My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

Text Size: Small Text Normal Text Large Text Larger Text

NEW YORK, Wednesday—On Sunday evening with a group of friends, I went to see the second annual Israel Folk Dance Festival, sponsored by the Jewish National Fund and given at Hunter College Assembly Hall. The costumes and the dances and the young people who competed were delightful. As well as doing the Israel dances they did some purely American dances—square dances from different parts of the country. One of the loveliest parts of the program was the singing of Shoshana Damari. She rendered some songs from Yemen, and I was told she has made some recordings that are delightful. She certainly looked charming and won everybody's heart.

Monday afternoon I took a train to Philadelphia where Clarence Pickett met me and took me out to the house that was given to him and Mrs. Pickett by their friends when he retired as executive secretary of the American Friends Service Committee. He is as busy as ever, though he no longer carries administrative responsibility.

It had been some time since I had been in the Quaker atmosphere and I found it a very pleasant experience again. There is a gentle sobriety about how the Quakers conduct their affairs, and yet this gentleness makes them no less firm in their statements and beliefs.

The Picketts' house has real charm and, as you would expect, it is a very quiet house. Mr. and Mrs. Pickett are all alone now, both of their daughters being married.

Two couples came in for dinner and afterward a few more people came in to talk. And as a result of all the questioning, I am afraid I did the major part of the talking. One of the couples is about to go to South Africa, and I imagine that assignment will tax even the tact of a Quaker.

The house is only a stone's throw from Haverford College, where I spoke at a Tuesday morning assembly. In addition to the students, friends and neighbors of the college were invited, so it was a fairly full house when we arrived.

I was told that in my audience the students would be fairly familiar with the United Nations and its activities, but largely from an academic standpoint. Therefore, I tried to tell them human-interest stories that showed the more colorful part of the activities of the specialized agencies. I had only a half hour, however, and it is rather difficult to tell much about the U.N. and the attacks being made on the organization in that length of time. Ten minutes were available for questions at the end. The questions were interesting and intelligently asked and showed real interest in the U.N.

After the session in the auditorium I went to lunch with a group of the students. I was told that one of the professors was planning to make a survey of the neighborhood with a group of students. They would cover every house in a certain area to find out what the people knew about UNESCO, how they felt about the attacks being made on it, and what their general attitude toward the U.N. was. Having gained as much information as possible they were then going to try to evolve a plan to correct misunderstandings and to increase the general knowledge and interest.

E.R.
TMs, AERP, FDRL