My Day

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, 1941richards_studio_d122992 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.

Tacoma News Tribune, December 14, 1941
My Day December 16.1941


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.

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This site is about the way history, in this case of a city and it's surrounds, is remembered or recorded in stories and small bits of memory. It's also about the way images and stories go together, how they inform and enrich each other and how we as thinking people fill in the content between a narrative and a visual document. So here is my city in time past, the way it looked and the people and events that create its character. For more than 20 years I have taught a 5 credit course on the History of Tacoma at the University of Washington Tacoma. With an average of 30 or 40 students a year, each doing a research paper as their primary focus for the course, I have benefited from many paths of inquiry and many researched and assembled stories. Here are some of them in the retelling along with the treasures of photographs and images in the collections of the Washington State Historical Society, Tacoma Public Library, University of Washington Digital Archives, Washington State Archives at the Office of the Secretary of State, Library of Congress, Washington State University, Alaska State Library, and many other archives, libraries and private collections.

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