His working life is marked by intense application and intense discipline. But democratic society - in it, the highest duty of the writer, the composer, the artist is to remain true to himself and to let the chips fall where they may. Inscribed at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. And Prince Bismarck was even more specific. One third, he said, of the students of German universities broke down from overwork, another third broke down from dissipation, and the other third ruled Germany.
Presidential Papers. The rhyme as President Kennedy gave it was:. For time and the world do not stand still. Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or the present are certain to miss the future. White House Central Files. Chronological File. Series 1. Let every public servant know, whether his post is high or low, that a man's rank and reputation in this Administration will be determined by the size of the job he does, and not by the size of his staff, his office or his budget.
Let it be clear that this Administration recognizes the value of dissent and daring -- that we greet healthy controversy as the hallmark of healthy change.
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Let the public service be a proud and lively career. And let every man and woman who works in any area of our national government, in any branch, at any level, be able to say with pride and with honor in future years: 'I served the United States Government in that hour of our nation's need. The legislation enacted by the Congress, as well as the decisions made by me and by the department and agency heads, must all be implemented by the career men and women in the Federal service.
In foreign affairs, national defense, science and technology, and a host of other fields, they face problems of unprecedented importance and perplexity. We are all dependent on their sense of loyalty and responsibility as well as their competence and energy. Schlesinger, Jr. I do not mean first, when.
I do not mean first, if. I mean first --period. Abraham Lincoln, in dedicating this great battlefield, has expressed, in words too eloquent for paraphrase or summary, why this sacrifice was necessary. Today, we meet not to add to his words nor to amend his sentiment but to recapture the feeling of awe that comes when contemplating a memorial to so many who placed their lives at hazard for right, as God gave them to see right. Among those who fought here were young men who but a short time before were pursuing truth in the peaceful halls of the then new University of Notre Dame.
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Let us pray that God may grant us the wisdom to find and to follow a path that will enable the men of Notre Dame and all of our young men to seek truth in the halls of study rather than on the field of battle. Gleason, Jr. Let this be the measure of our nation. God willing, that goal will be achieved. For, in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet.
We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children's future. And we are all mortal. I know the United States Army will live up to its reputation for imagination, resourcefulness, and spirit as we meet this challenge. President's Office Files. Series 3. Nor will it be finished in the first one thousand days, not in the life of this Administration, nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet.
But let us begin. The first two are beyond our comprehension so we must do what we can with the third. White House Central Subject Files. Nixon talks about our being the strongest country in the world. I think we are today, but we were far stronger relative to the Communists 5 years ago. And what is of great concern is that the balance of power is in danger of moving with them.
They made a breakthrough in missiles and by , '2, and '3, they will be outnumbering us in missiles. Presidential Campaign Files, Josephy, ed. And any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worth while, I think can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction: 'I served in the United States Navy.
And if Bobby died, Teddy would take over for him.
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According to a footnote in Schlesinger's manuscript 1st draft, p. This passage was featured in the Charles Guggenheim documentary that was shown to visitors in the original exhibit of the John F. Kennedy Museum. Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past - let us accept our own responsibility for the future. The times are too grave, the challenge too urgent, and the stakes too high to permit the customary passions of political debate. We are not here to curse the darkness, but to light the candle that can guide us through that darkness to a safe and sane future.
As Winston Churchill said on taking office some twenty years ago: if we open a quarrel between the present and the past, we shall be in danger of losing the future. References the Chinese proverb, "it is better to light a candle than curse the darkness. For he does not stand alone. We have the power to make this the best generation of mankind in the history of the world - or make it the last.
Empathy is a tool for building people into groups, for allowing us to function as more than self-obsessed individuals. I was in China in , at the first party-approved science fiction and fantasy convention in Chinese history. And at one point I took a top official aside and asked him Why? SF had been disapproved of for a long time. What had changed? The Chinese were brilliant at making things if other people brought them the plans. But they did not innovate and they did not invent.
