Eleanor and Anna Roosevelt Radio Program

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Eleanor and Anna Roosevelt Radio Program

22 December 1948

anna: Good Morning! And thank you, George Ansbro.1 Mother is sitting across from me here in the studio, and I know that she has something important to talk about a little later.

But first, I see that the Chief Investigator in the Brooklyn District Attorney's office says that men just simply "can't take it" these day. That they have no sense of responsibility. Let me explain that the DA's Investigator happens to be a woman! The first woman ever to hold the job by the way. Her name is Florence Quinn Murawski, and she investigates complaints … complaints on everything from big swindles to a bop on the chin from an unidentified assailant. And she says that she has seen eleven men come and go in the office since she's been there. It's too discouraging hearing all the tales of woe, she says … and she adds: "Men simply haven't the patience for this work." She also feels that more and more men are ducking out on their families when the going gets tough and the bills come rolling in. "See what I mean about responsibility," she says sadly. "Too many couples have only a superficial feeling for each other … and," she concludes, "It's an increasingly prevalent mental attitude." Well, I find this extremely interesting, in view of all the drubbings we poor women have had to take lately at the hands of psychologists, sociologists, and assorted experts.

If we stay home and keep house they say we are dissatisfied with our drab existence, unhappy and frustrated. If we try to get out and earn a living for ourselves or our family, they say we're being cheated of our woman's heritage and … again … unhappy and frustrated. Why, there's even a new book entitled: "Modern Woman … The Lost Sex."2 So now someone comes along and says sweepingly that modern man—poor creature—is unstable and deficient in a sense of responsibility! Well, I can't say I whole-heartedly agree with either school of critics. We have our faults, goodness knows, men and woman alike … but I, for one, have learned to be wary of generalizations of any kind.

It seems to me that the best thing we can do is to be as tolerant as possible of each other's shortcomings and just try to get along together as well as possible … Speaking of getting along well together, I am delighted to learn that bus and trolley car operators here in New York are going to ask their customers to "Step to the Rear" from now on in a pleasant tone of voice. And furthermore, they are going to add a "please".

It's orders. Can this be a sign of the times? Why, I understand that in the Army these days, even formerly fearsome top sergeants are now dealing with tender rookies in a spirit of politeness and courtesy! This is truly amazing, but very welcome.

Mother, I read the other day that a man named Dr. Green, the Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan, had made a speech in which he said that the Klan does not stand for hate, that it stands for love.3 Paramount Newsreel has asked you to reply to this speech by Dr. Green. Would you tell us what you think of his speech and of the Klan.

Mrs. R.: Yes, Anna, I read portions of the speech by Dr. Green4 and I simply do not believe him when he says the Klan does not hate Jews, Catholics and Negroes, and that Klansmen are sworn to uphold the Constitution and not to take the law into their own hands. He says they are sworn to uphold the Constitution, but the fiery cross of the Klan is still used to intimidate negroes and deny their constitutional right to vote.5 Dr. Green says that Klansmen are sworn not to take the law into their own hands, but white-robed men are still terrorizing defenseless negroes in the South.6 The Grand Dragon says that the Klansmen believe in brotherly love, but they still meet secretly and wear masks.7 Since when, I wonder, is the smile of friendship hidden behind a mask? The answer of course is that the Ku Klux Klan is just what it always has been—a secret, terroristic, organization, hopeful of enforcing the warped ideas of a few hoodlums on a defenseless minority!

However, Dr. Green's speech reveals that there is something new about the Klan. Intolerance now bears a new mask—the mask of brotherhood. Bigotry has been streamlined. In former days, the Klan was more blunt and made no bones about its evil intentions. It boasted of its dislike for Jews and Catholics, and of frightening Negroes with guns and fiery crosses. But now, according to Dr. Green, the Klan no longer hates Jews and Catholics and Negroes. It believes in Christ, he says, and in brotherhood.

