Russell Freedman's The New First Lady: Eleanor Roosevelt
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Eleanor Roosevelt: The New First Lady
“Progress is impossible without change…” wrote George Bernard Shaw. If there is no change in politics and the role of men and women in politics, then there cannot be progress in politics. Over time, the position of a woman in politics and even in the world has changed and grown tremendously. Many women have adapted to the new position that is now acceptable for a woman to hold and men have begun to adapt as well, accepting women into the work place and allowing the ideas of women to challenge them and prosper in the world in such a way that in the past has not been acceptable before. Eleanor Roosevelt was a first lady of change. Eleanor took initiative to make a difference for not only the many first ladies…show more content… In Russell Freedman’s book Eleanor Roosevelt: Life of Discovery, Freedman points out that Eleanor did not determine that she was a suffragist until her husband gave women voting rights. Even then, Eleanor only decided this because she felt obligated to take a stand (55). Though he knew her feelings of uncertainty towards women’s voting rights, Franklin wanted Eleanor to be with him through the 1920 election because it was the first election that women could vote in and he saw it fit for her to be there (67). Eleanor claimed that she became a “much more ardent citizen and feminist...” then she or the rest of the United States could have imagined after women were able to vote (Fleming 43). This movement marked the beginning of Eleanor Roosevelt’s role as a feminist. Eleanor severed on the legislative branch when she became a part of the National League of Women Voters (44). By doing so, Eleanor began to receive a better knowing and understanding of what it meant to be a feminist. Eleanor also began to learn more about how much women could actually make a…show more content… Eleanor was a strong believer that the way the United States perceived African Americans was one of the biggest problems of the country (Fleming 77). Eleanor took it upon herself to end racial discrimination by making it clear that she believed that the United States could not have true allegiance without equal opportunity for blacks (101). Eleanor’s strong beliefs helped FDR receive recognition by becoming supportive of African American segregation struggles (100). Rachel Toor communicates in her book Eleanor Roosevelt: Diplomat and Humanitarian that Eleanor attempted in the best way she knew how to teach the crowds she spoke to about the importance of civil rights (68).
With racial discrimination such an ordinary occurrence in the United States at this time, Eleanor never considered it as actually problematic to the country. It was not until Eleanor started to travel and meet with the colored communities that she really began to take a stand against the racial problems in the United States. When Eleanor visited the African American communities, American citizens often disagreed with what she was doing. Many people wrote nasty letters to Eleanor expressing their disagreement with the first lady’s decisions (Fleming