tv First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt CSPAN October 21, 2013 9:00pm-11:01pm EDT
donohue of the chamber of commerce. >> good evening. atm speaking to you tonight a very serious moment in our history. the cabinet as convening and the leaders are meeting with the president. the state department and navy officials are meeting with the president all afternoon. and fact, the japanese ambassador was talking to the president at the third time that citizensas bombing our in the philippines and sinking one of our transports. the membersmorning, of congress will have a report and be ready for action. ♪
>> you're been listening to some of eleanor roosevelt's address hours after the attack at pearl harbor. she gave that address before her husband even spoke to the nation. for the next two hours, we are going to get to know this transformational first lady. she's consistently ranked first and first lady's polls. will look at her life, her relationships and the time in the white house from 1933 to 1945. welcome to "first ladies: influence and image" series. joining us tonight is the editor of the eleanor roosevelt papers project at george washington university and an historian. another historian, doug brinkley who is an author from rice university. thank you for being here with
us. 1933, andley, march operated in a entered the white house. what are they walking into? >> fdr did not get to walk in. he came in a wheelchair. the fact that somebody was crippled in the lower half said not to fear but fear is sell. that's perhaps the most famous phrase of the inauguration. what people was fearing was chaos, unemployment, agricultural angst. bowls, october 1929 crash of the stock market. our country was in tatters. that was friendly roosevelt, this man is over, such odds and in aersonal life, ushering new progressive era and offering 100 days of the new deal programs right off the bat where
-- what people called the alphabet soup trying to get banks to run properly as starting a civilian conservation corps that would plant a billion trees. gett -- create wpa employment backup. black him what was eleanor roosevelt to do and how she defining a role? was struggling because she was active before she entered the white house. she added basically to the publications as well as the new york state publication. she's on the board of labor unions and social reform. civicsd -- she taught and literature and girls school. she was a major political force in her all right. so much so that in the campaign, all of the major newspapers and
the united states would run full-page stories on her own political career and her own ambitions. when she comes in to the white house, fdr said you have to resign all of your positions and you have to stay and be the traditional first lady. she tells her friends and they filled her with the greatest sense of dread that the white house its women and that she fears a life of -- she is wearing her gloves. fdr, let meays to help you with your mail. he says no. she said let me help you with your calendar. he said no. she said let me be your eyes and ears. he said no. she is in the white house desolate. just saying she loves her
husband and she wants him to be happy, but what has happened to my life? to my hard-earned independence? is inhe first today she the white house, she is trying to figure out how to resurrect her own of voice in a way that will get her latitude that she needs to be herself while at the same time not undercut her husband's agenda. >> what were some the issues she got involved in? >> the first lady of the world. very rights, she got involved in getting african- americans more equal rights. working in west virginia with coal miners and the working people of america. the unforgotten and downtrodden people. women's issues. getting women into the forefront of american political life. she had no role model.
she created of his role on her own. there's nobody quite like her. but here she is in 1933 on the radio talking to women about their need to volunteer. women are willing -- if the women are willing because it is going to help their win not even will because of our leaders. people --e as a [indiscernible] we have seen it through. >> allida, she spent a lot of time on the radio. >> she did. she had her own radio show. she would become her own andicated columnist in 1935 1936. by the end of her life, she
would write over 8000 columns. books.an 27 give 75 speeches a year. 150 letters a day. if i could go back and piggybacked on doug, eleanor hit the ground running on policy in ways that we do not really think about. eleanor does not hit the ground of race or education, she hits the ground on employment first. the second day of the roosevelt administration, i am sorry, the day after fdr closes the banks of the adhesives and the economy act to congress which will cut employment by 25%. people are freaking out. the official unemployment rate is 25%. anybody with a brain will know it is about 40%. it is the first time we have started taking the unemployment
rate and this is not take into account the 12 years a depression that hit the south and west. to take 25% of the federal payroll out in the middle of the depression and to say to federally employed women that you are going to use data lose your job if you're married to a man, eleanorloyed is through the roof. she issues in this first week of ownhusband's presidency her opinion piece saying this legislation is wrong. eleanor haved dueling editorials in the paper in all of the democratic party press over the injustice of this act. she does win out. that is why she is so intense about women in that speech. >> true, but something fdr and the staff does not delight in.
you are going to have to find common ground otherwise you are going to create a shambles of things. she did a marvelous job of holding her own and writing letters to the interior hopkins. in a way that was not a commandeering of trying to say will you look into this case for me. well,ndled, i think very the cross why your early out of the gate. >> i think we can give the public if we will examples of way good friends who respect each other and disagree. i will argue that fdr knew she was going to do this. her correspondence shows this. was they are trying to do is to bring this issue front and --ter and by support at her some of the backlash. information her
beer right after prohibition. conferences tos release his information. they coordinate. other,n they go at each they go at each other deliberately to get the country engaged. >> before we end the snapshot and go back and look at eleanor roosevelt's life, at what point did fdr and his inner circle learned to use her as eyes and ears and as an asset? >> not just one day, it depends on who it was. smart people like harry hopkins mission was important. what she said it mattered. harryrt people like hopkins knew she was important. fdr had to win over southern democrats and conservatives. issues ofy scared on
race door his presidency because he was worried about things eleanor really pioneered and facilitated. she talked to american people. she helped fdr a lot. they are working in unity. she was a force to be reckoned with. wherever she went, i think about world war ii when she went to europe and london and britain, everybody just love seeing her. she went to the pacific, they said we never had somebody so beloved like her before. she became a kind of ambassador for the president stopped short just walk in, there was a new yorker cartoon that was famous showing a coal miner saying what is eleanor roosevelt doing care? balloons andial things of that nature. >> i would disagree. i would say that the reason that
roosevelt -- eleanor went to the pacific is because she was arguing to go for several years he cut she wanted to cover the pacific the way -- you because she wanted to cover the pacific of the fighting in the atlantic. they kept turning her down. he did not want her to go. he said it was the biggest mistake in the world. henry wallace -- >> they turned her down and going to europe because she wanted to go with the red cross. if you kidnapped eleanor roosevelt, it is a disaster. we do not want to exaggerate. >> i do want to say the one thing that doug broda. the trip to the pacific. -- doug brought up. she finally got to go to the pacific. she goes right after the race riots where she is blamed for
those race riots. for our audience to really understand the progression, we need to look at eleanor. she really does not started racing until 1935. >> that is what we're going to do. we'll go back to the wars. we have two hours to talk about eleanor roosevelt and her influence and image. we'll put the phone numbers on the screen. you know all of our programs are interactive programs. we want your participation. it is a put a comment on facebook and you can see the first ladies section right there. you can send us a tweet. #firstladies. brinkley, what
kind of world was eleanor born into? citye was born in new york . part of that social swirl, societal stop the roosevelt name was as good as you could get. her father was elliot roosevelt. the procopio door roosevelt. elliott was a character. theodoreother of roosevelt. the great hunter. somebody eleanor loved madly. , the key thing for eleanor roosevelt was a they both died when she was quite young. she loses her mother and her father. that is quite dramatic. up, thehat as she moves hudson is a great story in america. to the bay of new york, on the transpired along the river.
whether it is the new george , thengton or the steamboat world along the hudson river. she grew up just down the road from springwood. the home of friendly roosevelt, her distant cousin. >> edition of a happy childhood? -- did she have a happy childhood? no. she said the only time she felt safe was climbing on top of a cherry tree. there's significant evidence that some of her own goals who were alcoholics took shots at uncles whooals -- were alcoholics took shots at her. she's able to transcend that sadness. she writes a young boy in the 1950's when he was severely beaten -- a younger boy, six or went to as old, he
water fountain. he had a little plastic cup. he is beaten so badly that he believes on the cup. he writes her. school basically i am in and now i am terrified. what do i do? the only african-american boy. she writes him and he sent her the cup. i have held the cup. she writes him this extraordinary letter that says she can only imagine how violated he must feel because school is supposed to be a safe place. but she understands the painful childhood. she understands violence. and the only advice she can offer him is what she is told herself. and that is, kerch is more exhilarating than fear. in the long run, it is easier.
