Six days a week, from 1935 to 1962, Eleanor Roosevelt wrote a syndicated newspaper column called My Day, covering her work, travels, views on human rights and words of courage in frightening times. On the Saturday following the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 she was in Tacoma where she met with local leaders and bravely spoke out about how Americans should respond to the tumultuous events of the last few days. On the East coast there were calls for her to leave the west coast immediately to escape the possibility of a Japanese land assault. Instead, she met with Tacoma Mayor Harry Cain and a group of young Japanese Americans in his city Hall office while invited newspaper reports and photographers recorded the event. The Washington D. C. press was shocked. The following day, the Tacoma News Tribune published a remarkable Sunday Editorial (one week after Pearl Harbor) and then on December 16, 1941 Eleanor’s “My Day” column reflected on her recent trip and the profound questions of fairness and civility ahead. Here are the two documents. Worth reading today 75 years later.
Eleanor Roosevelt meeting with a Tacoma delegation of young Japanese Americans including (from l to r) Shigeko Tamaki, Shigeo Wakamatsu, Waichi Oyanagi, and Ted Nakamura. December 13, 1941 at Tacoma City Hall.