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|Title||Eleanor Roosevelt letter to Anna Louise Strong regarding the Minneapolis strike, American communists, and democracy, December 29, 1939|
|Author||Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962|
This letter from Eleanor Roosevelt conveys her disagreements with statements she had received in correspondence from Anna Louise Strong. Roosevelt tells Strong that she believes the investigation of employees who had been involved in the 1934 Minneapolis Teamsters Strike was basically fair, and expresses her confidence in the Justice Department under the direction of Attorney General Frank Murphy .
Roosevelt emphasizes that she does not exclude American communists from protection under the Bill of Rights. She disagrees with Earl Browder's defense of having falsified his passport, and is concerned by his statement that "he owed his first allegiance to Russia rather than to the United States". Roosevelt rejects the idea that she had made any "implication" about Si Gerson, a communist who had been appointed to the New York City Council: she affirms her general belief that communists who feel a primary allegiance to another country ought not to hold public office. She feels that American communists ought to accept the democratic form of their government and work in an orderly fashion to try to amend it. If they choose instead to work "according to the directions of another country", Roosevelt classifies them as "foreign agents". She does not feel that a meeting with Earl Browder (which had apparently been suggested by Strong) would not alter her opinions, but that she would not refuse to meet with him if the occasion arose. Roosevelt insists that she will fight for the rights of communists to hold their beliefs and voice them openly, "as long as they did not preach revolution and stuck to the democratic formula of evolution" .
Roosevelt does not argue with Strong's assertion that the statements of J. B. Matthews, the chief investigator for the House Committee Investigating Un-American Activities, were untrue. She defends the right of Martin Dies, Jr., the chairman of the committee, to investigate claims as long as these investigations are conducted "in the proper manner". Roosevelt concludes by apologizing for having not stated more clearly what she believes.
Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962) was First Lady of the United States from 1933 to 1945 as the wife of President Franklin D. Roosevelt (as well as being the niece of an earlier American president, Theodore Roosevelt). In the 1930s, she had become a prominent advocate for the New Deal and the African-American civil rights movement. During World War II, she became an advocate for the United Nations, and later served as the United States' delegate to the U.N., chairing the commission that composed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Anna Louise Strong (1885-1970) was an American journalist and political activist throughout her life. After spending much of the 1910s working as a progressive advocate for child welfare, she became involved in the labor movement, and through that movement increasingly identified herself with international communism. She spent much of the 1920s and 1930s living in the Soviet Union, meeting with men such as Leon Trotsky and Joseph Stalin, and writing books about her experiences for Western audiences in an attempt to build support for the USSR. During World War II, she continued to promote the cause of communism, although her support for the Chinese communist movement ultimately alienated her from the government in Moscow, limiting her to one visit to the Soviet Union in the final two decades of her life. She spent most of those years living in the People's Republic of China, befriending Zhou Enlai and Mao Zedong, and continuing to publish books and articles in support of communism until the end of her life.
Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962--Correspondence
Strong, Anna Louise, Communism--United States
Browder, Earl, 1891-1973
International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Stablemen, and Helpers of America
|Geographic Coverage||United States--Minnesota--Minneapolis|
|Digital Collection||Pamphlet and Textual Documents Collection|
|Digital ID Number||PAM0374|
|Ordering Information||To order a reproduction or inquire about permissions contact: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please cite the Order Number.|
|Repository||University of Washington Libraries. Special Collections Division.|
|Repository Collection||Anna Louise Strong papers. Accession No. 1309-001. Box 1/76|
|Object Type||Letter (correspondence)|
|Physical Description||3 leaves; 23.5 x 15.5 cm.|
|Digital Reproduction Information||Scanned from original text or image at 200 dpi saved in TIFF format, resized and enhanced using Adobe Photoshop, and imported as JPEG2000 using Contentdm software's JPEG2000 Extension. 2010.|