They did not imagine. So they sent a delegation to the US, to Apple, to Microsoft, to Google, and they asked the people there who were inventing the future about themselves. And they found that all of them had read science fiction when they were boys or girls. Fiction can show you a different world. Discontent is a good thing: discontented people can modify and improve their worlds, leave them better, leave them different. And escapist fiction is just that: fiction that opens a door, shows the sunlight outside, gives you a place to go where you are in control, are with people you want to be with and books are real places, make no mistake about that ; and more importantly, during your escape, books can also give you knowledge about the world and your predicament, give you weapons, give you armour: real things you can take back into your prison.
Skills and knowledge and tools you can use to escape for real. And to give them nowhere to read those books. I was lucky. I had an excellent local library growing up. They were good librarians. They liked books and they liked the books being read. They taught me how to order books from other libraries on inter-library loans. They had no snobbery about anything I read. They just seemed to like that there was this wide-eyed little boy who loved to read, and would talk to me about the books I was reading, they would find me other books in a series, they would help.
They treated me as another reader — nothing less or more — which meant they treated me with respect. I was not used to being treated with respect as an eight-year-old. But libraries are about freedom. Freedom to read, freedom of ideas, freedom of communication. They are about education which is not a process that finishes the day we leave school or university , about entertainment, about making safe spaces, and about access to information. I worry that here in the 21st century people misunderstand what libraries are and the purpose of them.
If you perceive a library as a shelf of books, it may seem antiquated or outdated in a world in which most, but not all, books in print exist digitally. But that is to miss the point fundamentally. I think it has to do with nature of information. Information has value, and the right information has enormous value. For all of human history, we have lived in a time of information scarcity, and having the needed information was always important, and always worth something: when to plant crops, where to find things, maps and histories and stories — they were always good for a meal and company.
Information was a valuable thing, and those who had it or could obtain it could charge for that service. According to Eric Schmidt of Google, every two days now the human race creates as much information as we did from the dawn of civilisation until The challenge becomes, not finding that scarce plant growing in the desert, but finding a specific plant growing in a jungle. We are going to need help navigating that information to find the thing we actually need.
Libraries are places that people go to for information. Books are only the tip of the information iceberg: they are there, and libraries can provide you freely and legally with books. More children are borrowing books from libraries than ever before — books of all kinds: paper and digital and audio.
But libraries are also, for example, places that people, who may not have computers, who may not have internet connections, can go online without paying anything: hugely important when the way you find out about jobs, apply for jobs or apply for benefits is increasingly migrating exclusively online. Librarians can help these people navigate that world. I do not believe that all books will or should migrate onto screens: as Douglas Adams once pointed out to me, more than 20 years before the Kindle turned up, a physical book is like a shark.
Sharks are old: there were sharks in the ocean before the dinosaurs. And the reason there are still sharks around is that sharks are better at being sharks than anything else is. Physical books are tough, hard to destroy, bath-resistant, solar-operated, feel good in your hand: they are good at being books, and there will always be a place for them. They belong in libraries, just as libraries have already become places you can go to get access to ebooks, and audiobooks and DVDs and web content.
A library is a place that is a repository of information and gives every citizen equal access to it. That includes health information. In short order, however, she came to respect the value which the public placed on her as a living symbol, along with the often lifetime impression of being received in the White House. Despite her omnipresence in national life as an overtly political figure, she also hosted the annual Easter Egg Roll, dressed formally to welcome guests at state dinners and receptions, toured visitors through the historic rooms of the old mansion, posed for charitable fundraising campaigns, christened ships and planes, opened bazaars and attended luncheons.
She also often greeted guests herself at the White House north portico entrance door, whether they were there for a social call or business meeting. As First Lady, she also chose forms of entertainment at receptions, dinners and other social events which reflected more fully the spectrum of the diverse American popular culture - such as her famously serving hot dogs to the King and Queen of England, and inviting modern dance choreographer Martha Graham to have her troupe perform in the White House.
