NOVEMBER 2, 1955
CHICAGO—I have just been sent from South Africa a book called "Episode in the Transvaal." Now I learn that it is on sale in our bookstores and I think it should be read by everyone. It will help us to understand the difficulties confronting those who are trying to find some way of bringing about peace in an area where the only answer to criticism of their government and its policies from the United Nations was withdrawal from the U.N. This withdrawal was on the grounds that these policies were purely domestic and did not concern the U.N.
This brings up again the question whether human rights can be considered only as a domestic question or whether the subject is so basic to better understanding in the world that it becomes of interest and concern to everyone.
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On Monday afternoon I went to meet with friends of the late Walter White and his wife in the latter's house. This was a sort of launching of the book, "How Far the Promised Land" by Walter White.
The last time I had been in this house I had talked with Walter White himself and hoped he was well on his way to recovery and that many years of useful work still lay before him. Now he is gone and this book was his last work addressed not only to his fellow countrymen but to the world.
Mr. White's writing is an effort to make us at home more conscious of what remains to be done, and to make the world more conscious of what has been done by this nation in attempting to solve the race problem here.
The problem is far from solved as yet, but Walter White tells the story of his own dedication to this task and of the happenings through the years. The last paragraph sums up his conclusions and his hopes I think:
"The job of curing and preventing man's mistreatment of another man because of his race or color in the U.S. or, for that matter, anywhere else in the world is not done. But we are on our way."
Walter White was a courageous fighter. He need never have acknowledged that he belonged to the Negro race, but I always felt that he liked the challenge and that he could not have been coward enough to hide behind the fact that his skin was white and he was blonde. He lived the truth and he wanted his friends to be real friends, not friends who could not see beyond the pigment of his skin. And so he was valued for what he really was, and many people have felt a deep sense of loss since he left us.
In reading this book I think his friends also will feel a deep sense of satisfaction, for the cause for which he fought is really on the way.