Eleanor Roosevelt: The Introvert Who Became a Vocal Heroine

By Jake Schroeder
Gaopfegkqdcr8prg Q6hdnxjbtv5mlwwtrf2oa608ghlwhn3lfrl9dupsfvu60035zfrrkkk Clnposrdi2ysxm Df0cpxooonxlw0grwmtewetaxvxou Axnoj83k41y68rwbfnnr567gtww
Photo Courtesy: Bettmann/Contributor/Getty Images

When we think of heroes and heroines, we often think of fictional superheroes with superhuman strength or those who gain their power from a great mentor. Webster’s Dictionary defines a hero as "a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements or noble qualities."

A true hero or heroine is someone who beats the odds to rise above negative circumstances, someone who leads others with courage and honor. Much like her presidential husband, Eleanor Roosevelt possessed all those qualities.

Advertisement

Born to Serve the Public

Anna Eleanor Roosevelt was born on October 11, 1884, into one of the richest families in New York. Her strength and character were formed throughout her life through many failures, losses and tests of courage. She was directly related to Theodore Roosevelt and was primed to live a life in politics.

7fle9qvxijavz5htadifmf65hyz5ibcv7o0jnswhsw2wnyzw Qay Zbkgrtdsbwfjbktzrptkmkc X252tc8wydlo7mh Bkua1wkz6apsolvrteswc96ow4k9hq4eq7hsymf1v5qofxjc2nnra
Photo Courtesy: The Franklin D. Roosevelt Library Archives

Eleanor was surrounded by socialites and politicians who viewed wealth and beauty as top priorities. She wasn’t beautiful, but she was smart and curious. Unfortunately, in the inner circles of her family and in society, her looks and her shy, introverted behavior were a disappointment.

Not the Child Her Mother Wanted

Eleanor's mother, Anna Hall Roosevelt, believed in the Victorian Era philosophy that beauty and good breeding were critically important for a young woman. Beauty helped a woman secure a "perfect" life in the New York social scene, and her mother was disappointed that Eleanor lacked the physical beauty typically equated with success.

Nqprajr8expowivynk Soqu6bhubvlf M4lfs2yf17gu A88hkpilnmkmju4mqhmvoe21ddf7sfekpaxr3bmehjmw6u4lx Wiqzjjpkfayytzk1reogwj6w47cqnqslt8vy9szeth130jeupa
Photo Courtesy: The Franklin D. Roosevelt Library Archives

Eleanor was shy with large, droopy eyes and prominent front teeth, and her mother frequently made her opinion of Eleanor's homely looks known. By the age of 7, the young girl had accepted herself as a failure in her mother's eyes. Fortunately, Eleanor's father saw her quite differently.

The Pressure of Political Bloodlines

As the younger brother of President Theodore Roosevelt, Elliott Roosevelt was also considered a disappointment to his family. He was often found lacking when compared to his famous older brother. In retaliation, he squandered his inheritance and hid his pain with alcohol.

Jhhdyl1bb2lax1s8ax3nqdla1nokpws0ckdz0 Hmrxlpkabo9atbdnbthoqixces B5yxy3uduvvqtd1rasqwobpiijoj5fiy8gkg Hjhpksnvnle6qpqfgt78tckglr Ol07xpqvvbjt31a
Photo Courtesy: The Franklin D. Roosevelt Library Archives

When Elliott was grounded and sober, he was the affectionate, loving father Eleanor so desperately needed. His nickname for her was "Little Nell," from a character in The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens. Her father made her feel seen and loved. Unfortunately, his alcoholism often got the best of him and left Eleanor with broken promises.

Advertisement

Determined to Be of Service

Eleanor learned early in life the importance of service to others, partially because making herself useful to her mother earned her some acceptance. Her mother was often ill with migraines, and young Eleanor learned to care for her by rubbing her temples to alleviate the pain.