As a housekeeper, she once recalled having dusty draperies pointed out to her, but felt that there were more pressing matters competing for her time than refurbishing the house. She did take particular pride in her renovation of one room in the mansion, a third floor sitting room which she outfitted with furniture made by the Val-Kill factory which she had founded and managed.
Her interest in the quality of food served in the house was also limited, her husband famously complaining about the blandness of meals served to even him. While she may be among the few First Ladies who regularly cooked - she ritualistically liked to make a large chafing dish of scrambled eggs on Sundays, it was as a sociable venue for her meetings and conferences on serious matters.
As for her personal appearance, she was as comfortable appearing in public wearing a hairnet and riding pants as she was in new and expensive gowns on state occasions. While she sometimes ordered a dress she liked to be made for her in several different colors to spare her what she considered a waste of valuable time trying on clothing, she was also voted among the best-dressed women at different points during her White House tenure and took pride in this.
She also accepted clothes at reduced rates in trade for permitting the stores to advertise her patronage by printing pictures of her in their items. While she might be said to have exemplified her own unique style with signature items such as her veiled and flowered hats and fur-collar neckpieces, she was following popular looks of her era, rather than seeking to popularize her own fashions for others. Although Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt maintained increasingly separate orbits of activities and friendships as the Roosevelt Administration would proceed, they remained mutually committed to each other as partners with a loving past, and continued to share the same general values in terms of how to best get the nation through the Great Depression and then World War II.
They continually maintained a dialogue on immediate and long-term domestic and international crises. After nearly all of her fact-finding missions across the country, she reported all the important details she knew would either interest him or provide insight into the mood of an individual or demographic she had met with, often providing her own analysis of their remarks or reactions.
Despite their largely separate travels, Eleanor Roosevelt did travel both domestically and outside of the nation, with the President, a fact often overlooked. This included tour of national parks in and and a state visit to Mexico, in She especially relished the western national parks trips where she had the chance to engage with Native Americans still living in some regions without being under the observation of large crowds.
Roosevelt would always diminish what she claimed was her influence on the President. It may have been true that she had no greater power to change his mind or sway his intentions than any others in his circle of advisers. As his wife, however, Eleanor Roosevelt could always gain access to, and make her case to him about matters she believed were of great importance.
When, on many occasions, she seemed to visibly irritate him by raising serious issues and others sought to prevent her from upsetting him, she would still compose a memo or note to him that he would give attention and ultimately address. In fact, even when she was reporting to him on an unpleasant reaction to one of his programs or statements or disclosing the disappointing truth of reality, he never took her findings or assessments for granted. While her focus remained largely on policy-related matters, others found that the First Lady had an excellent instinct for political matters.
She famously composed a detailed memo reviewing every potential issue that could arise as a threat to his successful winning a second term and his response to each matter she pointed out required twenty pages. Their family life was also of obvious mutual interests. Despite the numerous marriages and divorces of her four adult sons and one daughter, the First Lady never permitted her disappointments in their personal lives change her strong commitment to their well-being, making arrangements to see them all, even if it meant extensive travel to do so.
When the Roosevelts moved into the White House in , Anna Dall was going through a divorce and came to live there with her two young children.
Both of them would later be romantically linked to the First Lady. In the case of Lorena Hickock, there is an extensive archive of personal letters between the two women that does indicate an intense emotional relationship at the least. For periods during the first two Roosevelt terms, Hickok lived at the White House. Initially, Eleanor Roosevelt opposed FDR running for an unprecedented third presidential term in , but recognized the need for his leadership, as the nation appeared to likely join its allies in the growing global war with Germany and its allies.
To calm the growing discontent and call for party unity, the President called on his wife — who was then relaxing at their Hyde Park estate. Within hours, she managed to get a plane to fly her to Chicago, where she was driven directly to the convention hall. She then addressed the delegates, becoming the first First Lady to do so. Anger about FDR breaking with history by seeking a third term also led to renewed attacks on the First Lady for her activism.