-- scourge is more exhilarating than fear. courage is more exhilarating than fear. , but she isdoing expanding her circle of family and learns through a series of is and downs that family really what you construct for yourself. >> who was marie souvestre? >> she was the headmistress of alum would academy. she goes for she is 14. -- alan would academy for -- allenwood academy. she is living, she's dividing her time between her maternal grandmother who loves her but was very strict and what not to
let her play a lot. see to herdoes not education. so much so that eleanor becomes an embarrassment for lack of education through other members of the family. her mother's sister says to her anna,other, we promised eleanor's mother was sent her to allenwood and she goes to allenwood academy where wimbledon is today. a school of 33 girls. she works with marie souvestre who she calls -- marie souvestre sees and eleanor this bunk and and mind nobody has seen. she teaches her the only way to be sure of what you think is to argue both sides of an issue with people. , sheor writes in her diary
did not keep a diary but sometimes she would write notes to herself. she said i finally learned i have a brain. so she does not want to go home. who would want to go home when you have this? she stays in the summer with marie souvestre. to her you can stay with me but you have to learn to be independent. we can travel that you must set a budget. you have to learn to make reservations. when you go to places, remember you are a guest. au do not just shop, you were settlement houses and you volunteer in hospitals. and you try to learn the language of the community you are in. when eleanor leads allenwood at the age of 18, marie souvestre write her a letter that eleanor will carry for her for the rest of her life that says of course she must go home and make a
you are a roosevelt. teddy is president of the united states. first and foremost, you are my eleanor. i expected great things from you and your own right in this world. >> what was the relationship with the president? >> he loved her. he loved her. he was very hard on her. on the father, elliott. that waswoman pregnant working in a house. angry and called him a philandering swine, my little brother, he is embarrassed the family. somebody was that he loved his brother tremendously. one of his greatest times early was going hunting and western iowa with the fog. when he commits suicide, i think theodore felt a kinship to eleanor. eleanor had a great sparkle in
her eye and intelligence. she developed her current -- --rage over eight you know over a period of time. he was there to give them away when they got married on st. patrick's day. at this pointike she has developed some sense of what social issues are important to her. >> shen exposure to them. she had an interest. an exposure to them. she is caught between the world and london -- you love and want to stay in. she wants to teach. she does not want to come home. she is caught between the demand of being the daughter of the as thetiful debutante new york times repeatedly called her mother and the social expectations of the needs of the
president. just is try to figure out of the dance. thaneodore became bigger life. she turned the name and relationship and the connections to a big influence. i found it very interesting, around 1936, she edited a volume of her father's big-game hunting letters were she kept -- where she kept a tiger skin of her father. she had every reason to be angry at her dad. he was bit of a deadbeat father. she never had any angst against him. she had a forgiving nature. are talking very early 20th century here. it was in 1905 that she met fdr. >> they become reacquainted. >> they had met apparently when there were young a little bit as springwood. they were cognizant of each other. a met on a train ride.
-- they met on a train ride. it began a romantic interlude through letters and seeing each other. 1905 through the 1920's, a very busy time in the roosevelt's life. they went to live in springwood at hyde park with franklin's mother. we visited a springwood. here's a little video. [video clip] >> when she fell in love with friendly roosevelt in 1905 when they got married, they would move in with franco's mother, sarah. sarah owned and operated this home referred to as springwood since the year 1900 when sarah's elderly father had passed away. ,ecause this was sarah's home she made the decisions here. she also handled the finances of the home and was the matriarch
of the family. this is where the family gathered for the daily meals, the activities are important because they reflected the interaction of the family. sarah roosevelt sat at the head of the table. frentzen at the other end. and eleanor would find whichever seat was comfortable for hearst -- for her. -- franklin at the other end. this was a bad room they shared as adults. when infidelity was discovered within the marriage. from that point on, mrs. roosevelt insisted on not sharing the same bed with friendly roosevelt. at that time, mrs. roosevelt chose a bad room right next to this room -- a bad room right next to this room. this was an area where she could be by herself. it was a bit of a private space for her. the furniture was used by mrs.
roosevelt. one of the few areas where she could get privacy. when mrs. roosevelt was in hyde park and franklin was also here, it was a given they would both asleep here in the house. if for some reason franklin was not in hyde park, mrs. roosevelt here on her own would choose to a couple of short miles away. in this direction, where the interest of sarah roosevelt -- of several entrance roosevelt. her bed room is sandwiched between sarah's and her husband's just like in her life that she was sandwiched between them. talk about bit of her mother-in-law. what was sarah roosevelt alike? >> freckled roosevelt was her only child.
-- franklin roosevelt was her only child. he had 80 half brother. -- he had a half-brother. sarah could be very domineering. ae was overly protective in good way. he used to go play and birdwatching. enjoyed the order the job -- orthnological society. there are even pictures of him wearing the dress and having long hair. i think she was a good mother and terms of loving and kept her i will -- and kept her eye on him. people felt bad about eleanor having to deal with her. she was very intensely loving and caring.
fdr cared the world a bar. he was seen sometimes to be happiest when she was around. fact, she was opposed to their marriage. very much so, he's -- you said you're going to put the family and shame. i have twong mother barry eleanor. she came around to some degree with the wedding. -- i have to marry eleanor. >> is a love story? >> yes. i would like to talk about eleanor and sarah. so much of that as doug has referenced put in little cookie- cutter things. when eleanor's mother died when -- she was so embarrassed by her doctor. -- she was so
embarrassed by her daughter. when eleanor falls in love with fdr, she very much hopes that sarah will be a surrogate mother to her. and so you see lots of overtures to this. as doug said, sarah created this cocoon of love around fdr. have memorably reconstructed to say sarah's love for fdr gave him the cushion to take the risk that he needed to leave later on. we dohey come together, not know a lot because eleanor burned the letters when she found out about lucy. we really cannot reconstructed that. basede can do is supposed on the best evidence that we think that the
record is pretty clear that fdr confided in eleanor his ambitions. she did not laugh at him. she saw him as a very, handsome, charming hunk. everybody same as a dapper pretty boy. he was a hunk. if our views get to see him walking and swimming. he made her laugh. he could see and those sparkling blue eyes something that was there that other people do not see. the level of trust is there. for a yeard together despite my mom's best interest to keep them apart and then they have this very teenage idyllic crush. they are too young to get married. they have hormones. but theythey --
learned to love each other in different ways. >> married in 1905. in 10 years, they have six children. >> and that is important. the first child died as an infant. she raised a lot of boys. it's a lot of work. sometimes we lose sight of that andf this remarkable life also this remarkable, loving mother with her kids. shelley had one daughter. fdr was an absentee father. -- she only had one daughter. rhythm kept the together. when fdr would show up, the kids went crazy. only because he was gone so much. he did not have to be the disciplinarian. he could be the fun playmate kind of father. >> let's get our audience involved here. guests are a --
black.-- are allida go ahead with your question. she viewed as the most disliked and loved first lady of all times? if she was here today, how she deal the 24/7 media? >> i got that one. eleanor took controversial stance on the issues of civil rights, women working, women traveling unescorted. she spoke out by the second term a legal and constitutional questions that made people a little nervous. and especially the daughters of the american revolution who looked at her and called her an unfit woman and really did not want her in the white house.
throughout numbers and the letters she received as well as the hate mail and the largest fbi file that we have in american history up until that time shows the extent to which the american public really revered her. but the people dislike her disliked her intensely. she really was -- for what you thought about democracy and social upheaval at the time. if it was good for the government to be engaged or for people who disagreed with each other, who do not look like each other to get the table, if you thought women should have a strong voice, you stood with eleanor roosevelt. if the things made you uncomfortable, you really did not. >> i agree with all of that. the fact that she did so much with african as well know that was jim crow in the south.
