07-14-18 Cassandra O’Leary

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Real Heroine: Eleanor Roosevelt

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.


Sarah Raplee said...

She is definitely a heroine of great stature! I've always been inspired by her determination to make the world a better place.

Lynn Lovegreen said...

Me too, Sarah. Thanks for stopping by.

Judith Ashley said...

Eleanor Roosevelt is always included in my "Top 10 Women of Influence". Loved the Ken Burns documentary! and I also admire the way she stuck by FDR when he had polio and was unfaithful. She models that women can create a role for themselves regardless of the circumstances of their lives if they are determined to do so.

Maggie Lynch said...

She was definitely a force to be reckoned with and decided that no matter what tragedy and poor treatment she received, she would march forward. I would venture to say that without her, FDR would not have been re-elected. She lived in a time where things changed so fast for women at the turn of the 20th century and was a huge supporter for civil rights of minorities and women .

If she were alive today, I have no doubt she would be running for president and have a good chance at winning.