Ozmfdkddozeekviri2jcws3wmmaizo17syulxesful59ocnz Heimu P4zbri Rn4gpfdn64goobbvy0i C2rp4l1on2lii32pgml6xyw89sj Sna5o2pxtjcpbna Frb Xio3flh5vdk6ww W
Photo Courtesy: The Franklin D. Roosevelt Library Archives

Anna became ill with diphtheria, a deadly sore throat and a nasal infection that took her life when Eleanor was only 8. Eleanor's relationship with her mother had always been strained, but the loss was still difficult. It was the sudden passing of her beloved father less than two years later that truly made Eleanor feel devastated and alone.

Always Afraid of Something

Eleanor and her siblings were sent to live with their religious, strict maternal grandmother. She retreated into her world of books and felt safe and at peace when reading or quietly volunteering.

Xfh Vgpjeh 4ldsm6 Ko6xjfs06pahy Hjpw9dl Aurjfin0s6febut6l74xvgjliol49afnwicslps Ew3dtnj Bngj9uzbkebp8aqfjuidbpz2k3waiui0hpwthcldaeuqirsrfrgez Feg
Photo Courtesy: The Franklin D. Roosevelt Library Archives

The outside world felt out of control for Eleanor. In her autobiography, she stated that she was "always afraid of something: of the dark, of displeasing people, of failure. Anything I accomplished had to be done across a barrier of fear." This would become a strong theme throughout her life: crossing a barrier of fear to become the woman she was destined to be.

The Wallflower Blossomed

After many years of turmoil, her grandmother sent 15-year-old Eleanor to study in England at Allenswood Boarding Academy. Her grandmother believed she would only succeed in the world if she were educated like her mother.

Nojhr Iw0uhmga1iukbqci3zj2oyhyltobw6mi7o 4e44elewvwcmgp5x72 4om Qgthbwsxcmovk53azff Trc 3gczkiy97gu73ovouljgahyl0ndcsxs8bqmqfnlowvdl69fo5qdzxcqitq
Photo Courtesy: The Franklin D. Roosevelt Library Archives

The school was run by Mademoiselle Souvestre, who was the headmaster and teacher. She saw something more in Eleanor than an introverted wallflower, and she soon became her mentor. She helped Eleanor blossom and encouraged her potential. It was at Allenswood that Eleanor finally moved past her childhood and started to become her own person.

Advertisement

Valued for Her Strengths

Life at Allenswood redefined Eleanor's sense of herself. During her childhood, she was met with criticism for her looks, which crippled her self-esteem and led to issues with anxiety and fear. At Allenswood, Eleanor was valued for her kindness, intelligence and personality. She was also recognized by her classmates for her loyalty and volunteer work.

Ii96q5wr3cdg5bu2inqaqjaragho1zosjcbs96ndc4ecsjqp Ebaggodzhaud42c Gkzrxafs8yb2njtop3fq8gwqdjd Xtuphxhbw Owbdr Ra Qwfyexfykzoncjkk1imfwyd Qvhkaexzag
Photo Courtesy: The Franklin D. Roosevelt Library Archives

Eleanor thrived at the school and found companionship with her classmates, who trusted her wisdom and intelligence. Her independence, curiosity and intellect were encouraged. Her time at Allenswood proved to be a huge time of growth and prepared her for what was to come.

Awkward and Uneasy at Big Events

Eleanor often shunned large social gatherings. During the holidays, her grandmother often hosted large gatherings where friends and family would gather. The women were expected to dress the part in beautiful gowns with their hair in updos to represent the Victorian Era beauties they aspired to be.

0gpjquf5vcqwzfpgxn9idk3f3k9j6o Bewxwkiioqhefeetmsjik07x1ph1oi5ufyqn2phnvcbspdd Vanyrbzi99lhduuzavxe4fbp60eijcz9oxhglnbpsy6skgvjn Su09nmaivsbnkb9dq
Photo Courtesy: The Franklin D. Roosevelt Library Archives

Eleanor often felt uncomfortable and out of place at these huge gatherings. She felt overdressed and disliked being judged for her looks and not for her intellect. Even though she loved to dance, she felt awkward dancing in a crowd. During one specific holiday gathering, Eleanor's fate was changed forever.

