My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

Text Size: Small Text Normal Text Large Text Larger Text

HYDE PARK, Sunday—In Milwaukee last Wednesday I spent a little time with the Mayor's Committee on Human Relations. Before going there I had read the committee's report on its work last year and also the Police Commissioner's manual for policemen, which discusses their handling of race tensions and of possible situations that may arise.

The chairman of the committee told me that, as indicated in their report, they had made little real advance in breaking down discrimination in housing. They have a problem on their hands right now because of the housing shortage. Puerto Ricans have been brought in, for example, in the hopes of getting cheap labor. Since Puerto Ricans speak only Spanish, they have found a number of things difficult in getting integrated into the community.

It is a very encouraging sign to see a committee in a fair-sized city like Milwaukee, composed of so many people representing every possible racial and religious group, spending most of their afternoons on a volunteer basis discussing how better human relations can be brought about. I could not help but think that this is a pattern which, if it existed in every city and village of our country, would soon help us to bring our democracy up to its highest standards. This is really the pattern which every country should try to develop, once all of us agree on what we want in the covenants of human rights. I wish I had some way of finding out how much more along these same lines is being done throughout the United States. It seems to me this might be useful to the U.N. when the time comes for offering suggestions as to how each country should go to work to make effective the hopes and aspirations of people under the agreements entered into the covenants.

During the Chicago and Milwaukee trips I did two TV appearances, largely discussing the U.N., and several recordings. One recording was for a children's hour in Wisconsin in which they try to tell the young people something about current events in a way that will interest them. I think this is rather a good idea and a fine way to prepare them for reading the newspapers and following events at home and abroad once they are grown. Two youngsters, one about 13 and and the other about 8, were in the room during this particular recording. I tried to watch their faces to see whether what I said carried any interest for them. There was so much going on around us, however, that I think they were completely distracted, and I was not able to judge how one could hope to interest youngsters in material of this kind.

I got up early in order to reach home on Thursday afternoon. We had a wonderful flight over Detroit, Cleveland and New York, and then a beautiful drive up the parkway to Poughkeepsie. At home it was warm enough to have a swim before dinner. I found Tamas back on his bed and greeting me with great joy.

E. R.
TMs, AERP, FDRL