Throughout history women have made their mark in a wide variety of ways. Each Saturday I plan to highlight one of these remarkable women. There will be no limit to the areas of history that I may include; however as a guide I will look to the month of their birth, the month of their death or the month associated with their mark in history when I select them. Is there an outstanding women in history you would like me to include? I welcome your suggestions. Would you like to guest blog one of the world’s outstanding women? Let me hear from you.
Today I’ve finally arrived at a date on the calendar to write about a woman who had been suggested to me by fellow blogger, Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin. Meet Eleanor Roosevelt.
After you read my post today, I recommend reading 11 Facts for Eleanor Roosevelt’s 130th Birthday because that is today, October 11, 1884 – October 11, 2014.
There is so much material about Eleanor Roosevelt and I don’t know how to make it concise for my post. I will post a brief synopsis of her life and provide links to sources to read more.
Here are the sources:
First lady, writer and humanitarian Eleanor Roosevelt was born Anna Eleanor Roosevelt on October 11, 1884, in New York City. The niece of President Theodore Roosevelt, Eleanor was known as a shy child, and experienced tremendous loss at a young age: Her mother died in 1892 and her father died two years later, when she was just 10 years old. Eleanor was sent to school in England when she was a teenager—an experience that helped draw her out of her shell.
In 1905, Eleanor married her distant cousin, Franklin D. Roosevelt, who would later become president of the United States. The couple had six children: Anna, James, Franklin (who died as an infant), Elliott, Franklin Jr. and John. Despite her busy home life, Eleanor became active in public service during World War I, working for the American Red Cross.
U.S. First Lady
After her husband suffered a polio attack in 1921, Eleanor stepped forward to help Franklin with his political career. When her husband became president in 1933, Eleanor dramatically changed the role of the first lady. Not content to stay in the background and handle domestic matters, she showed the world that the first lady was an important part of American politics. She gave press conferences and spoke out for human rights, children’s causes and women’s issues, working on behalf of the League of Women Voters.
She even had her own newspaper column, “My Day.” She also focused on helping the country’s poor, stood against racial discrimination and, during World War II, traveled abroad to visit U.S. troops.
For her active role in public policy, Eleanor was heavily criticized by some. She was praised by others, however, and today, she is regarded by as a leader of women’s and civil rights, as well as one of the first public officials to publicize important issues through the mass media.
Life After the White House
Following her husband’s death, on April 12, 1945, Eleanor told interviewers that she didn’t have plans for continuing her public service: “The story is over,” she reportedly stated. However, the opposite would actually prove to be true. From 1945 to 1953, Eleanor served as a delegate to the United Nations General Assembly. She also became chair of the UN’s Human Rights Commission. As a member of the Human Rights Commission, she helped to write the Universal Declaration of Human Rights—an effort that she considered to be her greatest achievement.
Outside of her political work, Eleanor wrote several books about her life and experiences, including This Is My Story (1937), This I Remember (1949), On My Own (1958) and Autobiography (1961). She made a return to public service the same year her autobiography was published (1961), when President John F. Kennedy made her a delegate to the United Nations. President Kennedy also appointed Eleanor chair of the Commission on the Status of Women.