A Dance with Destiny

Although dancing made Eleanor feel awkward and amplified her shyness, it was a dance with one particular young man that changed the course of her life. Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a gentleman with a kind smile and honorable intentions. When he approached her to introduce himself, he asked her to dance.

Kot Vcknuebgrjt2la44iizktdj Zukuhcyerx4tcjun5ecargmnbq Dfajdhkojkgzkk8lbnzy4cwqdydfwz59wzzxj1scqfxt4h0vttdkidurq Ky5aebo1uqm6jcbj1raqy6dmja61v28hw
Photo Courtesy: The Franklin D. Roosevelt Library Archives

Flattered by his kindness and honesty, Eleanor agreed. It was during this dance they discovered they were distantly related. A common ancestor — Theodore Roosevelt — made them fifth cousins once removed. Although the first meeting was innocent and simple, it wasn’t the last time Eleanor and Franklin connected.

Advertisement

Smitten with a Born Politician

With a family member who was President of the United States, FDR (as he was known even before his presidency) had high expectations placed upon him. As an only child, he enjoyed the best education, tutoring and personal staff until he was 14. As a grown man, FDR had a reputation as a charmer with great wit and a knack for intelligent conversation.

71h1i3zn6qhp2bme50xfu Fl4h7bcao 1abqqhmq6muuwx Dw5jlbxculudwio Yb2ea8tk0g0mzccsz1vhzpyqhzahpyfqboopixmbmb1fs9kk3pxhro9d7zqujmyyn9hcjauacfom2hba4fa
Photo Courtesy: The Franklin D. Roosevelt Library Archives

In political circles, he was known for his empathy toward the plight of his countrymen. Eleanor was also slowly (although unknowingly) making her mark on politics. Both she and FDR were evolving to become influential figures.

Not Your Average Victorian Era American Gal

It was Eleanor's compassion and ambitions that impressed FDR most. She was the opposite of the Victorian Era beauties that solely relied on their good looks to find companionship. Eleanor introduced him to the horrid housing crisis in the early 20th century and shared the details of the uninhabitable living conditions for families in need of food and clean water.

Rpfibcjrqops29btxqqzmh1cj30dpa1ruvsp Gud93ohwltsf4ruo3yxdubfv4emc8b4niyifnjfswtyoj4yasufnjm5xu4jjhmviwws6mqoo G6iobvp4s5gsij75pxn 07ld Snw282ezlwa
Photo Courtesy: The Franklin D. Roosevelt Library Archives

She was passionate about helping others in need, and FDR was in awe of her. He fell in love with her empathy and her desire to help those around her. At the ages of 20 and 22, they married on March 17, 1905.

An Early Political Influencer

While FDR moved forward with his political goals of one day becoming president, Eleanor stayed home to fulfill her duties as a wife and mother. After the birth of their daughter Anna, Eleanor advocated for her husband's political priorities, and they both became involved with the suffragette movement.

Rtegnuo1bdnyuutme45vosoizf3gg4xdtnap0zstcwrechs A4o8zn7zk2am Ddk Ig7hes2om6gfewoypkjsvqemjt5ie Fjmbf484p5bpzuko4w1monxuhzvwwlt7korzfnoljtv Y3itpaq
Photo Courtesy: The Franklin D. Roosevelt Library Archives

Eleanor explained, "I took an interest in politics. It was a wife’s duty to be interested in whatever interested her husband, whether it was politics, books or a particular dish for dinner…I realized that if my husband was a suffragist I probably must be, too. I cannot claim to have been a feminist in those early days."