here is eleanor roosevelt meeting with african-americans and it angered the right at that time. she would've done very well on the media. from 1936-n my day, 1962. today. what blogging was she was doing almost daily. that is what i think. people liked her because she told people what she thought. that -- she had a genius for that. doug,i can piggyback on eleanor would write that the press got it wrong. she held her own press conference. in a great way, she was her own press secretary shaped her own image. >> it brought women -- as the first lady among i want women and journalists.
they were all being excluded. she started having regular press conference is for women and bring the journalist. looking today at the great women in the correspondent, lenore is their patriot -- eleanor is there patron saint. >> we have a tweak here from jeremy. jeremy put upfrom with and use another name that was formative. did luis howell have much impact -- louis howe -- >> he became the in-house political advisor. a book aboutte him. onwas able to coach eleanor some of the intricacies of american politics and was able to take her seriously and he
said, you are an asset. do not ever mistake that. >> was in prior to the presidency? >> once was struck with polio in 1921 thomas louis howe believed in fdr's political future. sarah said retire. you can run your property. double-teamlouis fdr said let's go. , 2 important years and a lenore roosevelt's life. 1921 lucy mercer and in with polio. walk us through. eleanor, when she discovers that franklin has fallen in love with lucy mercer and we do not
know if it was an affair. what we do know without a doubt that they are in love with each other. even emotionally and love. eleanor reads the letters when she is unpacking and she leaves. she offers a divorce. she takes the children. and he considers it. says to him,e there has never been a divorced president. that lucy is catholic and the pope will never bless the marriage. him, if youaid to do this, i will cut you off and you would never have a penny. the roosevelts come back together and today learn to relationship which gives them space. space that goes beyond the sort of infatuation, high school,
julia roberts crush love story. two adults finding ways to love each other and trust each other in different ways. what the lift to independent but overlapping lives -- but living 2 independent but overlapping lives. polio changes that. by that point, eleanor has become exceedingly political. this is before louis howe bond on the railroad car. >> fdr is in the state senate right now? are on thelouis howe campaign train together. eleanor is very political before that. working with the international workers union. naturalorking with the
women in trade union. she is working with immigrant roots. she is understanding how to , buildpetition coalitions. what she does not know how to do is speak in public. tutelage is how to speak without that modulated voice. as doug has said, they form a team for fdr. they say to him and this man is so disabled to top about the intimacy in their marriage, polio is so debilitating to him that eleanor has to give enemas animals. she has asserted a glass catheter into his penis. this man who was so feral. in her mind, she is thinking i love this man. what is happening to him? we have to keep his spirits up.
she is thinking, oh my god, i've finally gotten my life. and now my life is gone. and i could be here doing this for the rest of my life. they figure out how to navigate that. that is a remarkable testament to both of them. >> and i added to that -- can i add to that? he went to the state senate in 1910. --ot of different efforts issues, conservation. after being in albany, he is assistant secretary of the navy for the wilson administration. he gets to do an inspection in europe and canada in 1920, he teams up with james cox of ohio. he is a progressive was the fdr is like a banshee. they go down. it ushers in the republican
presidency of harding, coolidge, and hoover. he lost in 1920 and 1921 he gives polio. what was just intimated out of the antebellum moment when you think he could contract polio where hey scout pool picked up the virus and was taken to maine. he had terrible chills and count out and went to bed with the shakes and woke up and cannot fill his lower half. alumina roosevelt was there for him like nobody else. -- eleanor roosevelt was there for him like nobody else. she showed her true colors of love and loyalty. that's real mind their marriage. after that, he adored her for more reasons.
somebody who took care of him. >> before we move into the white house i want to introduce one more character. -- >> it is hard to overestimate the impact that hick as eleanor .nd fdr called her she was the leading political journalist of the era. only woman who was on the front page of newspapers and did her own bylines. ship assigned to cover eleanor and fell in love with eleanor. trust that intimate developed between the two and the love that develops between the two. quick emotional or physical?
>> we do not know. there is no doubt in my mind that hickok was in love with eleanor. we know that eleanor will help hickok later when she falls in love with marion. they will build a home together. dies, sheand struggles with diabetes. eleanor will support. you cannot put this in a box. what we can say about hick is that she taught eleanor how to deal with the press in a way where eleanor could define her own message. lady,leanor becomes first hickok resigned her position and moves into the white house. just fallen in love with eleanor and she cannot be objective. she has fallen in love with eleanor and she cannot be objective. eleanor went to fdr and he said
-- you to investigate whether the new deal is doing and not doing. i want you to get the hopes and fears and put your craft on paper in very private reports to us. what we get is the most and powerfulnest assessment of how the depression is affecting individual people. hick is involved in that. a majorwould never make career decision without talking to hick. >> one statement we do not mention. the associated press and that why she was able to get the stories. she was very good. she was not a lesbian. eleanor was married. she had responsibilities of all of her children. as the comic first lady. she had all these lives.
-- and she was becoming first lady. eleanor roosevelt had other responsibilities. >> lenore was not taking care of them and then. much has her own life. they vacation together. eleanor and hickok traveled together. they told three and four times together on the phone. they write voluminously. a lot of the letters were burned. we do not know. what we do know is hick is in the white house and she is a person that is respected by fdr. respectedby hopkins, and trusted by eleanor. 's idea that eleanor should have women of the press conferences because they will lose their jobs. somek suggested to hopkins of the components for what would be wpa.
>> franklin got elected. mooted to the white house. we have a map of the second floor of the white house. -- moved into the white house. if you can walk us through. and you canevelt see in the far left lorean hickok has a room across. frequencies have a monopoly. >> that's a nice map. -- fred lynn has a monopoly -- franklin has a monopoly. has much easier access. this a man in his wheelchair and all of that. it has to do with his life. theyan see how important were to franklin roosevelt. he was doing more speeches and traveling and his fireside
addresses affecting the country greatly ray was communicating by radio. who beings into to people, during the great depression and world war ii. >> several roosevelt is fdr's mother of the far right. is that where she would stay? >> it is important for your viewers to know this is not a static map. are ande roosevelts winston churchill and sarah are, it will be filled with guests. the boys were only there when they were home from school. our visiting over holidays. 1940,ill only comes in 1941. and hopkins moves into the white house in 1937. it is not like everybody is in
the rooms all of the time. ismore importantly than that they spent a quarter of their time cruising all over fdr and not just going to conferences but down to florida and fishing. he would have his home in georgia with the therapeutic pools were actual spent a lot of time and a little white house and down there. he would get to spring with as he could. not a president stuck in the white house. he moves around an awful lot. >> we want to show you some inauguration video. as we take this next call from kathy in colorado. quick hello. -- quick hello. thank you so much. i've enjoyed so many of the first ladies. i wanted to say thank you. my question has already been answered in regards to lucy mercer.
i had a couple more other questions. did eleanor know about all of made for arrangements franklin and lucy to be together? was lucy married? did she have any children? what year did she pass away? wrotebony books that she -- did she have any books that she wrote? >> thank you. >> i will do it briefly. no disrespect intended. about thed not know arrangements that some of the staff had made for lucy to return to fdr's life. she does marry, a wealthy south carolina businessman. eleanor -- anna roosevelt the
daughter brings lucy back into her father's life. at her father's request during the war. springswith fdr in warm with another cousin the day that fdr dies of a cerebral hemorrhage. >> it traded embarrassment -- it created embarrassment for eleanor that lucy was there. >> if we go back to the map of the white house. how much did the public know about the living arrangements? >> they knew the people coming and going. she put it in my day. -- lorenanow arena hickok had a permit room -- permanent room? >> it was not permanent. she was traveling. this is sort of a historical analogy. in the white house
after watergate, betty ann gerald ford opened the white house up and it becomes the home of the american people again. it is no longer the siege or the bunker. the same thing is true during the roosevelt white house in the sense it is not the hoover bunker. it was very clear who was coming and going especially when my day started getting published. eleanor says who was there as was spending the night at what they talked about and what they had for dinner. would also have our own press conferences where she would tell people who the guests were and who was living there. yes, people know. >> it was a different time with the media and press. people would not take photographs of fdr and his wheelchair. we'll have a couple. can you imagine in our youtube area -- era?
