The First LadyMeanwhile....her spirit lives with the rest of the ghostly sights in New York.
Upon moving to the White House in 1933, Eleanor Roosevelt informed the nation that they should not expect their new first lady to be a symbol of elegance, but rather "plain, ordinary Mrs. Roosevelt." Despite this disclaimer, she showed herself to be an extraordinary First Lady.
In 1933, Mrs. Roosevelt became the first, First Lady to hold her own press conference. In an attempt to afford equal time to women--who were traditionally barred from presidential press conferences--she allowed only female reporters to attend. In 1939, the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) refused to allow Marion Anderson, an African American singer, to perform in their auditorium. In protest, Mrs. Roosevelt resigned her membership in the DAR.
Throughout Franklin D. Roosevelt's presidency, Eleanor traveled extensively around the nation, visiting relief projects, surveying working and living conditions, and then reporting her observations to the President. She was called "the President's eyes, ears and legs" and provided objective information to her husband. When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and the United States entered WWII, Mrs. Roosevelt made certain that the President did not abandon the goals he had put forth in the New Deal. She also exercised her own political and social influence;
She became an advocate of the rights and needs of the poor, of minorities, and of the disadvantaged. The public was drawn in by the First Lady's exploits and adventures which she recounted in her daily syndicated column, "My Day". She began writing the column in 1935 and continued until her death in 1962.
During the war, she served as Assistant Director of Civilian Defense from 1941 to 1942 and she visited England and the South Pacific to foster good will among the Allies and to boost the morale of U.S. servicemen overseas.
"First Lady of the World"
After President Roosevelt's death on April 12, 1945, Mrs. Roosevelt continued in her public life. President Truman appointed her to the United Nations General Assembly. She served as chair of the Human Rights Commission and worked tirelessly to draft the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which was adopted by the General Assembly on December 10, 1948.
In 1953, Mrs. Roosevelt dutifully resigned from the United States Delegation to the United Nations, so that incoming Republican President Dwight Eisenhower could fill the position with an appointee of his own choosing. She then volunteered her services to the American Association for the U. N., and was an American representative to the World Federation of the U. N. Associations. She later became the chair of the Associations' Board of Directors. She was reappointed to the United States Delegation to the U. N. by President Kennedy in 1961. Later he appointed her to the National Advisory Committee of the Peace Corps and chair of the President's Commission on the Status of Women. Mrs. Roosevelt became a recognized leader in promoting humanitarian efforts.