Although President Roosevelt began to shift his focus from the economic New Deal measures to getting the United States prepared for probably entry into the growing European war as an ally with the British, Eleanor Roosevelt did not lose sight of efforts she began in the early years of the Administration. She remained committed to the principals of the New Deal. Notably, this included her interest in living conditions of Washington, D. She had first been introduced to the alley-dwellings of the capital city where many impoverished families had made their homes when she had first come to Washington in , and trailed First Lady Ellen Wilson in her efforts to clear the city of the sub-standard housing.
Eleanor Roosevelt as First Lady managed to see the effort resumed to some degree, but its completion was abruptly ended with the onset of World War II. Her interest extended to social institutions, which then came under the jurisdiction of the federal government since the U. Among the places she visited, Mrs.
Roosevelt made inspection tours of a home for indigent elderly residents and a school and child care center. She determined to have the deplorable and embarrassing conditions made public, to prompt necessary federal aid, leading her to become the first First Lady to testify before Congress on February 9, Here is some of her historical testimony:. Increasingly, the First Lady received letters from around the world seeking her help in finding relatives dislocated by the war.
She also participated in publicity for Bundles for Britain and the British War Relief Society, charity organizations that provided clothing in the war-torn nation. She conducted her work both within the federal government, as well as with private organizations like the Emergency Rescue Committee and the U. Committee for the Care of European Children.
Forced to help refugees immigrate to the U. Despite lobbying Congress, she also failed to help push through the Child Refugee Bill that intended to permit 10, more children a year over an existing quota from Germany. Although the job was unsalaried, Eleanor Roosevelt became the first First Lady to assume an official working position during her incumbency, when she went to work as the assistant director of the Office of Civilian Defense on September 22, While the director, New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia directed efforts to obtain and stockpile fire department and other emergency supplies, in anticipation of potential attacks on the U.
After a period of just five months, she felt she had no choice but to resign, believing future presidential spouses who might also do so would inevitably suffer the same criticisms. Earlier that day, Japanese air forces bombed the U. During the day, within hours of the attack, the entire nation heard the news that all knew would inevitably mean U. It would not be another full day before the President addressed the American people in his declaration of war before Congress against Japan and its allies.
Thus, it was Eleanor Roosevelt who became the first national figure who spoke with the people about what this would mean, in terms of the changes of normal life and particularly for women and young men of enlistment age. Here is her original recording:. Whether as the mother of four sons who were active servicemen, putting the entire White House system on the same food and gas rationing system as the rest of the country, participating in air raids and learning how to use a gas mask, she made certain that her life in the White House mirrored that of the general population.
She had a victory garden planted on the South Lawn — as many citizens did on their lawns. She made frequent radio appeals for donations of money and blood to the Red Cross. Her multitude of volunteer wartime efforts also reflected the war work of American women, particularly in factories and other jobs that had been held by men who were now serving overseas. Throughout the war, in her remarks and writings, she continually underlined the purposes of democracy as the driving force for the sacrifices being made. In both the pre-war and war periods, she especially spoke out in strong language against the tyranny of fascism.
She opposed the U. In turn, both dictators would attack her in their broadcasts and prompted their state-controlled media to eviscerate her in cartoons and editorials. She also kept a long-view on decisions that would affect post-war life as well, opposing FDR, for example, who supported the construction of temporary housing structures that would be destroyed after their use.
The First Lady believed that structures made to last would aid in later public housing needs. The decision was based on claims that members of the minority group were spying on behalf of Japanese interests and intended to sabotage American defense efforts. The First Lady initially voiced her vigorous protest to the plan in public, and soon enlisted the Attorney General to fight the policy with the President.
With public sentiment vigorously anti-Japanese, however, she lost her case, focusing then on their processing, making as certain as she could that they were evacuated from their homes with a semblance of dignity, and that families were kept together. Rapidly, she intervened with the War Relocation Authority to begin helping individuals to secure early releases from the camps.