they did not cover people's affairs and dalliances. things will percolate but they do not take on a cast of somebody watching like the clintons had to deal with during their presidency when the media was reading all of this and gossip columns. people left them somewhat alone. >> and dennis. a tweet from dennis. -- >> a while. wow. she came from a famous family. had been a door in the white house. ore into the-- theod white house. she had a lot of scrutiny. she shared about the new deal programs that franklin started as governor. i have been looking at the conservation aspect and the
models that is happening during the government ship is governorship that he adopts when he becomes president. she is very equipped policy wise for the difficulties you might find as being of the first lady under all of that scrutiny. >> they also learned to live separately. the roosevelts are never together. poliohe time he gets until he dies. specificallyns is how to develop her own voice and her own alliances and support policies and ways that will get fdr to pay attention. withny ways, the 1920's her on political laboratory. but she used the media.
-- >> she used the media. some of the first of eleanor roosevelt. here are some of her first. she rightly held press conferences. she had a syndicated column called my day. she had a radio show. she had an official government position which we will talk about a little bit later. she addressed the convention in 1940. she earned money. chaired a white house conference. she traveled solo overseas. firsts.quite a few here's the radio address. if you remember at the beginning, we showed you a bit right after the bombing of pearl harbor. here is the entirety. [video clip] >> good evening. i am speaking at a very serious moment in our history. thecabinet is convening and
members of comes our meeting with the president. the state department and navy officials have been meeting with the president all afternoon. a japanese ambassador was talking to the president at the very time that japan airships were bombing our citizens in hawaii and the philippines and the sinking one of our transport noted with the lumber on its way. the membersmorning, of congress will have report and be ready for action. in the meantime, we as a people are already prepared for action. knowledge now, the that something of this kind might happen has been hanging over our heads. and yet it seems impossible to believe, and possible to drop that every aims of life as the there was one thing that was important -- perforation to meet an enemy no matter where he struck. that is all over now. there is no more uncertainty. we know what we have to do and we know we are ready to face it.
i should like to say just a word to the women in the country tonight. i know, he may be on his way to the pacific. two of my children are on the pacific. many of you all over this country have a voice in the services who will be called upon to go into action. you have friends and families and all of a sudden they become a danger zone. , the clutch ofpe fear at your heart. yet i hope the certainty of what we have to meet will make the rise above these fierce. our daily about business more determined than ever to do the ordinary things as well as we can. do when we find a way to anything more and our communities to help others to build morale, give a feeling of
security, we must to do it. what ever is asked of us, i am sure we can accomplish it. we are the free and on comparable people of the united states of america. to the young people of the nation, i wanted to speak a word tonight. you are going to have a great opportunity. there will be high moments and durability ability will be tested. i have faith in you both up i feel as though i was standing --n a rock and that brock and that rockets my faith in my fellow citizens. now, we will go back to the program. black, i want to ask you for the her voice changed from the 1933 radio address that we heard to a much more modulated. >> she is in her own element.
she is saying what she wants to say. she very much appreciates the gravity of pearl harbor. she says the boys in the pacific. in worldo battle front war i. she saw hundreds of soldiers piled up with their stomachs exploded because they had not been buried yet. she was her much involved in the effort for the league of nations was dubbed in fact, fdr center to the radio to debate over over studentd court win the begins to vote on the legislation. definingthis is a moment. she is telling fdr and has told fdr for at least two years prior because they both
understood that war was inevitable. they were trying to stay out of it. she says to him, we must remember that to the lesson of world war i is that we won the war but we lost -- what she is trying to do here is not only calm the nation but to set the stage for what she will say the following day which this is no time for hyphens we are all americans. >> back to your calls. rené. it is very wonderful. thank you for doing it. completely educational. i would like to know what role eleanor played during the women's suffrage movement. , shee was opposed -- well did not get a pose and the suffrage movement until fdr came out. she was involved in of the
women's movement in the sense of the living wage, maximum hours, andmum wages, sanitation, to really get involved in temperance. she was not a suffragist until fdr came out for it. ironically, by 1920 she is very much involved in organizing women's votes. anddevelops schools canvassing clinics for women to become involved. by 1921, she would begin to help him build the democratic party in new york state. >> doug brinkley, if i could. but about criticism of eleanor throughout her 12 years? were people critical of her? for a bit of a love affair? >> of course. because people do not like fdr.
including the first really day care for women who have factories and have children. she's constantly pushing the envelope and fdr kind of allows it which is remarkable. and many people, some people if you're real liberal, you preferred eleanor roosevelt to fdr because he's present and he had to modulate himself in a certain way for votes. >> was there a criticism in congress for eleanor roosevelt within the government? >> let's just let's do politics in congress. the first campaign button that
the republicans made in 1936 was we don't want eleanor either. so there's a long history of -- of mocking eleanor in political cartoons. also there are lots of cartoons about eleanor coming out of the mines with soot on her face saying she had black blood. j. edgar hoover was convinced she had quote/unquote colored blood. they had a secret meeting to have her declared colored and stripped of her citizenship. the fbi component of eleanor and race is -- >> the fbi kept a file on it. >> the largest fbi file in american history. >> when did it to become public? >> in the early -- the late 1980s. a lot of that is classified. if i win the lotto, we'll get the court suit and we'll get
classified. >> chris, alita black, and doug brinkley are our guests. garry: thank you. -- >> guest: i think she's everything abigail adams was to john adams to american history in her day and age, eleanor roosevelt was for the early 20th century almost as if she was a reincarnation of her. and i'm wondering if hillary clinton is maybe a reincarnation of her too. it's just -- there are these women who have a place in history and abigail adams and eleanor roosevelt strike me as that. >> thank you, chris. >> well, nobody is a reincarnation of anybody else. but the caller is right, abigail adams is a great first lady and her correspondence with her husband is quite remarkable. and the fact that abigail was an intellectual. that's what you're seeing well
nowhere roosevelt. she is somebody who's intellectual, not just a political life or something like this. she has deep and interesting ideas about america that she develops not just as first lady later, she thinks in civil rights in terms of human rights before most people are. and she's thinking about how we become -- what democracy really means and she's also mentioning the fbi not liking her and embracing of the union movement. there's the fear of strikes in this and eleanor roosevelt sided with the workers of america. but hillary clinton is in the category -- eleanor roosevelt never ran for office. that's the big difference between hillary clinton, who is -- the senator from new york and is -- always been talked about as running for president. some people want eleanor roosevelt to run for senator or governor for new york after her husband died in '45. but she, of course, said no to that.
