Eleanor Roosevelt was probably the most visible first lady in American history. She had a popular weekly newspaper column ("My Day") and regular radio addresses, and constantly traveled the country visiting miners, immigrants, and even folk music festivals like this one in Grayson County, Virginia, in 1933.

Photograph courtesy the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library & Museum

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    On October 11, 1884, Anna Eleanor Roosevelt was born in New York City, New York. Eleanor Roosevelt would become the longest-serving first lady in American history, during her husband Franklin’s presidency from 1933-1945. Eleanor Roosevelt was such a powerful and influential political figure that President Harry Truman nicknamed her the “First Lady of the World.”
    As first lady, Eleanor Roosevelt supported expanding civil and economic rights to all Americans. She is perhaps most well-known for her early support of the African American civil rights movement. She invited many African Americans to the White House, regularly met with African American leaders, advocated for equality in opportunities and benefits offered by the New Deal, and arranged for the appointment of educator Mary McLeod Bethune to a position with the National Youth Authority. 
    During World War II, Eleanor Roosevelt warned against prejudice toward Japanese Americans. “Let’s be honest,” she said, “There is a chance now for great hysteria against minority groups—loyal American-born Japanese and Germans . . . [They] must not feel that they have suddenly ceased to be Americans.”
    Eleanor Roosevelt also supported greater recognition for Native American communities (particularly Hopi and Navajo), women, immigrants, and the working class.
  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    advocate Verb

    to argue in favor of something.

    appoint Verb

    to assign to a position.

    arrange Verb

    to prepare or put in order.

    attract Verb

    to pull toward or cause to unite.

    cease Verb

    to stop or end.

    civil rights movement Noun

    (~1954-1968) process to establish equal rights for all people in the United States, focusing on the rights of African Americans.

    confidence Noun

    belief or trust in something.

    economic Adjective

    having to do with money.

    Eleanor Roosevelt Noun

    (1884-1962) American diplomat and first lady (wife of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt).

    encourage Verb

    to inspire or support a person or idea.

    expand Verb

    to grow or get larger.

    first lady Noun

    wife of the president of the United States.

    Hopi Noun

    people and culture native to the southwestern U.S.

    hysteria Noun

    irrational outburst of emotion, usually fear or anger.

    immigrant Noun

    person who moves to a new country or region.

    influential Adjective

    important; having the ability to lead the opinions or attitudes of others.

    intelligence Noun

    ability to learn and understand.

    kindness Noun

    ability to act out of compassion, respect, and sympathy.

    loyalty Noun

    faithfulness or consistency.

    Native American Noun

    person whose ancestors were native inhabitants of North or South America. Native American usually does not include Eskimo or Hawaiian people.

    Navajo Noun

    people and culture native to the southwestern United States.

    New Deal Noun

    (1933-1938) series of U.S. government programs intended to provide economic "relief, recovery, and reform" to Americans during the Great Depression.

    plain Adjective

    not beautiful, unremarkable.

    political Adjective

    having to do with public policy, government, administration, or elected office.

    prejudice Noun

    unfair feeling for or against someone or something without basis in reason.

    recognition Noun

    acceptance and notice.

    right Noun

    specific freedom or opportunity granted to an individual or organization based on the law.

    working class Noun

    social class of workers, usually performing manual labor.

    World War II Noun

    (1939-1945) armed conflict between the Allies (represented by the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union) and the Axis (represented by Germany, Italy, and Japan.)