In April , she visited one camp in Arizona on the urging of FDR when demonstrations were held there. By November of that year, her disgust and shame at the camps seemed to have had some influence on FDR for he approved plans to begin letting individuals be given exit permits, though he maintained the general policy until after he had won his fourth presidential election, in As early as , Eleanor Roosevelt was receiving word directly from friends in Europe about the increasing mistreatment, harassment and threats to Jews by the rise to power of Adolf Hitler.
While she continued to try and facilitate refugee status for individuals, she found resistance within the State Department to support of the Wagner-Rogers Bill that would have permitted Jewish children to emigrate to the United States. As she learned directly of the systematic murder of Jews began, the First Lady was unsuccessful in convincing her husband to make their rescue a priority of war.
Still, she did not refrain from seeking to raise American public attention to the crisis, joining with Jewish-American leaders in their speaking tours and attending a benefit performance intended to raise sympathy for the victims who remained in concentration camps. Despite her lobbying in favor of women workers receiving the same pay for the same work done by their male co-workers, however, she was unable to prompt any federal law ensuring this.
She continued to serve as a point of help to those women who found themselves discriminated against in either industry or the service, such as her investigating discrimination against individual African-Americans at a Women's Auxiliary Army Corps base in Des Moines, Iowa. Perhaps the one piece of legislation that she influenced which had the greatest and most lasting impact was the Fair Employment Practices Commission.
Philip Randolph demanded through her that the President that racially discriminatory policies in the defense industry and the armed forces desegregated. Otherwise, they threatened to call a massive protest march in Washington. In turn, the protest plans were canceled. Eleanor Roosevelt had felt strongly that the Armed Forces should be desegregated, but short of that, she did all she could on behalf of individual servicemen who alerted her to cases of discrimination.
She also sought ways to illustrate the equal bravery and competence of African-Americans in the service. Perhaps her single greatest contribution in this area was her simple appearance in a photograph as black pilots flew her in a plane. In no uncertain terms, however, did Eleanor Roosevelt accept the legitimacy of segregated armed services: she directly equated American racism with Nazi Aryanism.
Having served as honorary vice chair of the Red Cross since her first year as First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt became increasingly involved in recommending internal improvements to the organization and publicly leading blood donation and fundraising drives during the war. Invited by the Queen of England to review the wartime work of English women, Eleanor Roosevelt went to England from October 21 to November 17, , making her the first incumbent First Lady to a make lengthy trip outside of the U. She visited U. She also became the first First Lady to broadcast a message to foreign people, delivering a radio address on the BBC.
She made her second international trip from August 17 to September 24, as a representative of the Red Cross, to the South Pacific islands, New Zealand and Australia. She went not only to also assess the unique tropical conditions the servicemen endured but also improve relations with the Australian government. She would see about , American servicemen at bases and hospitals, including a stop at Guadalcanal. When she made her third wartime overseas trip from March , , to bases in the Caribbean basin, Central and South America, she did not wear the uniform.
During this third wartime trip, the American First Lady also visited the nation of Brazil for three days. She makes a point about American democracy in action at the end:. In large part as a result of her international trips to visit U. She carried on personal correspondence with them but also following up on their reports of problems or irregularities in the system. She also reviewed the routine letters sent by the President to families of the military who were killed in action and had them redrafted with a more humane tone. Like presidential daughters dating back to Martha Jefferson Randolph, Anna Roosevelt Dall Boettiger [Halstead], served for a period of several months as an unofficial surrogate First Lady.
Unlike other First Daughters who assumed entirely the public role of hostess at White House events like state dinners and receptions, the duties assumed by Anna Roosevelt were both wider and narrower in scope. At the same time, FDR had grown even more dependent upon the companionship of a personal aide and assistant, following the death of his devoted secretary and friend Missy Lehand.