>> well, we've discussed quite a few times the my date column she wrote. up at fdr at the site. we talked with one of the park rangers about her columns. >> this is eleanor roosevelt's typewriter. this is the type of typewriter she wrote her my date column. she wrote her my date column on december 31, 1985. they continued for 26 years amassing 8,000 columns. she was a prolific writer and wrote books that focused on her interests. some of the books were about international politics. some were the time in the white house. others were an interest to children. often roosevelt wrote alone but sometimes she would write with other articles. she wrote with her friend and colleague, arena hickok. i would like to take you back to archives to show you some of her more significant my day columns. what i have here are the
original drafts of the my day columns that i wanted to share. the first one was eleanor roosevelt's first my day column and it appeared december 31, 935 and it sets the tones for the my day columns to follow. this is a day of taking up more or less a regular routine again. the house is filled in and out with guests of children. at 11:00 a.m., i met with the ladies of the press. i enjoy this hour on monday mornings. she's talking about the comings and goings in the white house as they're getting back to the regular schedule after the holiday season. the next one i wanted to share is from december 7, 1941. and this my day column is written by mrs. roosevelt and she's talking about what's going on in the white house as the attack at pearl harbor, the information is coming into the white house. and so what this does is it gives a sort of an eyewitness account from the inside of what was going on. as i stepped out of my room, i knew something had happened.
all of the secretaries were there, two telephones were in use. the senior military aides were on the way with the messages. i said nothing because the words were quite sufficient to tell me that finally the blow had fallen and we had been attacked. the next column is from february 6, 1961. and here mrs. roosevelt is talking about how she just has gotten back from a speech by dr. martin luther king. and she said i've had the opportunity of hearing dr. king speak. he's a moving speaker because he's simple and direct and the spiritual quality that made him the leader of nonviolence in this country touches every speech he makes. so far we've seen the draft of the my day columns but we thought it would be interesting to share what they look like when they appear in the newspapers. this is from november 6, 1940, election day. in here, mrs. voeltz writes about how they had a quiet afternoon, some of us took a walk and returned to the big
house for tea where we found johnny and ann and a little datsun percy arrived from boston. later on she talks about how a larger park than usual came in in hyde park. the president went out to greet them. this is a tradition on election night. the roosevelts would come to hyde park, gather the family around, await the election results. when they were announced, the folks from hyde park were down and the president would come out to greet them. >> what was your comment while we were watching that? >> she's such an intellectual, eleanor roosevelt. and it differentiates them from the first lady. she's a brilliant writer. when you look at no ordinary times, you can see thinking through the second world war and the strategy ideas. she wanted to bring in for example world war ii many more european dislocated people and she later regretted that she couldn't help more jews
immigrationing to the united states during that period. she was wide ranging in her interest in anybody who wrote socially provocative books and literature of magazines but the sheer discipline of doing what she did -- this is a gold mine. >> i like to talk to some of the viewers. blanch cooke has done -- blanch has done a marvelous job, two volumes on eleanor roosevelt's life. if anybody has the reason to read and she's writing a third now on the second world war and brings out the intellectual side of eleanor quite well. >> would you like to add anything to what eleanor said to blanch about her volumes? >> blanch is extraordinary. she's giving us a gift. i think one of the things that blanch to a large extent secretary clinton has done is reintroduced eleanor to a new generation.
i would like to send viewers to the eleanor roosevelt papers' websites to many of the books that just showed or transcribed. she wrote a marvelous book at 1938, 1939 of the moral basis of democracy that nelson mandela smuggled to read when he was in prison. the appeal for containment. so there's serious books. they didn't sell very well because they were profoundly serious books. eleanor thought that her job was to really help the american people grasp the information that they needed to have to handle crises and to resurrect
their own self-respect. and so that -- that tone resonates through everything that she writes. >> alita black, what was arthur dale, west virginia. >> well, it was arthur dale was a homestead resettlement community in reedsville, west virginia. and it was the poorest spot in the country, coal miners had lived there, the mines had shut down. the -- there was no electricity. no running water. very few la betweens. the vegetation was so december late that the kid stayed alive by eating dandy lions or poke salad. so eleanor did an investigative story there. eleanor read about it. she was so appalled by what she read that she drove out there, four hours then for her to drive outside of washington to see it.
she drove up unannounced without secret service protection. we'll talk about that in a minute. and she became passionately committed to arthur dale in the sense of trying to get housing, develop a model community there, to get schools for the kids, she worked with the financier bernard ber route and marshall field, the great department store magnate from chicago to try to get businesses there. so while she was able to really hell restore this community and really promote it, she didn't succeed in attracting businesses to it. but the houses that are there with the indoor toilets, their schools, their community centers are in use today. >> was it a failure? >> no. >> it was not a failure? >> people will say it's a failure because she could not attract businesses there.
but let's look at the literacy rates. let's look at the disease rates. let's look at the construction that's there. let's look at the morale that's there. the suicide rates. the education rates. it was not the success it could have been, but it was not a failure. >> joe in monroe, michigan. this is the first ladies and eleanor roosevelt is our topic and you're on c-span. >> thank you very much. i would like to ask you what was the relationship like between eleanor and her cousin alice. and also another question there, is it true that franklin was seeing lucy that alice used to invite them to her home behind eleanor's back? >> no, the second question. that is part of the folk lor that surrounds the -- the franklin and eleanor sort of carrying on, so to speak. it was -- alice did not like
eleanor. she just did not -- she spread wicked barbed stories about her. she would say, well, you know, you can't help but feel merry -- feel sorry for franklin because she was married to eleanor. she would say that franklin contracted polio because he had syphilis because he was married to eleanor. so alice was, as my mother would say, a piece of work. and the way to conceptualize alice is imagine you're walking into the parlor and you're there for tea and she will pass the sofa and say please come sit for me and there would be a needle pointed pillow on the sofa and say if you don't have anything nice to say, come sit next to me. >> what was teddy roosevelt's reaction with teddy roosevelt's
affair with mercer and how did teddy roosevelt feel about fdr? >> he loved fdr. admired him a great deal. wrote a very warm note to him but right when the engagement well nowhere took place and saying that you have many golden years ahead of you and this even you being president is nothing compared to making a marriage work. and we mentioned, of course, we presided over the marriage. theodore roosevelt died in january of 1919. at that point, fdr had been in the wilson administration. they're on opposite sides of the equations. theodore roosevelt was a republican. and fdr was a democrat. and so the -- they didn't get along in that regard at the very end because, you know, i read recently because i'm working on a book on franklin roosevelt. i read a story that one of theodore roosevelt's sons went
wherever fdr went in 1920 around the west and speak right after him and dispute everything and say fdr is an embarrassment to my side, the oyster bay side of the family. if i could, just one other point, because i think we haven't made it clear, we never came up with val killez. if anybody wants to learn about eleanor roosevelt, go to val right next to springwood or very close, it's her home. and there you can really feel -- >> what do you mean her home? >> fdr acquired property in the -- it's val kilitzer creek in duchess county. they built a lovely home. developed a furniture factory for a while. it's a longer story. but this is eleanor's peace of mind. place she could get away. there's a swimming pool there where she can swim. it's now part of our national park service as a stand alone home. it's there with the vanderbilt estate and fdr's home.
but to go -- i encourage people who care about presidential history, don't just go to the fdr home and see franklin delano's grave, visit that huge insight to the personality there. inner city kids come there. poor people to come and talk. world leaders and presidents would visit her there, it's quite a spot. >> it was built in 1925 along the fall kill creek. and it was built because the voeltzs loved to picnic and they loved to picnic away from the main house. that's where they can get away and hang with their friends and a lot of the political cronies that mama did not like would come up for picnics. so eleanor remarks to fdr in the winter that this was -- how sad it was that it was their last time that they could picnic this year. and they picnicked with at that point nancy cook and marion
dickerman, two women with whom eleanor had developed a close political working relationship with. both of whom were very involved in the democratic party. one of whom had run for office. so fdr offers to sell the land to them for a 99-year lease. and we'll give them a 99-year lease. and the three women will each put in a third to build the cottage. and the cottage would be called val kill. and that was an extraordinary place for eleanor. but they -- it's also a political experiment because the women built a furniture factory there during the -- to help farmers in the hudson valley win marketable skills in the future. women have a falling out in 1935. >> all three women? >> all three women. >> man and marion and eleanor have a falling out.
