Dorothy Tilly to Eleanor Roosevelt

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Dorothy Tilly to Eleanor Roosevelt

14 July 1947 [Lake Junaluska, NC]

Dear Mrs. Roosevelt;—

Thank you so much for a great experience—an experience that will always be with me. All the while I was at Hyde Park, I knew that I was seeing more Christianity in action then I could hope to see at the five summer conferences ahead of me—North Georgia Conference, Lake Junaluska, New Castle Ind., Lincoln Nebr., and Lakeland, Fla.

It was such a privilege to go through the library and the home and to stand near the grave, to be with you and the lovely, lovely children, to have the hours with you and Miss Thompson3 and get an insight into your mail and your answers.

I am sure that I found the secret of "The Amazing Roosevelts",4 when I saw the old Dutch Bible open at the 13th chapter of Corinthians, and realized that upon it—faith, hope and charity, a great family had helped a nation in its crisis.5

Thank you for all of it.

The North Georgia Conference of The Methodist Church met last week. The Stewardship speaker was Dr. Stidger of Boston University. He told us of his connection with the Roosevelt family and said to us that we of the South needed no one to give us stewardship lessons for we had them.6 We had them in the Warm Springs Foundation.7 His story of the Warm Springs Foundation made Westbrook Pegler more and more contemptible. While he did not mention Pegler's name, he certainly answered him.8

Dr. Stidger called the TVA, the "greatest political stewardship way of life" of all times, now spreading or that would spread to the Jordan River and to the flood areas of China and Russia. He paid tribute to both Mr. Norris and to President Roosevelt as men who knew how to take God's gifts and give them to men.9

After the speech, I told Dr. Stidger I was just back from Hyde Park and he asked about you and the "lovely" grandchildren. He does not know David and Scoopy and I think he has missed something.10 He spoke of the other children.

Our Conference, made up of ministers and laymen, made some very strong pronouncements against race as an issue in political campaigns and we pledged not to vote for a candidate that dared make it an issue. This is a part of the religious campaign or crusade, I told you we were launching, in which all denominations of the state have promised to promote. It may not be necessary now since the decision on the S.C white primary. Things are far more serious now in Georgia now.11 I am accustomed to being called most any time day or night, but the calls are tragically frequent now, due both to the seriousness of the hour and to the fact that I am on the Civil Rights Committee.

In the South, when trouble comes involving Negroes, it immediately takes on a political tinge and we are hopelessly frustrated.

We had a prevented lynching at Carrollton, Ga. some days ago. The would-be lynchers were promised a speedy trial of the Negro who had killed the white man. So far, the judge has paid no attention to the case, the Negro is in Atlanta jail, the grand jury has not drawn an indictment. Some of citizens of the county, frightened by the growing threat of lynching just any Negro, called us and asked us to lay the situation before the governor (they living in the community felt they could not do it themselves). The governor gave an evasive reply. Can you see in this, what Talmadge politics has done to the state. Our Governor is afraid to face issues.12

There has been a killing of five Negroes in a convict camp at Brunswick. I am enclosing a clipping. Unless the Federal Government steps in, the investigation will mean nothing.13

I talked to you about the situation in Harris County (the county of Warm Springs). In that county the Negroes are living in such fear and in such danger, the leading Negroes of the State requested an interview with Gov. Thompson. He refused the request. The Negroes, frustrated, have appealed to Drew Pearson and asked him to give the story over the radio. Anyone would regret this, yet when the FBI and the governor both fail, you cannot blame the Negroes for trying other methods.

I am enclosing the Harris County stories.14 All of this has been in the hands of the Atty General. The FBI has made some investigation as ineffectual as it always is in the South.

I am at Junaluska and I began this letter on Monday—it is Saturday now. The days and nights have been too full to have time to finish the letter. Miss Fleeson has been with us. She took us by storm. I did not agree with all she said. I told her, though, that I was afraid she carried the women with her.15

I think I told you, we were having two Negro women and 4 Indian women, living in Mission Inn with us and participating in our school. This, as you know is a great forward step for us. It has worked well and has been so natural that we feel it is the beginning of real fellowship and cooperation in the churches.

I am deeply grateful to you for many things and will be more indebted to you, if you will give us some guidance and help as we try to find our way through these serious situations.

With kindest regards to Miss Thompson and thanks to you, I remain

                                       Yours sincerely,

                                       Dorothy Tilly


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Dorothy Tilly to Eleanor Roosevelt

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