There are so many inspiring quotes from Eleonor Roosevelt that it is hard to limit the list to only the ones below:
- “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.”
- “A woman is like a tea bag; you never know how strong it is until it’s in hot water.”
- “The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”
- “One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes.”
- “You must do the things you think you cannot do.”
- “Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart.”
- “Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift.”
- “You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.”
- “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
- “Do what you feel in your heart to be right – for you’ll be criticized anyway.”
Who Was Eleonor Roosevelt?
Anna Eleonor Roosevelt (1884-1962) is the longest-serving First Lady of the United States – from 1933 to 1945 – during her husband President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s four terms in office. Former First Lady Eleonor Roosevelt is remembered for her humanitarian and activist work, which reshaped the role of a first lady from hostess to a powerhouse, and for her lead role in the drafting of the United Nations ‘Universal Declarations of Human Rights in 1948. President Harry S. Truman later referred to Eleonor as the “First Lady of the World” in recognition of her excellent service as the first United States Delegate to the United Nations General Assembly after the death of her husband in 1945.
Eleonor’s Journey of Strength and Empowerment
Eleonor was born in a prominent and wealthy family in Manhattan, New York City and was, through her father, a niece of President Theodore Roosevelt. Her childhood didn’t get spared by unfortunate events and pain which further contributed to her shyness and loneliness. By the age of 10, Eleonor mourned the death of both of her parents and of one of her two brothers. She was cared by her maternal grandmother and by age 15, Eleonor was sent to attend a boarding school in London, where she was taught, among others, a sense of independence, service and social responsibility. Upon her return in the U.S. in 1905, Eleonor married her fifth cousin, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who later became the President of the United States. A turning point in Eleonor’s life was when her husband was diagnosed with polio and lost the use of his legs. Despite the diagnosis, Eleonor convinced her husband to not give up his political career and started taking a very active part in her husband’s political life and presidential ambitions, supporting him and at times, speaking on his behalf at public events. Eventually, Eleonor turned into a strong advocate and activist for human and civil rights, for women’s empowerment, children’s causes and racial justice. As First Lady, she wrote a daily column in the national press, did weekly radio broadcasts, held press conferences for women correspondents, and traveled across the United States to experience first-hand what the state of the nation and its people – especially the forgotten and oppressed – were during the Great Depression, as a way to shape and influence the work of her husband. She had become her husband’s “eyes, ears and legs” on the ground helping to shape policies like New Deal and beyond. During World Word II, Eleonor traveled extensively to visit troops as a Red Cross ambassador. By the time of her death in 1962, Eleonor became “one of the most esteemed women in the world”.
Her life is recounted in her “Autobiography” released in 1961 which included several of her books published earlier like “This Is My Story”, “This I Remember”, and “On My Own”.