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Christian Witness: Eleanor Roosevelt

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After her husband's election to the New York state Senate in 1910, she performed the social role expected of the wife of a public official. President Wilson appointed Franklin Assistant Secretary of the Navy during World War I (1914-18). This was the same position that Theodore Roosevelt had held and did his best to promote war with Spain. The family moved to Washington. Eleanor for her part pitched into war work with the Red Cross.

The end of World Wat I coincided with a grave personal crisis, the discovery of her husband's love for another woman. Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt were eventually reconciled, but the relationship was never the same. When they returned to New York in 1921 she determined to build a life of her own. She became active in the League of Women Voters, the Women's Trade Union League, and the women's division of the Democratic Party. Her personal emancipation was completed after Roosevelt was stricken with polio in 1921. Eleanor Roosevelt was determined to keep alive her husband's interest in public affairs. Sher was encouraged and tutored by Louis Howe, Roosevelt's close adviser, whom she had nortvapproved of. With his help she became her husband's political stand-in and an effective spokesperson.

Eleanor by 1928, when Roosevelt actively returned to the political arena as a candidate for governor of New York, she had become a public figure in her own right. In 1926 she helped found a furniture factory in Hyde Park to aid the unemployed. In 1927 she became part owner of the Todhunter School in New York City, serving as vice principal and teaching history and government.

First Lady

Eeanor certainly must be classified as our greatest First Lady. When her husband became president in 1933, she feared the move to the White House would make her a prisoner in a gilded cage. But as First Lady she broke many precedents. She initiated weekly press conferences with women reporters, lectured throughout the country, and had her own radio program. Her widely read syndicated newspaper column, My Day, was published daily for many years. Traveling widely, she served as her disabled husband's eyes and ears. Her travels were lengendary and with out president for a First Lady. The cartoonists loved tommake fun, but in a more gentle way than is common in our modern era. One cartoon was completely black except for a miners helmet light with the caption of "It must be Mrs. Roosevelt." She was a major voice in his administration for measures to aid the underprivileged and racial minorities. When the Daughters of the American Revolution refused to allow black singer Marion Anderson sing at Constitutiin Hall, Mrs. Roosevelt resigned her membership and made possible a stirring

performance in front of the Lincoln Memorial. It is often said that Eleanor articulated what should be done and Franklin what could be done.

Eleanor made her one venture during 1941 while her husband was president into



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