and in 1937, i think, eleanor buys them out. and so she converts the furniture factory into her own home. that's what she will -- that's the only home of her own and her most special place and she will live there until she dies. >> and for this program, we visited val kill. here's a look inside. >> let's go upstairs to where the bedrooms are located and we'll find a historically creeky staircase. >> this here is eleanor roosevelt's master bedroom. mr. roosevelt takes prime footage over the fireplace area with the largest portion in the room. mrs. roosevelt's bed is somewhat interesting in the depiction and shows how mrs. roosevelt preferred her laundry to be delivered by the house hold staff, folded and placed upon her bed. she would place it throughout the cottage. on close examination of the
laundry reveals that it's all monogrammed. we have mrs. roosevelt's monogram on the main towels here. we have nancy's monogram on some of the linens. some of the linens are jointly monogrammed with the initials emn -- eleanor marion nancy. and that was pretty consistent throughout val kill's operation. when i looked through this room, it just surprises me that a lady who was born into wealth that married into wealth and generated wealth in her lifetime would live in such a simple fashion. that bed is surely not an elaborate bed for a lady who was 5'11" tall. but she had a simple life style. and that stands out. this is eleanor rose veelts sleeping porch. it's a very important area here
at val kill cottage. this is where mrs. roosevelt would come in the evening at approximately 11:00 after saying good night to her guest and it was private space for her, the little scottish terrier dog that is so famous in the rose veelts story would accompany mrs. roosevelt to this area and spend the night here with her. this is where she would sit, do some last-minute letter writing, maybe some last-minute reading, then retire for the evening. she referred to this area as being like a tree house that's surrounded by glass, screened in areas. she can overlook her property, her fall kill creek, the fireplace where the picnics were held. the tennis and badminton court. the cutting garden, the stone cottage which was so important in the early years. this is her private space where she could get away from the
activities of value kill cottage for a short while and be with herself. >> and we are back live, there's a little quick look at val kill and a little private life there. when she was there, did she have a simple life style? >> she had people visiting her all the time. but she could live so simply. i thought it was very eloquently said. i've been impressed with how spartan, both frank and eleanor can live right next to val kill which fdr was building a dream house top cottage to have no electricity to be on a mountain top. if you go to the white house down in georgia, you're amazed this man is willing to live in such stripped down circumstances reminds me a lot of jimmy carter, eleanor roosevelt. the mother was an eleanor roosevelt democrat. she loved eleanor roosevelt. but the ability to live with
furniture that's made there. carter makes his own furniture in his home. very spartan and warm and pleasant and emphasis on gardens and outdoor life. the bringing of the natural world. i can't emphasize enough to listeners what a special place that part of the mid hudson is in duchess county and the great love and friendship of franklin and eleanor from shared neighbors, shared friends, shared topography and knowing all of the little back roads and things together was a big part of the happiness. >> did she use that to get way? >> yeah. >> this is the own space to conduct business. val kill was her home and office. eleanor was very rarely alone in value kill. he did a very extraordinary job in giving you the sense, the feel that eleanor had and how much she loved it. eleanor was always surrounded by
hordes of people at val kill that she would invite. there would be neighbors, dignitaries, friends, reporters, painters, there would be performers, there would be winston churchill. there would be stein beck, pauley murray came to val kill. it was a hub. it was eleanor roosevelt's unrestricted space. >> you referred to this a little earlier. you intimated that she did not like the secret snfs. >> no. this is the thing -- >> no. >> having them around, i should say. >> this is the most extraordinary thing about eleanor roosevelt. and showed a great deal about franklin. i want to go back to 1932. fdr just spoke in an open convertible in a park in miami.
he just unlocked the steel braces so he could slide back down from sitting on the top of the car into the seat. an assassin's bullets ring out. it kills the mayor of chicago who is literally closer to fdr than doug is to me. and they have both been through the attempts on patty roosevelt's life. they have a personal conversation. we don't know what they said, but they reference the conversation in reference to their children about the physical sacrifice it takes to lead a country in a war. they both saw depression as the war on the american spirit and the war on the soul and the economic soul of the united state
states. so eleanor refused to have secret service in the white house. she said first of all it impedes her the ability have a conversation with the american people. she saw her number one job, responsibility, as helping bring the government to the people so the people could understand the human face. so she travelled without secret service. i can document 15 attempts on her life, 17 i don't have all of the information on. we know the ku klux klan placed the largest bounty in history on her head. we know people shot at her. we know they dynamited trees outside of clap board churches where she spoke. we know they wrapped dynamite around the axles of her tires. we know they placed
nitroglycerin where she stood. she said it was her responsibility to be able to have a talk with the people of the united states. she wanted to meet her neighbors. anybody who interfered with that interfered her ability to do her job. >> she had friends, her policemen with her. some of her closest friends and security. i think the important point is that the roosevelts wanted to meet people. they didn't feel they were better or were an elite family. that's something they shared. i was reading fdr the other day going bird watching and thinking the secret service had no rights on the road because he wanted it dark to see a particular bird and he would blow them off, the secret service, to take country drives. he loved going fast in his automobile because he could shift it with that no lower half. if i might -- if i can get to one other thing.
>> getting a little heavy on this and light on time there. when it came to protecting herself, she knew how to shoot a gun. >> miller did not travel well nowhere when he was in the white house. the deal was made that she learned to shoot. but eleanor rarely -- eleanor would carry a gun in some circumstances. the bullets were not in it. the bullets were in a separate spot in the car. and for all of the people who were going to e-mail me about this, she had permits in every single space that she went to. >> and in speaks of which, that is our featured item this week on the first lady series. if you've been to our website, c-span.org/firstladies, you can see it's comprehensive and a lot of added material was there. this week, we're featuring her gun permit which they pulled out of her wallet in 1962 when she died. that's what's featured on our website.
c-span.org/firstladies. tonya in coatesville, pennsylvania, you've been very patient. go ahead with your question. >> thank you so much. my question is complicated. one of the things that i met in roosevelt through the junior league. my question is douglas hit on it earlier, please tell me -- could you tell the listeners about the relationship she had about the tuskegee airmen, a little more like how is that controversial and also her relationship with two other african-americans and that's mary mcclout mathune and also a. phillip randolph? thanks. >> three topics in way. but in world war ii, we had 1 million african-americans who served and eleanor roosevelt was very concerned that they were being treated as second class citizens. there are stories of her going into georgia and seeing
african-americans in the hospital that had smaller rooms and worse medical conditions and would blow her top and say you ear treating african-americans the same. tuskegee is an historic place where booker t. washington made famous and aviation was going to be a big part of the war effort. she went down there and not just embraced the tuskegee airmen, but gave them the publicity, they were part of this together. i forget the exact amount of time. but an hour flight flying over the air space with an african-american pilot. remember, theodore roosevelt got hammered for having booker t. washington in the white house. now eleanor roosevelt, his niece, is flying with the tuskegee airman, you know, over southern -- you know, air space. i'll let you take on the -- in the naacp. >> eleanor had worked very closely when the draft was being
put into place to really encourage fdr to support the naacp's effort to get african-americans more involved in the war effort. fdr did cannot want to fund the tuskegee airmen. he did not want the tuskegee airmen to fly. the secretary of war, henry stenson said leadership is not embedded in the negro race. it was a felony to give plasma that was connected from a person of one race to the person of another race, even though plasma was perfected by an african-american physician. eleanor roosevelt went down to tuskegee to force fdr's hand. she gets in the -- she goes to the air base, they do not know she's coming. she comes up. she has the movie camera, she gives the movie camera to -- to -- and the -- and the still photographer -- i mean the still camera to people on the ground to photograph this.
