My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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NEW YORK—The meeting on Monday evening in Chicago, celebrating the tenth anniversary of the passage of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was attended by at least 1,000 people. I was introduced by Adlai Stevenson Jr., who was taking his father's place, and who did so with grace and humility. He quoted a rhyme which I am most anxious to look up, because it was really a delightful way of expressing his own feelings.

Mr. Jacob Blaustein, who has headed up for the American Association for the United Nations the observance of this tenth anniversary by our chapters in cooperation with many other organizations in various communities, was also at the meeting. He has been a really hard-working chairman, and I hope he felt gratified by the evident interest shown. I hope, too, he will be pleased by the final report of all the extra work he took on.

I am always particularly grateful to businessmen who have many primary obligations that involve not only their interests but the interests of many other people and who still take time out to work for their communities. They cannot afford to slight their own interests, and when they do civic, charitable or volunteer political work it is done on time which they might otherwise use for reading, for outdoor exercise, or for relaxation. Their efforts represent a real conviction and sense of obligation to their communities.

We very intentionally put an article (Article 29) into the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that reads, in part:

  1. "(1). Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.

  2. "(2). In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society."

This is very simply what every man lives up to who gives of his time to promote public interest in any field. And I want, therefore, to publicly acknowledge here the contribution made by Mr. Jacob Blaustein and Mr. Philip Klutznick, who was the chairman of the Chicago observance in honor of the declaration.

We had a comfortable and leisurely trip through the countryside from Chicago to Columbus, Ohio, during Monday night. The snow lies very thick on the ground and there is everywhere beauty to be enjoyed, particularly when your train moves slowly—if you can forget that you are going to be somewhat late at your destination the following morning.

We were very nearly two hours late in arriving in Columbus, but we had breakfast as soon as we reached the hotel, and we began at once the meeting for the members of the Columbus Board for the AAUN. To our relief the weather was good, and after a well-attended lunch we were able to fly back to New York.

Here I had a small Christmas reunion with some old friends at dinner and later on spent many long hours catching up on the incredible amount of mail which at this season appears with every delivery.

No more trips now until January and, though I like to travel, I am going to take to heart the criticism that was sent to me from a lady who is assistant librarian at the Tubercular Hospital for the Insane in the Hudson River Hospital in Poughkeepsie, N. Y. She told me I should know more about the nearby institution, since I had acknowledged I did not know this institution intimately.

Of course, I have known a good deal about it for many years, but I have never been on the board and, for my own good reasons, I would not wish to be. My interest lies in helping organizations, such as the Meninger Clinic and others, which are trying to keep people out of mental institutions. This, I am afraid, cannot be done by merely visiting the Poughkeepsie state institution.

But being home for a time is always good, for one does catch up with old friends and learn more about one's own neighborhood, which is essential in understanding the rest of the world.

E. R.
TMs, AERP, FDRL