem to fit each other—at least, on a state by state basis. Our statistics show three and a half million yearly increase in population. Some feel that we have never gone back to pre-war conditions, but instead have a large increase in the number of workers. That is because women and old people who were urged to work during the war, when they were badly needed, liked being employed. They do not want to go back to idleness and dependency as older people, or to unpaid work in the home, as would be the case for many workers.

The trouble is that nobody really knows the facts. Nobody has really tried to get these facts and then find an answer. Some of us think that the Point Four program has a bearing on the opening up of new markets and, therefore, of new jobs. But we don't know, and this knowledge is necessary. Governor Bowles is putting some people to work in his state to find out the conditions that confront people at least in one New England state. This is why having 48 states is so useful. We can make our research in a small area, and it may then serve as a basis for the much larger area of the nation.

E. R.
TMs, AERP, FDRL