and she takes them back to fdr and puts them on fdr's desk to say when are you going to do this? eleanor get blamed for race riots in the united states because of her promotion of housing for some of the 6 million african-americans who have relocated from the south to the north for the defense industry. in fact, the detroit race riot in 1943 when she's playing for that by the mississippi press and the new york press is why she finally gets to go to the pacific to answer briefly your caller's, here are two of the questions about methuen and a. phillip randolph. let's give sarah credit. sarah delano roosevelt is the person who takes mary mccloud bethune to meet eleanor in the '20s. they will call each other their
closest friends in their own age group. eleanor will become good friends and colleagues with a. phillip randolph, especially when they begin to work together in 1939 over the marion anderson concert which is not just about the resignation from the d.a.r. so that marion anderson could perform in the district. but it's her ability to say why curse hitler and support jim crow? why curse mon and silence marion anderson. so marion anderson, a. phillip randolph, one of the leaders of the marion anderson event as well as the first march on washington which is planned for to ban -- to force fdr to ban discrimination -- federally -- i'm sorry, to ban discrimination of the defense industries. eleanor is right in there with
him too. she's close. >> we only have a half hour left. and as you mentioned, eleanor roosevelt did travel to the pacific. here's a speech she made to some of the troops. >> also very sad, looking very upset that he could not come out to the troops. he said i just can't -- so the officer said, well, listen, i'll tell you what to do. you go over to that ridge over there and say all of a sudden, and they'll jump on other people -- he'll say to the death. looking very gloomy and he said, did you do what i told you to do? and yes, sir. yes. i ran up there and i said to
hell and they just jumped up as you said they would, but they -- >> doug brinkley, did she serve add fdr's eyes and ears in the war as well? >> it's like the uso getting the morale up with troops. the fact that eleanor roosevelt -- she writes beautifully about it in my day going to the pacific. she went over there and how much the soldiers loved her. you know, early on we were talking in 1933, you had the bonus march of veterans here in washington. right at the time of fdr's inaugural. and hoover sent the army on a march of veterans wanting better rights. eleanor roosevelt went and talked to the bonus march soldiers. she had a lot of veterans and people who admired her in the military. we talk a lot about her as a
figure and a liberal. but she was beloved by the admirals and particularly bill hulsey we mentioned earlier in the pacific. this was a very successful tour in '43 at the pacific. >> you said in that video that you wanted to say the prayer? >> well, you can see -- you can see eleanor walking through here. you can see her tell that joke. what you don't understand is what happened in the flight going over there. she flew an uninsulated military aircraft. a shell, no pressure. her eardrum shatters. she will walk 50 miles of hospital corridors in two days. the arches will fall in her feet. she will never be able to stand again without special shoes. the war, this trip, changes eleanor roosevelt. she begins to carry a prayer in her wallet that says, dear lord, must i continue in my complacent ways. help me to remember that
somewhere someone died for me today. and if there be war, help me remember to ask and to answer, am i worth dying for? what you see are the newsreels. you don't see her in hospital rooms. you don't see her in fox holes. you don't see her tending to wounded. all she did on this trip. >> doug brinkley, april, 1945, her final month as first lady. how did she find out about fdr's death? >> well, it got reported, it was unfortunate. she didn't know -- she wasn't down there with him. there's a half portrait of fdr when he died and suddenly like everybody said, the moon and the stars dropped. when ever the wounds of having -- having people down around her that didn't know about, the beauty was that she ran a funeral service so wonderfully at hyde park. and fdr wanted a very simple headstone, his name and his
years and eleanor. he wanted beloved with him, he wanted it for eternity. she gets buried there with him. >> next call for the guest, lynn in daytona beach, florida. you're on c-span. >> i'm at daytona state college and did a book about a woman who became close friends well nowhere roosevelt when she was 17 years old. she fixed her hair and put her clothes out and pressed her clothes. they were so impressed with her, she had to do the research on the den bar oaks conference. but she would go out and work in the garden with the girls and attended some of the classes and would bake pies and whatever they were doing that she would be right there beside her. and when she found out that walker was trying to get equal pay for black teachers that
eleanor roosevelt got her scholarships at bank street college. when she taught at the little red schoolhouse would go over and visit the third grade class and take her little dog. she kept it on a very personal level and was willing to trust even the 17-year-old girl. i find that very remarkable for someone who at the time was first lady of the united states. >> thank you, lynn, for that call. alee that black, i wanted to ask you, she spent 17 years as ex-first lady. first of all, how quickly did she get out of the white house in april of 1945? >> within a week. i mean, it was -- truman said she could stay longer. she said, no, she wanted to get out. she famously said the story is over. but the story was not over and she knew it would not be. people were already lobbying her to run for the senate to be governor, to be secretary of labor, to be president of one of the major colleges. to run one of the major
political action organizations in the country. >> what was her relationship with harry and bess truman. >> if i could have said one thing in the harry eleanor dance, it would have been when she told then vice president truman that roosevelt had died. eleanor was 3, with heels, she was seven inches taller than harry truman. when she was summoned back from drinking bourbon with sam raburn in the white house, he stands up to me and puts a hand on the shoulder and said harry, the president is dead. and she said, mrs. roosevelt, i'm so sorry. is there anything i'm going to do for you. she says that's the wrong question. you're the one that's in trouble now. >> did you move back to val kill at that point? >> moves back to settle the
family estate. she keeps in constant contact with the first american delegation to the planning meeting of the u.n. in san francisco and by august, she is so frustrated with truman that she begins a full court press on truman's politics. so much so that truman appoints her to the first american delegation to the united nation to get her out of the country. >> she lives in new york city a lot. she stays in a place in greenwich village, right in the village, an apartment. ends up in a sheraton hotel for a while. back to sheraton to try to get a house in manhattan. but eventually retreats back to val kill. >> you both talked about how she used val kill as a political meeting ground. here's a little bit of the public eleanor roosevelt at val kill. >> this is val kill college. the building that operated formally as a furniture factory after the death of fdr.
she turned this into her primary residence. that's when it was named val kill cottage. these are the steps and the entrance way that mrs. roosevelt and numerous world figures such as john f. kennedy, nikita khrushchev and other notables would have entered the home with mrs. roosevelt. the desk there is where she worked on her my day column. some of her books, magazine articles, and tremendous correspondence with the american public. and, of course, that's the desk with the misspelled name tag. the name tag was presented to mrs. roosevelt by a young man in hide park. he drafted the item in the shop class having no idea he misspelled her name. it found a home on her desk and stayed for the duration. aside from her writing, this is the reception area.
so when dinners went on here at the site, this would be where the cocktail hour was enjoyed. the dining room is an important room here in the activities here. this is derived from an early magazine article in the 1950s in mccall's magazine which was titled howell nowhere lives in val kill. it's set up as a buffet. that's what mrs. roosevelt would prefer when she had numerous guests here at the site. this is the living room here at val kill cottage. as we look through the room, we notice an alcove area, very significant in the story. that's where john f. kennedy would sit with mrs. roosevelt. he was seeking her support with his presidential bid. mrs. roosevelt was one time a matery i can't recollect in the party. she describes it in the cottage
as being representative of her visitors here at val kill. she was referring to they came in different shapes, size, and colors. when she grouped them together, they seemed to function well here. we also see the walls decorated with many photographs that were important to mrs. roosevelt. several pictures of lewis houm are incorporate in this room. there's a good picture of delano roosevelt. we'll see a good picture of mrs. roosevelt's daughter-in-law, we'll see uncle theodore roosevelt in this room. we'll see interesting personalities such as ameilia earheart that would have given mrs. roosevelt her first flying lesson in 1933 over the skyline of baltimore, maryland. val kill was very important to mrs. roosevelt because it was her first and only home she would own on her own. she would refer to it feels so good to be home.
