"The fundamental, vital thing which must be alive in each human consciousness is the religious teaching that we cannot live for ourselves alone and that as long as we are here on this earth we are all of us brothers, regardless of race, creed, or color."
ANNA ELEANOR ROOSEVELT was born on October 11, 1884, in New York City to Elliott Roosevelt and Anna Hall Roosevelt. They were a family of great wealth and status (her uncle was President Theodore Roosevelt) and were known for their commitment to community service in the form of volunteer and charity work. Her mother died from diphtheria in 1892 and her father, an extreme alcoholic, died violently two years later.
In 1899 Eleanor enrolled at Allenswood Academy, an all-girls boarding school in England. While there, she was heavily influenced by the school's French headmistress, Marie Souvestre, whose intellectual curiosities and taste for world travel would awaken similar interests in young Eleanor. Returning to New York in 1902 at the age of eighteen, she devoted her efforts to community service, including as a teacher at a settlement house in Manhattan. During this time, she started dating Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a distant cousin of her father's.
Eleanor and Franklin wed in 1905, and between 1906 and 1916 Eleanor gave birth to six children, one of whom died in infancy. During her husband's varied political career Eleanor volunteered on numerous social projects and performed various duties as an "official wife," attending formal parties, which she found tedious. With her husband elected president in 1933, Eleanor became a revolutionary First Lady, giving regular press conferences and speaking out for human rights, children's causes, and women's issues. She even had her own syndicated newspaper column called "My Day." Eleanor also focused on helping the country's poor during the Great Depression, stood up against racial discrimination during the Jim Crow era, and traveled abroad to visit US troops during World War II.
After her husband's death from polio in 1945, President Harry Truman appointed Roosevelt as an American delegate to the newly formed UN General...