Advertisement

A Complicated Relationship with Her Mother-in-Law

As a devoted wife and mother, Eleanor gave birth to six children, but, tragically, only five survived past infancy. She was confronted constantly by her authoritative mother-in-law who tried to control their lives. This new negative figure in Eleanor's life raised all her old fears, self-doubts and anxiety.

9t6m 3lvd2y Sugo7v4tzonaca8ajl288p Ppgn Hxvzg Xzltr0bvg8gqtyej8mjo Vgnblx9ac Lfa Sepjqcwzuu8u1t9bn9hn9xtwgr569yhojxhfntmmlebzhx Z 8b26zadhzvq5hr1a
Photo Courtesy: The Franklin D. Roosevelt Library Archives

As a young woman dealing with the demands of motherhood and marriage, she experienced a lot of stress during this tumultuous time. Eleanor tried to maintain a stable life while her mother-in-law competed for the full-time attention of her grandchildren and encouraged her son to pursue a life outside of marriage.

Loneliness During War

During World War I, FDR was occupied with matters of state and left Eleanor at home to care for their five children alone. Adding to the loneliness, her beloved brother enlisted in the Air Force. This decision devastated and appalled her grandmother, who argued that a man of his stature should hire a substitute to replace him in the war.

Xrymxusdcvpzbiqyry7ma7b7gcn5beaqyoeoku5rem Jbph7ezc6gtvn9frvxtzhrtqdeie7gk Kz2vibdlbauhfronlb2bg77nzzihnn5jp1jo5cua9zzmidgdc3sl6yxdwppcbllyxdt6pmq
Photo Courtesy: The Franklin D. Roosevelt Library Archives

Eleanor stood behind her brother. She stated in her autobiography, "I hotly responded that a gentleman was no different from any other kind of citizen In the United States and that it would be a disgrace to pay anyone to risk his life for you."

Right to a Life Beyond Wife and Mother

Eleanor established newfound confidence after standing up to her grandmother. "This was my first really outspoken declaration against the accepted standards of the surroundings which I had spent my childhood, and marked the fact that either my husband or an increased ability to think for myself was changing my point of view."

Ygmylmlogyezmlroq4mtl Twm9r4b 2 L8nz5pk Sb Uhk8b1aidhdttrzymgwpvmkpchcqcl3taw0x 32oqel4w3pyzwyqiqzlh2neqqoubnn1yn2grlhxj2kllvuu3s0vurodcrmz3 Bfyiw
Photo Courtesy: The Franklin D. Roosevelt Library Archives

After this point, Eleanor actively joined the political world. Her new independence reminded her of her time at Allenswood, where she was appreciated for her intellect and compassion. She wanted to be more than a wife and a mother, and life soon showed her she had other choices.

Advertisement

A Fateful Hire

Eleanor was faced with a tremendous list of responsibilities, including tasks related to FDR's political career, raising her children and fending off her overbearing mother-in-law. She decided it was time to find help to ease the many burdens, so she hired Lucy Mercer Rutherfurd as the family secretary.

1ftafrv6aiquq3wgkaikzhhweaapubzsyr2skl5u5qmvqfcp9echto1uhvq Uxpyn44 Jdg5dxiiahiknvfeo7jfiesatyiqza8vbc56 Zieaje6ajcyp7tmq An0 Mklc0jigxkaeuef6lzsq
Photo Courtesy: Library of Congress/Getty Images

Rutherfurd helped with organization and other tasks. During the summer of 1917, while Eleanor and the family went to their summer vacation home in Campobello, Rutherfurd stayed in D.C. with FDR to help with his tasks as Assistant Secretary of the Navy. She remained working for FDR until 1918.

Infidelity Reared Its Ugly Head

In 1918, Eleanor discovered the affair between Rutherfurd and FDR. After FDR returned from his trip to Europe to visit the American troops at war, Eleanor unpacked her husband's suitcase (as she often did) and found letters written by the two lovers.