>> alita blackwell. you mentioned something about the chair. >> in the alcove victor showed us, you can see the picture of eleanor and jack kennedy. she switched the chairs so she would look up -- look down at him and he would have to look up. and she argues him to take a stance on labor unions and civil rights. which he does take belatedly. >> go ahead for your question for doug brinkley and alee that black. >> i have a question for both. who are the descendents of fdr and eleanor now adays. what would eleanor think about the direction that the country is going today? >> let's stick with the kids instead of trying to channel eleanor roosevelt? >> all of the children are dead. the grandchildren are very much alive and active in the cousins
committee. some of them are involved in great public service efforts, in goodwill, in teaching in rural schools and running public health programs. >> doug brinkley, once dwight eisenhower was elected in 1952, what did delano roosevelt do until the next democratic election. >> she wasn't thrilled that dwight eisenhower was the president. she was a democrat, a liberal democrat. adlai stevenson, a democrat. we were talking about truman. but she represented the liberal ring of the democratic party. truman was more of the center center, even right in some ways. she was disappointed that stevenson lost in '52. she got involve in the stevenson campaign. every time he went against kennedy, she loved adlai stevenson. we're talking about the death of fdr. his great legacy is the united
nations and that's what franklin roosevelt was -- that was his legacy was going to be. eleanor roosevelt started to work closely with the u.n. in the postwar era, most famously offering the united nations declaration of human rights. no figure more synonymous with the human rights than eleanor roosevelt. >> here she is at the u.n. talking about that. >> we stand today at the threshold of a great event, both in the lights of the united nation and in the lights of man kind. this universal declaration of human rights may well become the international magna carta of all men everywhere. we hope its proclamation by the general assembly will be an event comparable to the proclamation of the declaration of the rights of man by the
french people in 1789. the adoption of the bill of rights by the people of the united states, and the adoption of comparable declarations at different times and other countries. >> and that was eleanor roosevelt in 1948, alita black -- >> eleanor was -- with would not have the universal declaration of human rights without eleanor roosevelt. she's not only chair of the human rights commission, she was chair of the drafting commission. now, i want to imagine if you could imagine one thing -- you have 18 people sitting around a table. you don't agree on god, you don't agree on whether there is a god, you don't agree on private property or whether private property exists. what marriage is, what labor is, what citizenship is, what the purpose of government is. and you have the government constantly changing who the
negotiators are in those 18 seats. and you have a small window in which to come up with a vision that will stand in opposition to the horrors of the holocaust. the atomic bomb, and the fear that another world war may start in ten years. without eleanor roosevelt's negotiating skills, none of those people would have stayed at the table. everybody would have dissolved into conflict. and there would have been a great block opposing the declaration rather than having it passed unanimously. it took 300 meetings and hundreds of hours. >> you said one thing, a human declaration of human rights outed the soviet union for not caring about it. the soviet bloc countries didn't want anything to do with human rights. in her own way, she would say a
warrior in essence. she would be loved there today and have a great sympathy for the plight of the jewish people particularly after all of the footage of the holocaust came in. >> someone who treats sheldon cooper he's been watching the entire series. we've gotten several tweets from him. he tweets in tonight. how did the nation react when eleanor passed away november 7, 1962? >> deep incredible morning. ex-presidents, president kennedy came and dwight eisenhower came and harry truman came and everybody else you can think of. it's a little village here in hyde park and all of the world kind of came to be there. she had become beloved as a champion of the underdog and the underclass. i mean, if there's anybody who should have won a nobel peace prize who didn't, it was eleanor
roosevelt for her work with human rights because she had now an international following in world leaders descended to pay homage to her. >> alita black, did she have any relationship with lou hoover? >> they met. they were not -- they certainly weren't friends. they didn't hang out together. they were cordial. 50 we had this picture of eleanor roosevelt, beth truman, and edith roosevelt all standing together. >> i've seen it but i can't tell you what it was about. been labeled as being so many different event what is whatever i say is going to be wrong. >> nancy at edgewood, new mexico. go ahead with your question. >> i don't have a question. i wanted to make a point that my father had corresponded with mrs. roosevelt based on her myday column. she was impressed with him. she then invited our entire family.
i was 11 years old, to come to her townhouse in manhattan. on -- on palm sunday and we had pheasant. she insisted that we had to eat the pheasant with her fingers because it was the only way to do it. >> what year was this? >> 1953? >> thank you. >> and that summer she had them come up to hyde park and spend a weekend there with her grand kids. and there was a game room on the property where my father and i had to sleep and my mother slept in the house well nowhere with my 2-year-old sister. from there, i went off to college, eleanor invited my roommate and i to come across the hudson river and spend election eve with her in 1960. she had numerous guests there while they were waiting to see whether kennedy would get elected or not. >> nancy, this is all because
your father corresponded with her about my day? >> yes, it is. >> no political connections on your part or anything? >> nope. happened all the time. >> doesn't surprise me. >> all the time, all the time. all the time. >> well, bobb in brighton, michigan. do you have a story you want to share with us as well? >> yes, my cousin, gertrude wood was in georgia with the d.a.r. and she had invited eleanor roosevelt to come down and talk to the women farmers in the area of multrie, georgia. she didn't expect that they would expect it, but she did accept it and she came down and when she was talking, instead of going up on the stage where they had a special seat for her, she just came down to the front row and sat between two african-american women farmers.
and the d.a. didn't know what to do about that. >> thank you for sharing that story as well. doug brinkley, you mentioned you're writing a new book on fdr? >> i am. >> it's called rightful heritage. franklin d. roosevelt and the renewal of america. i'm looking at his relationship. it's the history of the 1930s and 1940s. worked to save the eastern forest but traded places like the okie finokie, the everglades. tour out to yellowstone. the olympic national park is one of the joshua tree channel islands on and on. more he created the bird flyways and credited the migratory waterfowl and founded the u.s. fish and wild life and was spearheaded the wild life protection unit here where rachel carson worked and was the
fdr idea. he was intensely involved in soil conservation in the land and how to rehabilitate land, not to save wilderness, but to take old burned out properties and use modern journals and almanacs and make america better. >> alee that black, did eleanor roosevelt ever function as what we would consider to be a traditional first lady? >> sure. i mean she entertained in the white house. she stood in receiving lines. she had the white house easter egg. you had parties. you had all kinds of private dinner parties where eleanor would bring people in that she thought the president should meet or she -- you know, she served those functions quite well. >> we have a final tweet. this is the -- the series is called influence and image. gary asks, what would eleanor describe as her most important contribution to society?
>> i think she would say it's the universal declaration of human rights. i say something else. i've been to 365 archives in 50 states and nine nations. she has seen everything that is horrible to see about democracy and poverty and discrimination. she never gave up. she went in when people were trying to kill her. they disparaged her husband, mocked her children, and hit her income. she believed in democracy and the promise of america and the promise of human rights so profoundly that she risked everything she had to try to make us get there.
i think that showed undaunting and fierce courage. >> that and civil rights. we had a wonderful call a minute ago of her going to georgia and sitting next to two african-americans and that kind of setting and how backwards we were on race relations in america, '30s and '40s. her voice on a national level and started bursting through. she has the place of honor in the civil rights movement. she cared about equality. >> finally, on our website, c-span.org/first ladies, we have a companion book available for this series. alita black worked hard on that book. and it's available to you as well, at cost. we're not making any money off of it. if you like to see it, it profiles all the first ladies to michelle obama.
alita black worked on that. we like to thank our partners in this series, the white house historical association for their work for us in getting everything together for the programs. next week, it's bess truman. going to leave you this week with a little bit of eleanor roosevelt from 1953 talking about what it means in her view to be a liberal, we thank doug brinkley and alita black. >> thank you. >> this is a -- you have been -- become known as the leader of what is loosely called the liberal movement in this country or what used to be called the liberal movement. some people call them do-gooders and the rest of it? could you define a liberal for us? >> it's very hard to put in a few words what a liberal is. a person who kept an open mind, was willing to meet new questions with new solutions,
>> next week, first lady bess truman. unlike her predecessor, eleanor roosevelt, she did not hold press conferences, she refused media requests, and she spent much of her time as first lady back home in independence, missouri. when she was just 5 years old, she met her future husband, harry who was 6. she got married 30 years later. despite her reputation as a silent partner, president truman nicknamed her the boss. she helped to edit speeches when he was a senator and earned a salary in his office. a look at the life of bess truman on first ladies influence and image
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