One of the strangest things to me is how men can pay lip service to an ideal like love or brotherhood, while at the same time practicing oppression and cruelty. Hitler probably really did not hate the Poles or the Dutch or the Belgians, but he invaded their countries and killed thousands of them. I don't suppose Mr. Stalin actually hates the Lithuanians or the Yugoslavs or the Rumanians, but the fact remains that he holds them in virtual bondage. So, although Dr. Green says that the Klan really doesn't hate Negroes or Jews or Catholics, I'm afraid that I and most Americans will not be able to agree with him until there is some evidence of understanding and good will on the part of the Klan. There is still too great a similarity between a white nightshirt and a Nazi brownshirt.

Only recently the United Nations passed a bill of human rights. For two years a Committee, of which I was a member, worked on this Declaration of Rights to guarantee equal rights to all men. The Russians, like the Klan, apparently do not believe in equal rights, although they—like the Klan—would not admit this. While we worked, slowly and laboriously in committee to formulate these essential rights, there were frequent disagreements and disputes. When these occurred, I usually tried to set forth the American understanding of the rights of men, as outlined in our own Bill of Rights. And almost always the delegates of the U.S.S.R. and her Satellites would ask: "But how about your treatment of Negroes in your country?" "How about your Ku Klux Klan lynchings?" When the Russian delegate asked me those questions, I had no answer.8 What do you say, standing before a committee of a World Organization, when you are asked about the Ku Klux Klan? You can not excuse it, for there is no excuse for it. You can only say, as I said to the United Nations, that most Americans despise the Ku Klux Klan; that for every hooded Klansman there are thousands of Americans who cherish our traditional freedoms and who desire only to live in peace and brotherhood with their neighbors. I wonder if Dr. Green—who talks of upholding the Constitution—is proud of the fact that his organization was used more than any other weapon by the Russians to attack our country before the countries of the world!

The fight for human understanding and good will is a long and uphill one, but I feel that slowly but surely we make progress. I am not too concerned about the Ku Klux Klan. I think it is gradually dying and that someday it will be only an evil memory like the "Know Nothings", race riots and other blots on our history. But I saw a picture of the meeting in Georgia, which Dr. Green addressed, and something in it distressed me deeply. For in the picture was a little girl, about five years old, dressed in a Klan uniform.9 I thought to myself, as I saw this picture, that it was a symbol of what is wrong with our world, and why we have Ku Klux Klans. This little girl was not born to hate. She would not hate another little girl because her skin was a different color or because her parents were of another religion. This little girl must instinctively love those around her, but she must be taught to hate. And that is one of the saddest things in the world.

If the Ku Klux Klan does not believe in hate, there is much its members can do. If they sincerely believe in brotherhood I know their help will be welcomed in many places. So many people are needed in slums and pulpits … in classrooms and in war-devastated cities … to repair the ravages of old hates and old wars and to build a better world for the future.

Anna: And that, of course, is the most important job facing us all today … and certainly one which directly concerns us all.

And here's another subject of interest to all Americans … Maybe you know that the Freedom Train, which toured the country last year, is in the midst of another cross-country trip.10 It's about at the half-way point: for it began Thanksgiving Day … and will wind up in Washington, D.C. on January 22nd. After that, there'll be no more Freedom Train. Several of you probably visited the train when it stopped in your city … and I'm sure you enjoyed seeing its priceless collection of historical documents, all dealing with the birth and heritage of our nation. I know I did. It's truly a stirring experience for any American. That's why I'm so glad to hear that the Heritage Foundation—the organization which sponsors the Freedom Train—now plans to have a motion picture made of the train and its contents … showing also the crowds of visitors thronging to see it, and including dramatic scenes depicting the composition and signing of such history-making documents as the Declaration of Independence. The Heritage Foundation people say that in this way they hope to make a "perpetual record for the advance of patriotism." Well, it's certainly true that the sight of this precious collection aboard the Freedom Train does inspire feelings of patriotism … in the true sense of the word. And I think there was a need for such a movie to be made … I was in Phoenix, Arizona, when the Freedom Train visited that city last year. And since they did such a grand job of advance publicity on it, every school child was a-twitter with excitement, wanting to see the train.

As I mentioned the other day, I have just been named editor of The Woman magazine, and I've been having a busy but grand time getting started on the new job. It's certainly interesting reading stacks of manuscripts and trying to decide which ones you think readers would most enjoy. There's an extremely interesting article in the current issue of The Woman that I think most people would enjoy. It's titled "Diseases You Can Inherit" and it explodes some of the old theories on what diseases can and can not be inherited.

