Anna Eleanor Roosevelt (1884 –1962) was an American politician, diplomat, and activist. She was the longest-serving First Lady of the United States, holding the post from March 1933 to April 1945 during her husband President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s four terms in office. President. Eleanor was called the “First Lady of the World” in tribute to her human rights achievements.
Eleanor had an unhappy childhood, suffering the deaths of both parents and one of her brothers at a young age.
Eleanor became an important connection to the African-American population during the segregation era. Despite the President’s desire to placate Southern sentiment, Eleanor was vocal in her support of the African-American civil rights movement. She concluded that New Deal programs were discriminating against African-Americans, who received a disproportionately small share of relief moneys. Eleanor became one of the only voices in the Roosevelt White House insisting that benefits be equally extended to Americans of all races.
Eleanor also broke with precedent by inviting hundreds of African American guests to the White House. When the black singer Marian Anderson was denied the use of Washington’s Constitution Hall in 1939 by the Daughters of the American Revolution, Eleanor resigned from the group in protest and helped arrange another concert on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.