“A woman is like tea bag – you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water” – Eleanor Roosevelt
Eleanor Roosevelt (Anna Eleanor Roosevelt) was born Oct. 11, 1884. There was no way of knowing how important that day would really be to this country, to women, to minorities, to the world. Her life was not perfect and she was considered very controversial. Her positive impact, however, says much more than controversy that surrounded her or any imperfections that existed. She was a very strong lady who accomplished much in her life.
Most know her by her last name. Most know she was Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s wife and she was, but she was much more than just a wife. First Ladies at that time were virtually just housewives and pretty faces beside the president. Not this lady. She already had established an outspoken way of life when FDR was voted president. She was involved in many things and kept it up throughout his presidency, yes all four terms. She would continue long after also.
Part of Eleanor’s activity including having a syndicated newspaper column called “My Day.” She wrote this column six days a week from 1935 to 1962. She wrote about hot topics of the day such as civil rights, women’s issues, WWII and related topics and more. She was the first First Lady to hold a press conference. She wasn’t afraid to go toe-to-toe with men to ensure women weren’t ignored or treated unfairly. She would hold some conferences for women only, ensuring newspapers had to employ female journalists.
She really stirred the pot when she spoke out against the anti-Japanese prejudice that swept the nation after the attack on Pearl Harbor. She warned against hysterics against minority groups. She was even outspoken against Franklin’s Executive Order 9066, forcing Japanese-Americans into internment camps. The Los Angeles Times called for her to be forced to quit public life because of her stance on the Japanese-Americans. She held her ground. She understood things better than most.
Eleanor may have been widowed, but that didn’t stop her from continuing her work in the public realm. She continued on working with various politicians and working with the United Nations in various capacities. She was awarded one of the first Human Rights Prizes from the UN posthumously in 1968, recognizing her for her efforts.
She was an incredibly interesting lady. She had so much to offer the world. I remember not learning nearly enough about her in school but knowing enough to be inspired. One of my personal favorite quotes by her is:
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
I believe that to be one of the best observances I’ve encountered. It’s so true – no words or actions can really do anything to you unless you allow it to do so. I can only imagine what the world would be like if we only had more folks like Eleanor. She wasn’t perfect, but she believed in people. She worked hard for them and accomplished much. She paved the way for many other First Ladies to step and be active. I can only hope more adopt her humanitarian ways. She became so influential that President Harry S. Truman referred to her as the “First Lady of the World.” I tend to agree. Happy birthday and thank you so much!