“Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people”. – Eleanor Roosevelt
“Justice cannot be for one side, but for both”. – Eleanor Roosevelt
“You must do things that you think you cannot do”. – Eleanor Roosevelt
“Never allow someone who is not allowed to say yes, to say no to you”. – Eleanor Roosevelt
“When will our conscience become so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it”. – Eleanor Roosevelt
“I once had a rose named after me and I was flattered. But I was not happy to read the description in the catalog: not good in a bed, but up against the wall”. – Eleanor Roosevelt
“A woman is like a tea bag – you never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water”. – Eleanor Roosevelt
Eleanor Roosevelt was born on October 11, 1884, in New York City. The niece of Theodore. Roosevelt, who would become president and who married a man who also became president, Franklin D. Roosevelt. Eleanor took on the role of the first lady and made it her own. She wrote her own newspaper column, My Day, advocated for human rights and women’s rights. She held press conferences and after the death of her husband went on to chair the United Nation’s Human Rights Commission.
Despite being married to the president, she was not content to sit back idly and smile for the camera. She developed her own public voice while working with the American Red Cross. Eleanor accepted increasing challenges following her husband’s polio attack that would render him dependant on physical assistance for the remainder of his days.
As her husband took on the mantle of command of a nation, she forever changed the role of a first lady. refusing to be relegated to a life of domesticity, she gave press conferences and rallied people for causes that she held worthwhile. Among the causes she campaigned for were human rights, children’s causes and issues relating to women. She worked tirelessly with the League of Women Voters. She focused on ways to alleviate the suffering of the poor and against racial discrimination. During WWII she traveled abroad in support of American troops. She continued this role until her husband’s death on April 12, 1945.
Despite her plans to fade away from public life, that was not to be. In 1945, then President Harry Truman appointed her delegate to the United Nations General Assembly which she served until 1953 when she became chairperson for the U.N.’s Human Rights Commission helping to create the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, an endeavor she considered to be her highest achievement in a remarkable life.
In 1961, President John F. Kennedy reappointed her to the United States delegation to the U.N. and to the National Advisory Committee of the Peace Corps and chair on the President’s Commission on the Status of Women.
On November 7, 1962, Eleanor Roosevelt died in NYC of aplastic anemia, tuberculosis and heart failure. She was 78 years old and was laid to rest on the family estate in Hyde Park, NY.
Eleanor Roosevelt set a standard for First Lady that has not been equaled. She was a humanitarian of the first order and dedicated her life to fighting for social and political change and committed to bringing the issues that would affect them, to the people.