I could make several nominations for real heroes and heroines. Since this is Women’s History Month, I decided to talk about one of my favorites, Eleanor Roosevelt.
There are whole books that have been written about her, plus great documentaries like Ken Burns’ The Roosevelts: An Intimate History (http://www.pbs.org/kenburns/the-roosevelts), so I won’t try to summarize her entire life story here. Instead, I’ll point out what makes her such an inspirational role model for me and many other people.
Eleanor Roosevelt was born into prominence, but she had her share of hardships in her family, including mental illness and dysfunction. In spite of those, she used her intelligence and empathy to reach out and serve others from a young age. Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt formed a kind of partnership in their marriage as she became an important part of his campaigns and political positions, not settling for the usual wife-as-helpmate role common to her time. Traveling to communities in the U.S. and around the world was not a PR stunt, but a way to use her talents and genuinely connect with people. After she became a widow, she could have retired from public life, but she kept working. Whether serving as delegate to the United Nations, advocating for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, or supporting the civil rights movement, she made a difference in the world by fighting for what she knew was right.
Eleanor Roosevelt was compassionate, resourceful, brave, tenacious, and always a lady. We could use more like her in the world.
(photo of Eleanor Roosevelt and Human Rights Declaration from Wikimedia Commons, http://www.fdrlibrary.marist.edu/photos.html)
Lynn Lovegreen grew up in Alaska, and still lives there. Her young adult historical romances are set in the Alaska Gold Rush, a great time for drama, romance, and independent characters. See her website at www.lynnlovegreen.com.