“I was asked if I was open to political questions and said ‘yes.’ But I did not know until I heard the question if I would answer it or not. One of the first was, ‘Would I consider that the Administration had done all that it could to give leadership in the question of desegregation.’
“Suddenly I could visualize the headlines which would focus on this much-argued point in the South as against the real reason for our visit. So I promptly announced that I had come here to talk about the United Nations and I thought that my views on the subject of civil rights were well enough known for me not to discuss them on this particular visit. That saved me from any further difficulties on that score.”
— Eleanor Roosevelt in her “My Day” column, recalling her 1956 visit to the YWCA in Asheville
Though reluctant to address race in her talk, Roosevelt had stipulated a venue that would accommodate both blacks and whites — scarce in still-segregated Asheville.
h/t Mountain Xpress
On this day in 1938: University of North Carolina president Frank Porter Graham addresses the opening session of the Southern Conference for Human Welfare in Birmingham, Ala.:
“The black man is the primary test of American democracy and Christianity. [We take our] stand here tonight for the simple thing of human freedom. Repression is the way of frightened power; freedom is the enlightened way. We take our stand for the Sermon on the Mount, the American Bill of Rights and American democracy.”
The unprecedented convention, foreshadowing the civil rights movement, attracts such figures as Hugo Black, Eleanor Roosevelt and C. Vann Woodward — and Swedish social economist Gunnar Myrdal, who is just undertaking “An American Dilemma,” his landmark work on race relations.
On this day in 1960: Denied admission to white Dunn High School, seven Lumbee Indian students, along with several parents, stage a sit-in and are charged with trespassing.
A few N.C. counties operate separate school systems for whites, blacks and Indians. But Harnett County has no high school for Indians and instead buses them to East Carolina Indian Institute in Sampson County, a daily round-trip of 70 miles.
When it becomes clear that the Lumbees’ protest has failed, the American Friends Service Committee arranges for 11 of them to live with families and attend high schools in Raleigh, Greensboro and High Point.
Among contributors to their expense fund: Eleanor Roosevelt.
The next fall the Harnett County school board gives in and admits Lumbees to Dunn High.
— Unlike similar small-town shrines to Jimmy Stewart and Clark Gable, the Ava Gardner Museum is achieving at least modest success — thanks to Frank?
— Confederate money had its day.
— Eleanor Roosevelt slept here, Ike and Tina fought there.
— Yadkin Trail marker overgrown but not overlooked.
— Derek Jeter, 3,004 hits ago.