Tags: Presidential History | eleanor roosevelt | franklin roosevelt | causes

Eleanor Roosevelt: The Causes That Defined President Franklin Roosevelt's First Lady

By    |   Wednesday, 08 Jul 2015 03:25 PM

Eleanor Roosevelt redefined the role of First Lady for all who followed, and today she remains a revered champion of equal rights and tireless activism.

The wife of Franklin D. Roosevelt, the longest-serving president in U.S. history, Eleanor Roosevelt quickly evolved her role from White House hostess to constant proponent for social change. When she became First Lady in 1933, she told the country to expect a "plain, ordinary Mrs. Roosevelt" rather than a symbol of elegance, according to the FDR Presidential Library and Museum.

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She went on to do extraordinary things through her active participation in politics, as she saw her new visibility as way to expand on her previous causes. She held regular women-only press conferences beginning in 1933, which gave equal time to women who had been banned from presidential press gatherings.

When the Daughters of the American Revolution prevented African American singer Marion Anderson from performing in their auditorium, Eleanor Roosevelt quit in protest, library website said.

During FDR's presidency, Eleanor frequently traveled across the country to inspect aspects of the New Deal programs. She often arrived unannounced so she could see more realistic conditions, according to The National First Ladies' Library.

Based on her observations, Eleanor made recommendations to the President. Exercising her political influence, she constantly fought for the rights of women, minorities, the disadvantaged, and the poor. In 1935, she began writing a daily syndicated column, "My Day," which continued until her death in 1962, according to the presidential library website.

Roosevelt notably supported the Tuskegee Airmen's plight to become the first black combat pilots. She visited the Tuskegee Air Corps Advanced Flying School in Alabama, and flew with Chief Flight Instructor Charles Anderson, an FDR library paper said.

Following FDR's death on April 12, 1945, Eleanor Roosevelt continued in public service. As a delegate to the United Nations General Assembly, she chaired the UN's Human Rights Commission. Through this participation, she helped write the "Universal Declaration of Human Rights," a document which she considered her most important accomplishment, according to Biography.com.

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Eleanor Roosevelt redefined the role of First Lady for all who followed, and today she remains a revered champion of equal rights and tireless activism.
eleanor roosevelt, franklin roosevelt, causes
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2015-25-08
Wednesday, 08 Jul 2015 03:25 PM
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