Vyr5cfw 0statzrmqphr4fv9xidazy 5ayrflks Qswc1kfjxqv9qkrj6wxqoc2vaykma Asw18m8gxai3bxw Adnsih2y6exizjacfygeltvclzoe2vbb6 Dbgccoeao4 Nkd7lxyj Ckstgq
Photo Courtesy: Fotosearch/Getty Images

The intimate letters had been exchanged for some time and detailed an affair that had been hidden in plain sight. Eleanor was overcome with shame and grief, and she immediately confronted FDR, demanding a divorce and that he stop the affair with Rutherfurd.

Betrayals Abound

Eleanor had been betrayed by the two men she trusted and loved the most, her father and her husband. Neither could control their demons. Her father succumbed to alcohol and her husband to adultery.

Lytrbxuotndiu0ji7ykin6ic Dzm7cxppmhyoraecdlhqup Jd80hgwxwp1ylv9uudrb Vq7ivccw7oc936jrq8hbuanqowz7x K Nfc47l3zdrjzjs0wdswsvitmzddt1hnqxwo7uxqiq4uxg
Photo Courtesy: CORBIS/Getty Images

Although Eleanor asked for a divorce, both FDR and her mother-in-law refused. They emphasized that neither Eleanor nor FDR could maintain a political career after a divorce. FDR was on the road to becoming president, which would allow Eleanor to pursue her passion for philanthropy. Eleanor agreed to remain married, but FDR had to cease the affair and move out of their bedroom permanently. Their marriage became a political partnership.

Advertisement

A Serious Illness Led to Trying Times

In 1921, FDR became seriously ill with an illness that left him paralyzed from the waist down for the rest of his life. Eleanor put aside her anger to care for her husband. Additionally, she had to contend with a mother-in-law who was there constantly, trying to control and prey on Eleanor.

Qlju4aucvhpyb800qobphwcxkvllftfbhtpfaufd2w K4bxwpomrtf89n340 Yg0aovkisb73jbxjzfzptprfolhqm3aobskhc5ljsiaqdcwc7p9bbi7f Jglractyzwfguj3rlsxyzzu48 W
Photo Courtesy: Fotosearch/Getty Images

Eleanor stated, "In many ways, this was the most trying winter of my entire life. It was the small personal irritations, as I look back upon them now, that made life so difficult." It was during this time that she suffered a mental breakdown.

Choosing a Life of Impact and Influence

Eleanor was forced to take a look at her life and decide if she wanted to continue on the same path. She reflected on her grandmother's life and the bitterness that developed because she gave up her passions. Her grandmother had wanted to be a painter and an independent woman, but she stayed home and cared for her family instead.

C Uvsacyye6etlqmlxa3s3njbmurn3phljkdlzfhiy0 W2q9h2lcoo 0i5q0bny7lzj7qbg9zolmgr0godbnpedliglc G9b61a8nz4mubcnn W Huyrkxsmqligwhblojt Yhes0drr7ug38a
Photo Courtesy: The Franklin D. Roosevelt Library Archives

Eleanor decided it was time to change. FDR's affair made her realize that her feelings and passions were being ignored, and it was time to act. She wanted to pursue a life of power and influence and become more involved in the political arena. She was finding her voice.

Right Hand to the President

After a time, FDR regained some strength and mobility. With Eleanor's encouragement, he went through rehabilitation and became stronger through exercise. She also encouraged him to re-enter politics. Eleanor was his right hand, even stepping in for him sometimes during events. Her entry into the political world was slow and steady.

Tw2mdjvoyycm0zkgpli3pk3q0mq99n Dfi2kyzn34nl7camvvmk4zzlzcbicyythrk5q Cp5arwlgo4nf 067qanr5tbbs0muzfclopovrnehrxacfigz2cdcijvc Pff3vnlsi Oecmxkxpiq
Photo Courtesy: The Franklin D. Roosevelt Library Archives

She began attending dinners and conferences and eventually took the podium on her own. Although she hated public speaking, she found the strength to continue to make her family and her husband proud. Eleanor was gaining political power and learning fast.

