Today's Quotes

"Champions have the courage to keep turning the pages because they know a better chapter lies ahead."

~Paula White

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Eleanor Roosevelt

It is hard to sum up Eleanor Roosevelt's life and contributions to society and especially women.  From a woman who once said, "It was a wife's duty to be interested in whatever interested her husband..." to the independent, politically active woman she became in her later years. In contrast she wrote in her final years, "I could not, at any age, really be contented to take my place in a warm corner by the fireside and simply look on".

Her quotes always caught my attention because they are very strong, however when I began researching her biography I began to understand where her quotes came from.  Her mother a society belle was disappointed at Eleanor's "plain looks and lack of manners," which left Eleanor feeling "an inordinate desire for affection and praise."  Later in her youth she was severely ashamed at her lack of suitors.  She married her fifth cousin Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Once she was married her overly controlling mother-in-law controlled her family.

Although she became more politically involved in the postwar era, it was in 1921 when Franklin was paralyzed by polio that he greatly relied on her mobility.  Their political relationship became stronger, but their personal relationship had been damaged by his betrayal with her social secretary, Lucy Mercer. After this she increased her political involvement and got closer to a group of independent, assertive women friends who were involved in various political and reform groups.

Eleanor care about the immigrants, women and the marginal groups. She actively supported anti-lynching campaigns and fought for fair housing for minorities. She wrote daily from 1936 to 1962 in her "My Day"columns about all the issues she was interested in.  The columns were published nationally reaching millions of Americans.

After her husband's death her most recognized legacy was her work on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights when she was chairperson of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.

Seeing her history it is easy to understand her quotes and the conviction with which she said them.  She is an example to follow because she did not let obstacles stop her instead  she faced them.  Not only that but she looked beyond her own life to fight to make life better for others.  I want to the same in my life, to have the strength to "look fear in the face" and do the things that I am afraid of doing.

"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." 

"You gain strength, experience and confidence by every experience where you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing you cannot do."


"A woman is like a tea bag - you can't tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water."


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