One of Eleanor Roosevelt’s most famous quotes reveals her determination in the face of adversity:
“Do what you feel in your heart to be right – for you’ll be criticized anyway. You’ll be damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.”
Eleanor lost both her parents during her early childhood, and it’s believed this contributed to her lifelong struggle with depression.
Today, she is remembered for her philanthropy, support for minority causes, her fight for women’s rights and her advocacy on behalf of her husband when he was limited by his disability. It’s doubtful if Franklin Roosevelt’s political career would have got off the ground without her support.
But, during her term as First Lady of the United States, she was often cruelly and openly criticised. It’s believed that J. Edgar Hoover was behind a disinformation campaign to discredit her. He was incensed by her progressive views. Yet she bore the brunt of all the rumours and innuendos with grit and determination.
During World War II, Eleanor advocated for greater participation by women and ethnic minorities in the war effort.
Following the death of Franklin Roosevelt, she was instrumental in the drafting of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and became The United State’s first delegate to the United Nations.
Her final commitment to public service was in the role of 1st Chair of the Presidential Commission on the Status of Women. She was appointed to the role by John F. Kennedy following his inauguration and performed her duties with distinction until her death on 7th November 1962.