TRdtr AERP, FDRL

1. George Ansbro (1915–), a radio announcer for ABC (American Broadcasting Company) introduced the Eleanor and Anna Roosevelt Radio Program (Ansbro, 157). For background on the Eleanor and Anna Roosevelt Radio Program, see header and n9 Document 389.

2. Ferdinand Lundberg and Marynia F. Farnham's Modern Woman: The Lost Sex (Harper & Brothers Publishers: New York and London, 1947) found contemporary society "so profoundly disorganized that the disorganization expresses itself in the large number of neurotic personalities among both men and women." However, the neuroses women faced posed the greater danger "because women as mothers transmit the psychological disorientation to the next generation." Trapped between "an empty home and an equally empty life in industry," Lundberg and Farnham's dissatisfied and neurotic women "reject, dominate, overprotect or overstimulate their children in an attempt to right the balance in their own disordered lives" (Margaret Mead, "Dilemmas the Modern Woman Faces," NYT, 26 January 1947, BR18).

3. Dr. Samuel Green (1890–1949), an optometrist, became a member of the Ku Klux Klan in the early 1920s. He rose through the ranks of the organization until its temporary ebb during WWII. In 1946 the Klan reorganized under the new name, the Association of Georgia Klans, and Green became its leader. As imperial wizard, Green attempted to revive the Klan by advertising it as an organization that stood for family, church, and brotherhood rather than hate and violence. His approach managed to raise Klan membership, but the political power that Klansmen had enjoyed in the 1920s eluded Green and his followers. National leaders, local politicians, and Americans in all areas of the country were openly hostile to the revived organization. When Green died in 1949, the Klan disintegrated, until its reawakening in the mid-1950s when the federal government began to enforce public school integration (Chalmers, 325-35; "Green, Klan Chief, Dies at His Home," NYT, 19 August 1949, 1).

4. ER did not retain the Green-related briefing materials in her files and the major print media did not cover his remarks. A search of New York and Atlanta papers did not produce a transcript; therefore, the editors relied on ER's interpretation of them in lieu of his text.

5. On the eve of the March 1948 Georgia State Democratic Primary, Dr. Green and the Klan demonstrated against African American voters in Johnson County. In previous elections, voters in the area had supported segregation, but they had begun to show signs of reversing that policy. Addressing a crowd on the courthouse lawn, with a burning cross behind him, Green said that "blood will flow" if the nation continued to move toward racial equality. After the demonstration, not one of the 400 African American men and women who were registered to vote in the county cast a ballot in the election ("No Negroes Vote After Klan Threat," NYT, 4 March 1948, 15).

6. November 24, 1948, Robert Mallard, "a prosperous Negro farmer," was shot and killed by five or six men in white robes, after walking from a church to his car with his wife and child. Although Mallard's widow asserted that Klansmen had killed her husband, the police arrested her at his funeral and charged her with his murder. Following her release, Roderick L. Clifton and William L. Howell, two white farmers, were arrested and brought to trial for the murder. In January 1949 a jury acquitted both defendants, despite Mallard's wife's testimony that she had seen the men kill her husband. At the trial itself, two of the jurors were called to the stand by the defense as character witnesses for the accused ("Negro Slaying Spurs Inquiry in Georgia," NYT, 25 November 1948, 42; "Widow Held in Killing," NYT, 28 November 1948, 23; John Popham, "Georgians Freed in Negro's Killing; Two on Jury Testify for the Defense," NYT, 12 January 1949, 1).

7. Green and other Klansmen received a great deal of criticism about their hoods during this period. When asked in March 1948 why the Klan hid their faces during demonstrations, Dr. Green replied "'prejudice by certain minorities—Jews, Catholics, and other foreigners. For example, if a Jew found out an employee of his was a klansmen,' he continued 'that man would be fired'" ("Klan Leader Calls Truman 'Gone Goslin,'" WP, 5 March 1948, 15).

