My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

Text Size: Small Text Normal Text Large Text Larger Text

NEW YORK, Thursday—I read an item yesterday about Madame Jeanne Longuet, who has come to visit one of the American flyers whom she saved and sheltered during World War II. She earned the name of "the flea" because she moved so fast to elude the Nazis and to keep her airmen fed and clothed and finally to smuggle them out!

I was happy to read of this woman coming over here at the invitation of one of those whom she saved. Gestures of gratitude such as this will help to cement the friendship between our two countries. But there are many, many more French women and girls who helped British and American airmen in just this way and who can't be singled out, and I wish that we could do tangible things in the various areas of their country as a remembrance of the service that they rendered.

I have come across a number of men who remembered kindnesses with great gratitude and who went back to thank those who had done so much for them.

* * *

It isn't a pretty picture that is emerging from the prisoner-of-war camps in Koje Island. Apparently these Communist-trained troops have been putting to death their own compatriots, supposedly because they suspected them of not holding firmly enough to Communist ideas. These victims seem not only to have been killed, but killed in very brutal ways. Things have been said in Communist papers about the cruelty of United Nations soldiers. I venture to think that nothing like the cruelty which is being unearthed in these prison camps can be laid at the door of any U.N. soldiers.

* * *

Last night I went to Brooklyn to speak for the United Negro College Fund. It was a good audience and they raised a sizable sum of money.

I hope very much that the day will come when there will not be segregated Negro colleges any more than there will be segregated white colleges. It seems important to me that Negro colleges should be, as long as there must be segregation in education, as well equipped and as well staffed as any colleges in the country. If the day comes when white youngsters want to attend these institutions they must find there as good teaching and as good equipment as they would find anywhere else.

I think one of the problems of Negro youth is the temptation to get a job as young as possible and not to go on with their education. Many of them feel they will be called into the armed services and that it is a waste of time getting a better education.

As a matter of fact, it would pay them many times over to stay in school, for today there are many jobs that are not available unless one has a college education or some training that is the equivalent of a college education. I think the older generation realizes this. But even with the many difficulties faced by young people today and the general disillusionment that having to be ready for call into the armed services brings, it is not astonishing that they do not want to stick at preparation for life any longer than is absolutely necessary.

E. R.
TMs, AERP, FDRL