Thirty-eight years old at the time she moved from her home in Seattle, Washington, it was the second time she made the White House her home, and under similar circumstances. In , her divorce from Dall was finalized. A year later she married Clarence J. Boettiger, a divorced journalist and publisher of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and by him had one son John, born in Eleanor Roosevelt visited her daughter and her family on the West Coast on several occasions.
Other than several private parties for young people, and the small-scale, private entertaining of several members of European royal families who had sought refuge from the Third Reich invasion of their nations, there were no large state dinners or ceremonies at the White House. Instead, the President would have a few friends and close advisers join him for dinners. The arrangement seemed, at least initially, to suit Eleanor Roosevelt who was unburdened of this responsibility and able to continue her focus on war work.
When the First Lady returned from her trip to the Caribbean Basin, South and Central America and sought to lobby her weary husband on problems affecting members the armed services, Anna Roosevelt found herself in the position of having to keep her mother away from her father to protect him from becoming upset. This created a natural friction between the mother and daughter. After his death, Anna Roosevelt confessed this to her mother. Eleanor Roosevelt was wounded by the betrayal and created a definitive breach between them.
Although she assumed the positions of columnist, executive editor, and publisher, by the endeavor failed and Anna Roosevelt returned to New York. There she and her mother healed their breach and co-hosted a radio show for a year, until September of She then returned to her work as a magazine editor and freelance writer. That same year she divorced her husband, who committed suicide in In , Anna Roosevelt married for a third time, to doctor James A.
Halstead and pursued a degree in social work at UCLA. In her third marriage, Anna Roosevelt merged her professional experiences with the work of her husband, assuming public relations leadership at medical institutions where her husband worked, from Syracuse to Iran to Kentucky to Michigan. Relocating to New York state, she died of throat cancer in and was buried in a Roosevelt family cemetery not far from her parents. As events proved, she was entirely incorrect. She continued to be a familiar public figure in national life, writing books, her newspaper and magazine columns, moving her commentaries from radio to television, and delivering speeches.
Her activities were largely in the areas of international peace and civil rights. She would assume political positions in jobs and commissions focused on issues of domestic and international consequence, all in an appointive rather than elective position. She completed the process of removing those items and furnishings that she did not believe had historical significance and were of personal value to her and her children.
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Although her husband had established the Franklin D. While honors would soon come to her as a result of her own endeavors and achievements after her White House years, Mrs. In her immediate years of widowhood, Eleanor Roosevelt was on hand to welcome world leaders who came to pay their respects at the burial place of the late president.
She also continued to keep his Scottie Fala as her own personal companion, the dog remaining an object of global interest and affection. Although she always considered Val-Kill her true home and where she especially enjoyed entertaining friends during the summer, conducting meetings with political and other famous figures, and hosting family holiday gatherings, the former First Lady largely kept her base of operations in a series of New York City residences. Her Val-Kill home would be declared a National Historic Site in , the centennial of her birth and be opened to the public as a museum.
With her proven dedication to global peace, Eleanor Roosevelt accepted the appointment by President Harry Truman to serve as the only woman among the five American delegates to the newly-created United Nations in December of She was in attendance at the historic first meeting of the institution in London, in January of Eleanor Roosevelt became an unrelenting advocate for millions of oppressed and tyrannized peoples, calling on European colonial powers to grant independence to countries they conquered, advocating the creation of Israel as a Jewish homeland which was a view that had evolved from her earlier lack of support for Zionism , and reminding the free world of the oppressions suffered by those who lived under repressive communist and socialist rule.
She stood firmly against the Soviets by pressing for the resettlement of refugees whom that nation claimed were political enemies of the state and must be repatriated. Her leadership denied the Soviet intentions denied in the General Assembly. Certainly, the most enduring legacy of her life was her drafting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a result of her being initially assigned to the Social, Humanitarian and Culture Committee at the U. In her later capacity as the Human Rights Commission chair, she presented the declaration to the U.
