Fundamentally changing the role of the First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt’s legacy is impressive. Prior to her husband’s election into office in 1929, she had already began her career in social justice. Born into a family of wealth and aristocracy, she strayed from Victorian ideals by working to improve the lives of the impoverished masses. She was an investigator with the Consumer’s League, working to expose the harsh working conditions of industrial workers. A proud and longtime member of the Women’s Trade Union League, an organization for working-class women that lobbied state legislatures and congress on fair wages and work hours, she used her wealth during the Depression to fund the organization. She was even charged with disorderly conduct for picketing with the organization.
Serving on the board of the the League of Women Voters, Eleanor advocated women and engaged and educated them on political issues and the political process. Let’s keep in mind this was all before she was First Lady.
Eleanor used her husband’s political affluence to facilitate her own agenda of advancing women’s role in society. While serving as First Lady, she held a series of press conferences, 348 to be exact, in which men were banned from attending. How freaking badass is that? She knew how powerful her statements were. She worked as a journalist, writer, and media figure throughout FDR’s presidency. The power of the pen gave her the ability to shift the perception of the role of the First Lady and use it as a platform to address social and racial issues.
Continuing her career in politics after her husband’s death, she pressured the United States to join the United Nations. Eleanor chaired the UN Commission on Human Rights, overseeing the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Championing for civil rights, she backed the effort to create the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. Working as a board member of the NAACP, Eleanor used her influence to advocate for social justice.
To write her life with such brevity seems to not adequately describe her reach and influence as an individual. It’s not only her activism and political participation that makes her great, but her dedication and ferocity that makes her exceptional. Enjoy her words, which resonate with and inspire us!
What you don't do can be a destructive force.
I have spent many years of my life in opposition, and I rather like the role.
When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?
It isn't enough to talk about peace. One must believe in it. And it isn't enough to believe in it. One must work at it.
The battle for the individual rights of women is one of long standing and none of us should countenance anything which undermines it.
People grow through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously. This is how character is built.
The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.
Someone once asked me what I regarded as the three most important requirements for happiness. My answer was: A feeling that you have been honest with yourself and those around you; a feeling that you have done the best you could both in your personal life and in your work; and the ability to love others.
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multi-media artist, writer, ~free spirit~, sp00ky brat