Advertisement

Discovering Her Strengths

Eleanor threw herself into causes that were close to her heart. She became an outstanding member of iconic organizations like the League of Women Voters and the Women's City Club. She was passionate about inspiring women to pursue their rights and took advantage of her political platform to reach the masses.

2 I1eekawbhvzgk 2opbh4nimtu4i 1okgitutse7x2zdzgdebjgcru63pe Nbnlmuyh8o28i2evbzw 9ujohfyeqmsdlaokpczji37pxmtfd Ongsu2ekt5pap4g A3 8f0afqvhz4owfyl6q
Photo Courtesy: The Franklin D. Roosevelt Library Archives

As she became more involved with these causes, her anxiety and self-doubt began to fade. Her confidence rose, and she became known for her fundraising and organizational skills. Members of these organizations encouraged her, but in political circles, she was also getting some unwanted attention.

Fighting for the Voice of Women

In the 1920s, women were still fighting for many of their rights. Although they had won the right to vote, they were still battling issues regarding social reforms. Eleanor led the way for women to enjoy the protection of labor laws for women and children, and women wanted a role in the Democratic Party.

R5sqmstuf5padblgoz8fz0mt8z7jf0jqdh5qwktjousewfbihblwwk1rrpnt2bh1rastgqnz19pdl98g3jrqq7rw60xrp Ijrcd9jj8z94gpkpyhy6rjjlulbqlpzxxgg5eycitk643aoc3zya
Photo Courtesy: Bettmann/Contributor/Getty Images

The 1924 elections were close, and Eleanor wanted to be a part of the movement. She approached the head of the Democratic Party in New York, Charles Murphy, and requested to choose the women delegates for the Democratic conference. Her request and her involvement were refused.

Demanding and Earning Respect

Eleanor wasn’t deterred. She believed she had the power of the press and her passion for the cause to guide her. She gave Murphy an ultimatum and asked him to reconsider her selection of women delegates before she went to the press. He refused.

Z0pmcz3o98si0upvtoip 9dijthh4qltphcqyuaezlcs5dpzd3y Y7i21k73swowybdtr05hs0 Mktuoakrwkdk7sgboucnfa2ulpgkz6qjgwtygudce8xrsp1etlboxsifjp2wlgz8lzklwa
Photo Courtesy: Leo Rosenthal/Pix Inc./The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images

Shocking everyone, Eleanor took her story to The New York Times. She said "Women must gain the respect of men. We will be enormously strengthened if we can show that we are willing to fight to the very last ditch for what we believe in." Murphy conceded, and Eleanor picked her delegates.

Advertisement

Making a Name and Wielding Influence

Eleanor had made a name for herself and was experiencing newfound confidence. She had triumphed, both for herself and for her husband's political career. FDR was elected Governor of New York and served until his election as President of the United States in 1932.

Cmy0oxjanliufhu4yrouylfh8ifxocvs8ykd7 Jvpovqlrhgiaelcijy6pcw3kw8kh1 A5btc9amdklfsrk7tx1bus8sr2wypwcqdqm7e Osebspo V0ie8lgu9njg64umfcydhvmetmkqmedg
Photo Courtesy: George Rinhart/Corbis/Getty Images

Eleanor continued her passionate fight for the welfare of others. "Franklin and I had a desire to see improvement for people. I knew about social conditions perhaps more than he did, but he knew more about government and how you could use government to improve certain things, and I think we began to come to a certain understanding of teamwork."

A True Power Couple

Eleanor and FDR were the ultimate power couple as the First Lady and President of the United States. They continued to fight for the rights of the American people, even in the midst of the Great Depression. To help Americans get back on their feet, FDR created the New Deal. Eleanor toured the country trying to better understand Americans' living conditions.