General Assembly on 10 December , which then passed it. In this recording, she reads a portion of it:. Despite losing her job when the Republicans regained the White House in , she proved her commitment to her belief in the U.
In this role, she espoused the values of the U. Although she resisted various suggestions that she run for public office herself, Eleanor Roosevelt remained deeply enmeshed in national Democratic Party activities, becoming one of the most powerful figures within it — though without title or salary. She was disappointed that he had not continued to fight for health care coverage once it was defeated and for his support of the anti-union Taft-Hartley Bill, which she opposed.
Her support for and attendance at the first convention of the liberal anti-communist organization Americans For Democratic Action, founded in January , gave it the necessary prestige to establish itself as a powerful organization. Eleanor Roosevelt attended and addressed the National Democratic Conventions in and in support of Adlai Stevenson, and in in support of John F. She defied the threats of the Ku Klux Klan to deliver a speech to activists at the Highlander Folk School in Tennessee, and visited civil rights worker incarcerated for participating in protests.
She criticized the Eisenhower Administration as being too passive in the civil rights struggle and helped fundraise for those civil rights activists who employed nonviolent civil disobedience, most notably doing so with Martin Luther King, Jr. She also proved instrumental in helping to make permanent the wartime Fair Employment Practices Committee that outlawed racial discrimination in federal employment or that with federal contractors. It was not just the rights of African-Americans that continued to concern her.
Increasingly pro-labor, the former First Lady served as the co-chair of a fundraiser for striking union members, organized by the National Citizens Political Action Committee. Eleanor Roosevelt testified a last time before Congress in April in support of legislation that would guarantee gender pay equity.
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She also came to eventually support the Equal Rights Amendment, dropping her previous reservations about it. Having no illusions about the human cost of the communist system, Eleanor Roosevelt viewed Soviet and Eastern European leaders and their intentions with a jaundiced eye, but believed strongly that continuing dialogue with them was vital. She was a leading and, at times, lone voice of concern about civil liberties as Senator Joseph McCarthy conducted his hearings seeking out those who might have communist sympathies within the government.
Both in her capacity as a UN representative and with her status as a former First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt spent much of the twenty-two years between leaving the White House and her death in global travel. In the immediate postwar years, she toured refugee camps of displaced Jews in the former Nazi Germany and of Palestinians in Jordan who had been displaced by the creation of Israel. Some later discerned that she would have vigorously opposed the increased American military presence in Vietnam under Democratic presidents John F.
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Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, because she did not believe that France should seek to reclaim its colonial hold on the three Indochinese nations. In all of these nations, she met not only with leaders, even if it proved to be contentious, but also with the everyday people. She found was particularly beloved in India and Pakistan because of her strong stand in favor of racial equality in the United States.
In , she visited the site of Hiroshima, where the Americans had dropped the atomic bomb. As the widow of the Allied wartime leader, she felt it particularly important to make trips to the former Axis nations of Japan and Germany and to personally visit young schoolchildren in both an effort of healing of the recent past and encourage the democracy of their future.
Despite her reluctance to support him as the Democratic nominee for the presidency in , she took an avid interest in several initiatives of his Administration. She returned to interview him on two occasions for her regular radio broadcast. Here is a recording of her conversation with President Kennedy on the role and status of women in American society:.
From what is known about the varying degrees of contact that First Ladies have had with one another, it appears that Eleanor Roosevelt. Shortly before Mrs. They had met on several occasions at Democratic Party events in the late s, when Senator Kennedy was gearing up for his presidential run. At the time, however, Mrs. Kennedy felt resentment towards political attacks Mrs. Roosevelt had made on her husband.
Of all her predecessors, Eleanor Roosevelt had been closest to, and knew personally her aunt Edith Roosevelt. While the elderly woman did not visit her niece in the White House, they did maintain a strong correspondence with each other. Among her earliest predecessors, Eleanor Roosevelt met Frances Cleveland on several occasions during the FDR presidency, and the latter, a loyal Democratic, was an outspoken supporter of both him and his wife.