ELEANOR ROOSEVELT

 

     Eleanor Roosevelt was born in New York, New York in 1884. She was First Lady of the United States from 1933-45, during the four presidential terms of her husband, Franklin D. Roosevelt. She was active in social work and Democratic politics even before her husband became president. Eleanor Roosevelt was a new kind of First Lady: she traveled the country without her husband, visited coal miners and factory workers, she wrote newspaper columns and opinion pieces, visited soldiers overseas during World War II, and sided with the poor.

            After her husbands passing, she continued on lecturing and writing about racial equality, women’s rights and world peace. She was also an American delegate in the founding days of the United Nations.  Eleanor completely changed the way the First Lady was traditionally fashioned. She gave a voice to people who did not have access to power. She was the first woman to speak in front of a national convention, to write a syndicated column, to earn money as a lecturer, to be a radio commentator and to hold regular press conferences. However her greatest influences came in civil rights, while traveling around the country, she developed a very good understanding on racial relations.

            During World War II, Eleanor insisted that America could not fight racism anywhere else while accepting it at home. Her continued battle led to greater opportunities for blacks in factories, shipyards, at home and in the armed forces.  She wanted America to “get away from considering a man or woman from the point of view of religion, color or sex.” People loved her, and called her ”the first lady of the world.”  Eleanor became a delegate to the United Nations and chaired the Human Rights Commission while they drafted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. She had 6 children, 5 boys and a girl, although one son died young.  She was a very determined and passionate woman. Eleanor Roosevelt once said, ”No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

Eleanor Roosevelt died in 1962, she was 78 years old.

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