Anna Eleanor Roosevelt

Today we commemorate the 125th birthday of Eleanor Roosevelt who was the First Lady of the United States of America for 12 years from 1933 to 1945. She supported the New Deal policies of the administration her husband, Franklin Delano headed and during that time and after assumed a role as an advocate for the American Civil Rights Movement.

A. E. R. before the break of the century

Anna Eleanor Roosevelt was born to one of New Yorks's most distinguished families and seems to have sought a somewhat curious path in life. When, in 1902 at age 17, Roosevelt returned from the UK to the United States, her formal education ended. She was given a debutante party and went on to become a social worker in the East Side slums of New York. That same year Roosevelt met her father's fifth cousin, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, in whose future lay a serious handicap and the presidency of the US in what in Austria somewhat euphemistically is called the difficult time before '45.

After her husband's sudden death in said year 1945, Roosevelt continued to be an internationally prominent author, speaker, politician, and activist. She engaged to enhance the status of working women and opposed the Equal Rights Amendment to the US constitution saying she believed it would adversely affect women.

Roosevelt founded the UN Association of the United States in 1943 to advance support for the formation of the UN. She was a delegate to the UN General Assembly from 1945 and 1952. During her time at the United Nations she chaired the committee that drafted and approved the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Not perfect but not bad either, we say.

Active in politics for the rest of her life, Roosevelt chaired the Kennedy administration's ground-breaking committee which helped start second-wave feminism, the Presidential Commission on the Status of Women.

Curiously the "Wiener Zeitung", took the opportunity to have a certain Evelyn Steinthaler write a piece about Die First Lady der Welt in its Saturday edition. In that interesting story Mrs. Steinthaler who has recently translated Langston Hughes' "Simple Speaks His Mind" nicely quotes from Mr. Hughes' and her own work, giving a short introduction first.

Der afroamerikanische Autor Langston Hughes lässt in seinem Ende der 1940er Jahre erschienenen Buch "Simpel spricht sich aus" die Hauptfigur, Jesse B. Semple (einen Harlemer Simplicisismus, genannt Simpel) eines Abends, an einer Bar sitzend, um die baldige Wiederkehr Jesus Christus und um Rache für die erlittenen Qualen der schwarzen Bevölkerung bitten:

"Also, wenn Christus dieses Mal kommt, hoff ich, er kommt zornig. Ich hoff, er verjagt die Jim Crowers ( Bezeichnung für weiße Rassisten der USA, Anm. ) von ihren hohen Posten, jeden Einzelnen – von Washington bis Texas runter. Ich hoff, er schlägt die Weißen nieder!"

"Du meinst doch nicht alle Weißen, oder?"

"Nein", sagte Simpel. "Ich hoff, er lässt Mrs. Roosevelt in Ruh."

More need not be said.

last updated: 05.04.22, 07:16

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