8. ER grew increasingly irritated by Pavlov's insistence that the Klan violence and her refusal to accept the NAACP petition meant that American law tolerated Klan violence. As Irene Sandifer recalled, ER responded to a 1947 tirade from Pavlov by saying:

I would remind my Soviet colleague that since we are dealing with [human rights], we should try not to attack each other or our Governments, but since he has in his speech again chosen to repeat many things which I have heard many times, I would suggest to him that he has used the petition of the NAACP … that is over a year old, and that lynching in the United States is deplorable but that it is against the law and when it takes place it is a violation of the law and exceptional (Glendon, 150; Sandifer, 71).

9. ER probably refers here to a large induction ceremony held at Stone Mountain, Georgia, on July 23, 1948, at which more than seven hundred new Klansmen joined the order. "Even small children in Klan robes were present," the New York Times reported ("Klan Admits 700 in Cross-Lit Rites," NYT, 24 July 1948, 28).

10. The Freedom Train transported over a hundred historic documents, including the Magna Carta, Washington's Farewell Address, the Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution, and the Emancipation Proclamation, and displayed them in cities across the country for public view (Gilbert Bailey, "Why They Throng to the Freedom Train," NYT, 25 January 1948, SM18).

Laurence Duggan, Karl Mundt, and HUAC

December 20, 1948, Laurence Duggan, Sumner Welles's former deputy who then directed the Institute for International Education,1 died after falling from a window in his sixteenth-floor Manhattan office.

The next day, Rep. Karl Mundt, acting chairman of the House Committee on Un-American Activities, released the testimony Isaac Don Levine, Whittaker Chambers's nephew and the editor of the anti-Communist magazine Plain Talk,2 gave before the committee's December 8 closed session. The transcript revealed that Levine, who had accompanied Chambers to the 1939 meeting where his uncle gave former assistant secretary of state Adolf A. Berle, Jr., a list of six department employees who "at different times, passed confidential information along," named Duggan as one of the disloyal six. When Mundt was asked to identify the other five people Levine named, he joked, "We will give them out as they jump out of windows." Public records, however, indicated that one of the other five was Alger Hiss, who had recently been indicted by a federal grand jury on two counts of perjury related to his testimony before the committee. That afternoon, the FBI revealed once it learned of Levine's accusations, it had sent agents to question Duggan about his alleged involvement in espionage.3

The Duggan case and the way HUAC handled it caused intense controversy. Although initial reports suggested that Duggan committed suicide, several people who knew him, including Sumner Welles, suspected foul play. Calling Duggan "one of the most brilliant, devoted and patriotic public servants I have ever known," Welles wired New York mayor William O'Dwyer calling for an investigation into Duggan's death. December 22, Whittaker Chambers announced he had not named Duggan either in his meeting with Berle or in his HUAC testimony and HUAC member Rep. Richard Nixon announced that Chambers's declaration that he did not name Duggan "clears Duggan of any implication in the espionage ring."4

The following day, the New York Times editorialized:

The inference subsequently drawn from Mr. Mundt's transcript was quite obviously what Mr. Mundt had intended, which was to show a connection between the death, under circumstances that still are not clear, of a former State Department official and the Committee's investigation of alleged Communist infiltration of that Department and other departments of the Government. There was probably not a newspaper reader anywhere in whose mind that thought was not planted.

What was this secret testimony which Mr. Mundt released to plant that idea? It was testimony by one witness of his recollection of charges he had heard made … by a self-confessed former Communist spy to a State Department official, who did not take them seriously at that time, or since. The recollections of Isaac Don Levine of this nine-year-old conversation he had overheard between Whittaker Chambers and … Adolf A. Berle Jr. … Mr. Mundt was giving circulation to hearsay evidence. If you count his version, it was hearsay twice removed.5

December 24, the day of Duggan's funeral, the following My Day appeared. Later that day, attorney general Tom Clark announced that "the FBI investigation has produced no evidence of Mr. Duggan's connection with the Communist Party or with any other espionage activity. On the contrary, the evidence discloses that Mr. Duggan was a loyal employee of the United States Government."6 The New York Times would print excerpts from this My Day in its front-page coverage of the attorney general's announcement.7

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Eleanor and Anna Roosevelt Radio Program

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