Sunday, December 27, 2009

Eleanor Roosevelt - the Twentieth Century's Most Defining First Lady?

When the Daughters of the American Revolution refused to allow Marian Anderson to sing in their DAR Hall because she was an African-American, the First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt was so incensed that she immediately resigned from the DAR, and became involved in seeing to it that Marian Anderson would indeed sing in Washington; the result:
An audience of some 75, 000, white and black; elbow to elbow, heard Miss Anderson sing in front of the Lincoln Memorial - could this event be among the first stirrings of the coming Civil Rights movement?
When Varian Fry went to Marseilles in 1940 to find ways to spirit as many of the great artists and writers as possible out of France before Hitler got his hands upon them, again the First Lady was complicit in helping to subsidize the group supporting Fry's mission in France; a thirteen month - long mission, fraught with danger, resulting in saving the lives of many distinguished writers and artists and altering the course of arts history.
Eleanor Roosevelt was an integral ingredient in the process which formed these two truly defining events in the twentieth century.



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