Happy (belated) Birthday, Eleanor Roosevelt!
We’re still playing catch-up on all the posts we missed earlier this month, including the birthday of Anna “Eleanor” Roosevelt, who was born on October 11, 1884 in New York City to Elliott and Anna Hall Roosevelt. Mrs. Roosevelt’s list of accomplishments include serving as First Lady of the United States, U.S. delegate to the United Nations under President Truman and later as the U.N.’s first chairperson of the President’s Commission on the Status of Women under President Kennedy.
-from the FDR Library
Helen Keller was born on this day, June 27, 1880.
Helen Keller wrote letters to eight U.S. Presidents, from Theodore Roosevelt through Lyndon B. Johnson, on behalf of her work for the disabilities community. You can find more Presidential records featuring Helen Keller here.
Photo: Eleanor Roosevelt and Helen Keller (both far left) and others in Martha’s Vineyard. 8/25/54.
Eleanor Roosevelt’s Red Cross Uniform
ER used this uniform during her 25,000 mile tour of the South Pacific in August-September, 1943 as a representative of the American Red Cross. The First Lady also wore a second uniform made of seersucker fabric during her trip.
Today in History — Marian Anderson Concert at the Lincoln Memorial
On April 9,1939, 75,000 people attended Marian Anderson’s concert at the Lincoln Memorial. Hundreds of thousands more heard the concert over the radio.
The operatic first half of the program concluded with Ave Maria. After a short intermission, she then sang a selection of spirituals familiar to the African American members of her audience. And with tears in her eyes, Marian Anderson closed the concert with an encore, Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen.
The DAR’s refusal to grant Marian Anderson the use of Constitution Hall, Eleanor Roosevelt’s resignation from the DAR in protest, and the resulting concert at the Lincoln Memorial combined into a watershed moment in civil rights history, bringing national attention to the country’s color barrier as no other event had previously done.
Mrs. Roosevelt and Marian Anderson remained friends for the rest of Mrs. Roosevelt’s life. Marian Anderson continued to sing in venues around the world, including singing the National Anthem at President Kennedy’s inauguration in 1961. She died in 1993 at the age of 96.
Photo: 75,000 People Gather to Hear Singer Marian Anderson in Potomac Park, 4/9/39.
-from the FDR Library
Do what you feel in your heart to be right, for you’ll be criticized anyway.
-Eleanor Roosevelt, NYC native First Lady, who now has a monument dedicated to her in Riverside Park.
Share your quotes during Women’s History Month using the hashtag #NYCWomen.
Marian Anderson was born on this day, February 27, 1897. The internationally renowned contralto opera singer sang the National Anthem at President John F. Kennedy’s inauguration in 1961.
Twenty two years earlier, Anderson’s concert at the Lincoln Memorial marked a watershed moment in the civil rights movement. Learn more about the concert, and the friendship between Anderson and Eleanor Roosevelt here.
Photo: President Kennedy with Marian Anderson and her accompanist Franz Rupp in the Oval Office, White House. 3/22/62.
-from the JFK Library
Chickasaw storyteller and actress Te Ata (Mary Frances Fisher).
Te Ata (1895-1995) created one woman shows that highlighted Native American folklore through dance, music, and storytelling. A member of the Chickasaw tribe, Te Ata traveled widely and incorporated traditions from other Native American cultures into her performances. Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt were among her admirers and Te Ata was invited to perform at both the White House and Hyde Park.
Richard Green, tribal historian for the Chickasaw Nation, published a biography of Te Ata in 2006 (Amazon). Chickasaw playwright JudyLee Olivia wrote a play based on the life of Te Ata. The play won the Five Civilized Tribes’ Best American Indian Musical Award in 2000.