Fvuit7v3i0khbyuzwrms18puxbnhzitjemeygcoe8uet2x Umub2bsxlfcaasshudxrtlmobxczlodai9gpm0vnylze7 O8yyvbe2fjajzoalfrf73px5xtab I2akmyqozxrqyvxpxzbfcqig
Photo Courtesy: The Franklin D. Roosevelt Library Archives

She logged 40,000 miles while giving lectures and visiting schools and factories. She documented Americans' struggles to survive in her newspaper column "My Day," which highlighted her experiences and the people she met all over the United States.

From a Place of Privilege, Advocacy for Youth

One of Eleanor's main concerns was youth unemployment and the expense of college, which most people could not afford. "For the young, the situation is extremely difficult. Special privileges are offered them on every side. If they do not accept, they are considered ungracious and unappreciative. If they do accept, they are accused of being selfish, arrogant and greedy and of thinking themselves important and above other people — in fact, of having all the disagreeable traits that we most dislike in the young."

Oyncmxd6pjmvdkamox1y353qth Lpcax8ssl6k77cny9pvw3qk1 1ihkh7f1vramll3c0p Av7an Mjw1itxukcjbisasl7kxz69ummf2xqjrgda3dslu5rcn1frswvqrcete X3wxiqt7wzqq
Photo Courtesy: The Franklin D. Roosevelt Library Archives

In 1935, the Roosevelts created the National Youth Administration. From 1935 to 1943, the organization helped more than 4.5 million youths find work.

Advertisement

A Powerful and Progressive Politician

Eleanor had achieved the power and respect she longed for and rightfully deserved. She had come a long way from the tragedies and self-doubt of her youth. She gained support for her causes and established a path for future First Ladies to pursue their own political causes.

Vvcwcxbpknv3fxp0qelbeckrcml1y2eegbj56zvzfqw6vxosi197gych3nnwj0w7qspejkofzc56si44qb30dsj81cloqmmh83ihsul7r14dtaulh6orsl8qyfpl5rbtozu7mkicgz1oqovp0g
Photo Courtesy: Bettmann/Contributor/Getty Images

She was a powerful politician in her own right and progressive in her causes. Eleanor was a huge force in the civil rights movement and believed that people should have equal opportunities, regardless of the color of their skin. She was the First Lady of the people and was proud of it.

Reacting to Racism

During World War II, racism in America was at an all-time high. The country was fighting within its own population, often segregated by race. Eleanor decided it was time to use her power to fight against racism.

Jfe3nmi6lwtstdwmx0t3t0 Qjr6eemcumbb3gnypwtuzjpxwon4z2wq9 Nqehki On5rp00dsy5uiiabjt Ucr3mkczw9hcjqwxoud Ec4gb 67kp0wd3vsmi5wufkummvsyrd8s1ejwei4zia
Photo Courtesy: The Franklin D. Roosevelt Library Archives

During this time, she led the nation by example and helped showcase African American singer Marian Anderson by presenting her with the Spingarn Medal at the national convention of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). She invited Anderson to perform at the White House for the King and Queen of England in protest of Anderson's omission from DAR.

A Pioneer of Human Rights Protections

Eleanor became a delegate of the United Nations General Assembly and the first female chairperson of the preliminary United Nations Commission on Human Rights. She was awarded the Human Rights prize posthumously.

Vjrs8e6jbzmwmvoqa0evarmpopfkipbnlgwyaikqajr95w2j35fyzuda2txk9rdkvq2wkakyxzl4ho65il6ulnspvcmkmfpg8qk0kyjoangdg46uxnmj32ugjzifuvljxt1lxdhtadygazidtg
Photo Courtesy: The Franklin D. Roosevelt Library Archives

In her own words, "A mature person is one who does not think only in absolutes, who is able to be objective even when deeply stirred emotionally, who has learned that there is both good and bad in all people and in all things, and who walks humbly and deals charitably with the circumstances of life, knowing that in this world no one is all-knowing, and therefore all of us need both love and charity."

Advertisement