World’s Most Admired Woman
It is not by chance that Eleanor Roosevelt remains one of the most influential and admired woman in history.
Guided by a profound sense of compassion, unshakable empathy, unwavering integrity and remarkable intelligence, coupled with an equally profound desire to be of service, Eleanor Roosevelt was the embodiment of authenticity.
Her works, born of idealism and nurtured by a realistic recognition of the needs of all human beings, Eleanor Roosevelt mentored a nation and inspired a global community, completely transforming the ceremonial role of First Lady of the United States.
Still, no woman in modern history has left such a lasting impression for causes promoted, opinions expressed, distances spanned, people spoken to, words printed, or honors conferred.
The Heart of a Humanitarian
Eleanor Roosevelt’s assumed life of charmed privilege was one marred by tremendous difficulty and the loss of both parents by age 10. But, despite the challenges of her young life, she emerged from an overburdened and disjointed childhood to shape a legacy that would touch people in every corner of the world.
A spirit of adventure, met with unyielding curiosity led Eleanor to seek connectivity to the world around her. She purposed to learn about others. She purposed to understand the life experiences of others. She purposed to honor the human race.
Curiosity led her to inner cities to understand the living conditions of people in America. She investigated factories where workers were said to be treated badly, and found unsafe and exploitative conditions of women-dominated workplaces. She discovered classrooms in the poorest areas of New York City with no books – an evident priority of equitable education.
Eleanor Roosevelt envisioned a brighter future for Americans and our youth. She inherently connected the dots – if government could not save the youth who were victimized by high unemployment, disrupted family life, poor education and unremitting poverty, the future of democracy was indeed in question.
“Isn’t the true purpose of education to produce citizens?”
First Lady: Breaking New Ground
Eleanor Roosevelt broke new ground as a First Lady. With abiding courage, she was a woman of “firsts.” First woman to speak in front of a national convention, first to write a syndicated newspaper column, first to be a radio commentator, first to hold regular press conferences.
Her strong and influential voice was widely respected as she fought for equal rights for all people. Eleanor Roosevelt was fiercely determined to bring about dignity, fairness and equality regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, social or economic status.
“I believe you should tell the story of injustices, inequalities, of bad conditions, so that the people as a whole in this country really face problems that people who are pushed to the point of striking know all about, but others know practically nothing about.”
Moral leadership, she believed, was the quality in men and nations that will wipe out economic and political rivalries.
Having lived through her own struggles for peace, Eleanor Roosevelt had a truly comprehensive view of world peace and sought peace among nations. She associated peace with such ideas as social justice, security, equality and democracy.
Her spiritual essence resides today in the hearts of the unyielding men, women and youth who continue to her work through the Eleanor Roosevelt Center at Val-Kill in the pursuit of a just and sustainable world.