She always wanted to fly...
I saw this on FB and I thought it was a lovely piece about one of my favorite women. I have always loved this story about Eleanor and AE taking flight together. She is truly an amazing woman - they both were! It is from the Jon S. Randal Peace Page. I requested and was granted permission to post here. I don't know this person, Jon S. Randal, but highly recommend that you visit the page on FB. There is some wonderful writing there.
She snuck away that one night. She always wanted to fly. Most of her life, as a woman, she was always told what she can and can't do. When she was younger, like many young girls, she was told she couldn't compete with men, that she had to look pretty to capture a man. But, Anna was told she wasn't "pretty" enough, and she started believing those who told her she was an ugly duckling.
But, on this clear and starry night, she actually took the controls of the Eastern Air Transport Curtiss Condor plane. With the help from a friend named Amelia Earhart, Anna flew like the swan she would soon become. She had only been the First Lady for a month and a half, the world had yet to see her take "flight." It was 1933.
By 1959, a Gallup Poll would name her the “most admired woman in the world” for the 11th consecutive year.
She was born as "Anna" on October 11, 1884, but the world would know her as the First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt.
When she was younger, Anna would look in the mirror and wonder what she would become. People made fun of her - her frumpy clothes, her crooked teeth, she was shy and insecure. While other young ladies her age and her wealth spent their time trying to find a husband and attend all the social events of the day, Anna did volunteer work in the slums of the Lower East Side, helping young immigrants, women, and children.
She saw the Other Side, and she never forgot it. When she finally met her future husband, Franklin D. Roosevelt, that's where she took him to show him that side. When he became President, she constantly reminded him of the other side.
After flying with Amelia Earhart that night, discussing their strong commitments to the women’s and world peace movements, Eleanor Roosevelt would take flight.
She got tired of being ridiculed by the press, making fun of her stout figure, toothy smile, and way of dress. Even her own mother-in-law, still over-protective of her son, would tell Eleanor's own children that their mother was boring.
That's when Eleanor would start making a name for herself.
She started speaking up for women, African-Americans, and children, knowing what it was like to be looked down upon in society. She would soon start influencing her husband, telling him what she saw.
She would continue to receive hate mail for her views, but it just made her stronger, more determined.
When the Daughters of the American Revolution boycotted the 1936 concert of African-American singer Marian Anderson, she would resign her membership and helped organize a new concert in front of the Lincoln Memorial that made history.
She supported the Tuskegee Airmen in their successful effort to become the first black combat pilots.
She would be nominated three times, during her lifetime, for a Nobel Peace Prize. She became a renowned social and political activist, journalist, educator, and diplomat. Throughout her time as First Lady, and for the remainder of her life, she was a high profile supporter of the Civil Rights Movement, of equal rights for women, and of social reforms to uplift the poor.
She would surpass her husband in her commitment to disadvantaged Americans, including speaking up for anti-lynching laws when the politics of the day made it difficult to do so. She would write a “personal and confidential” letter to NAACP Executive Secretary Walter White, voicing her dismay that the systematic lynching of blacks in the South would not be addressed by Congress or her own husband, the president, who did not want to suffer the wrath of powerful Southern lawmakers capable of dismantling his New Deal programs.
Even after her husband's passing, she remained active in politics for the rest of her life. President Truman would appoint her as a U.S. Delegate to the United Nations, where she would receive a standing ovation when the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted on December 10, 1948.
She would chair President Kennedy's ground-breaking committee which helped start second-wave feminism, the Presidential Commission on the Status of Women. And, she continued supporting women, even personally assisting in the careers of many women, providing them with guidance, giving them hope.
She would still remember when they called her an ugly duckling when she was growing up, but to the world, she was and continues to be a beautiful swan whose beauty inside helped her speak the truth, making the world a little better for all.
Frank Sinatra would ask her, “if you had one minute to leave one word with the world, what would that word be?”
“That one word would be ‘hope,’” replied Eleanor Roosevelt. “It’s the most neglected word in our language.”