eleanor roosevelt achievements
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eleanor roosevelt achievements
Who Was Eleanor Roosevelt?
Eleanor Roosevelt , in full Anna Eleanor Roosevelt, (born October 11, 1884, New York, New York, U.S.—died November 7, 1962, New York City, New York), American first lady (1933–45), the wife of Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd president of the United States, and a United Nations diplomat and humanitarian. She was, in her time, one of the world’s most widely admired and powerful women.
Eleanor Roosevelt’s Accomplishments
On returning to New York, after completing her studies in England, Eleanor Roosevelt felt an urge to become a social worker. She worked with the underprivileged in the East Side slums of New York City. She taught the children of the slum dwellers dance and literature. In fact, she cared for them and did whatever she could to make their lives better.
She formed a formidable political partnership with FDR
After her husband’s with a paralytic illness 1921, Eleanor was the one who nursed Franklin. Many historians believe that had it not been her care, Franklin would most likely have succumbed to the illness. Eleanor also encouraged FDR to remain active in politics. This came despite FDR’s mother, Sara Ann Delano, wanting him to retire from politics.
Eleanor Roosevelt also took to giving speeches on her husband’s behalf. And with meticulous guidance from political adviser cum journalist Louis Howe, she grew into the role. She remained beside FDR as he progressed from vice presidential candidate (running mate of James M. Cox in the 1920 presidential election) to New York Governor and then the ultimate office of the land – president of the United States.
She was at the fore front of promoting education for girls
One of Eleanor’s contributions to the nation came in the form of the tireless work she put into initiatives aimed at educating young girls. In 1927, she partnered with Nancy Cook and Marion Dickerman to acquire the Todhunter School for Girls. The school prided itself with giving top-notch courses to girls who were just about entering colleges or universities. Eleanor also tutored courses (until 1933) such as history and American literature in the school. A massive women’s rights advocate, she inculcated in the girls a sense of social involvement, critical and independent thinking.
Eleanor Roosevelt As First Lady
she was initially reluctant to step into the role of first lady, fearful about losing her hard-won
autonomy and knowing she would have to give up her Todhunter teaching job and other activities and organizations she cared about. However, after Franklin Roosevelt was sworn in as president in March 1933,
Eleanor began to transform the conventional role of first lady from social hostess to that of a more visible, active participant in her husband’s administration.
The Roosevelts entered the White House in the midst of the Great Depression (which began in 1929 and lasted approximately a decade), and the president and Congress soon implemented a series of economic recovery initiatives known as the New Deal. As first lady, Eleanor traveled across the United States,
acting as her husband’s eyes and ears and reporting back to him after she visited government institutions and programs and numerous other facilities. She was an early champion of civil rights for African Americans as well as an advocate for American workers,
the poor, young people and women during the Great Depression. She also supported government-funded programs for artists and writers.
Roosevelt encouraged her husband to appoint more women to federal positions,
and she held hundreds of press conferences for female reporters only at a time when women were typically barred from White House press conferences. Additionally, Roosevelt wrote a syndicated newspaper column entitled “My Day” from December 1935 until shortly before her death in 1962. She used the column to share
information about her activities and communicate her positions on a wide range of social and political issues.
The Roosevelts had one of the most notable political partnerships in American history, as well as a complex personal relationship. Early on in their marriage, in 1918, Eleanor discovered her husband was having an affair with her social secretary, Lucy Mercer (1891-1948). Eleanor offered Franklin a divorce; however, he chose to stay in the marriage for various reasons, including the fact that divorce carried a social stigma and would have hurt his political career.
Experts have suggested that Roosevelt’s infidelity prompted Eleanor to become increasingly independent and further devote herself to political and social causes. Although Franklin Roosevelt agreed never to see Mercer again, the two resumed contact, and she was with the president in Warm Springs, Georgia, when he died from a cerebral hemorrhage on April 12, 1945, at age 63.
Eleanor’s continued support of the civil rights movement and an anti-lynching bill earned her the ire of the Ku Klux Klan, who put a $25,000 bounty on her head in the 1960s.
Eleanor Roosevelt famously resigned from the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) when it barred African American singer Marian Anderson from performing at its Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C.
She was a leading activist for the rights of women and African Americans
Eleanor Roosevelt was vocal in her support of the African-American civil rights movement. She broke with precedent by inviting hundreds of African-American guests to the White House. She was one of the only voices in the White House that insisted that benefits be equally extended to Americans of all races. Eleanor also worked tirelessly for the rights of women. Among other things,
she encouraged her husband to appoint more women to federal positions,
helped working women receive better wages and held numerous press conferences for female reporters only, at a time when women were barred from White House press conferences.
She played an active role during World War II including chairing the OCD
After the advent of the Second World War in 1941,
Eleanor co-chaired the Office of Civilian Defense (OCD) till February 1942. OCD was responsible for coordinating measures for protection of civilians like special fire protection and carrying out war service
functions such as child care and health. She visited troops on a morale-building tour,
encouraged volunteerism on the home front and advocated increased roles for women and African-Americans in the war effort. Roosevelt also supported the immigration of European refugees. Although her efforts in this regard were mostly in vain,
she did successfully secure political refugee status for 83 Jewish refugees from the S.S. Quanza in August 1940.
She is ranked among the most influential people of the twentieth century
Roosevelt served as the first U.S. Representative to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights from 1946 to 1953. In 1961, President John F. Kennedy appointed her to chair the Commission on the Status of Women and she continued in that capacity till shortly before her death in November 1962. The UN posthumously awarded Roosevelt with one of its first Human Rights Prizes in 1968 in recognition of her work. The same year,
Eleanor Roosevelt was also included in TIME magazine’s compilation of the 100 most influential people of the twentieth century.
Relationships and Sexual Orientation
Much has been made of the outside-the-marriage relationships cultivated by Franklin and Eleanor, both before and after they became nationally known figures. For her part, Eleanor was said to be enamored of her personal bodyguard, Earl Miller. Additionally, her fondness for journalist Lorena Hickok was something of an open secret, the two engaging in extensive correspondence that produced some 3,500 letters.
Eleanor Roosevelt Fast Facts
BORN: October 11, 1884 in New York City
PARENTS: Anna Hall and, Elliott Roosevelt Her mother died when Eleanor was eight. Her father, younger brother of Theodore Roosevelt, died when she was ten.
BROTHERS: Elliott Roosevelt, Jr. (1889-1893) [Gracie] Hall Roosevelt (1891-1941)
EDUCATION: Tutored at home until 1899 Allenswood School, near London, England, 1899-1902
MARRIED: Franklin D. Roosevelt (fifth cousin once removed), March 17, 1905 in New York City.
CHILDREN: Anna Eleanor Roosevelt (May 3, 1906 – December 1, 1975); James Roosevelt (December 23, 1907 – August 13, 1990); Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jr. (March 18, 1909 – November8, 1909); Elliott Roosevelt (September 23, 1910 – October 27, 1990); Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jr. (August 17, 1914 – August 17, 1988)
ACTIVITIES: Teacher at Todhunter School for Girls in New York City Co-founder of Val-Kill Industries Lecturer, writer (including “My Day” syndicated King Features newspaper column for newspaper from December 1935 until October 1962) United States delegate to United Nations General Assembly Chairman, Human Rights Commission Member of many educational, humanitarian, and political organizations
PHYSICAL APPEARANCE: Brown hair, 5 feet 10 inches tall, blue eyes
DIED: November 7, 1962 in New York City-cause of death listed as aplastic anemia, disseminated tuberculosis and heart failure.