On March 22, 2017, the FDR Library organized an evening of listening to Eleanor Roosevelt. Director Paul Sparrow and I talked about a variety of audio clips. This was the second such event. The first one, organized the previous year, is available on You Tube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TfbE3KQgBvQ
The plight of refugees was not only something that Eleanor Roosevelt spoke up for in the post-WW II period (see previous post); in a speech on November 29, 1939 she accused Americans of racial and political intolerance for refusing to allow in more Jews who were fleeing Nazi persecution.
New York Times. November 29, 1939
See http://fusion.net/story/235108/eleanor-roosvelt-refugees-1939-perfect-response/#mail-share for more on this story.
Salon.com includes an opinion piece on the current refugee crisis in Europe and wonders what Mrs. Roosevelt would do.
As politicians and citizens of European countries try to find a response to the enfolding humanitarian crisis this September 2015, they'd do well to listen to a UN radio program, "Life Begins at Ten", from 1 January 1959 which paints a picture of how active, practical work can find solutions. Perhaps 2015 should be UN World Refugee Year, just as 1959 was, and when the UN countries pledged to deal with the terrible plight of refugees in Europe who were still in camps 14 years after the end of World War II.
In the 14 minute radio program, Mrs. Roosevelt urges everyone to take responsibility:
"The earth is one. There is no place that is good when elsewhere in the world the destitute cry for our attention...We have an opportunity, each of us, to remove this blemish from the conscience of mankind."
Contributions are from the actress Doris Day who reads the story of 10 year old Janusz who was born in a refugee camp in Italy and was given asylum in the USA. " a promise of a new life was almost too much to bear"
and from the actors Joseph Schildkraut "The Solution to the Refugee problem can make a contribution to world peace" and Gregory Peck: "Do you know what it means to be forgotten?"
The program can be heard online: http://www.unmultimedia.org/avlibrary/asset/C724/C724/
Mrs. Roosevelt broadcast her radio show for NBC from her living room at the Park Sheraton Hotel. The site hotel chatter shows an ad from 1953 which tries to lure guests with free TV.
The audio of Eleanor Roosevelt on radio is of course available to researchers in the FDR library, at the National Archives in Washington and at the RSC in Middelburg. On internet, however, it is also possible to find examples of her voice. One such site is the United Nations Audiovisual Library. In the following excerpt Mrs. Roosevelt reads out the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:
Americanradioworks has produced a wonderful radio documentary about the way FDR and ER used radio and how their broadcasts revolutionized the way Americans viewed the White House.
The documentary is available online: http://www.americanradioworks.org/documentaries/roosevelts/
The site also provides various essays on FDR and ER, Radio in the 1930s and examples of the correspondence that the President and his wife received.
My article Eleanor Roosevelt as “Ordinary” Citizen and “Expert” on Radio in the Early 1950s has been published in Sage Open.
or copy-paste http://sgo.sagepub.com/content/4/3/2158244014551712 into your browser.
I'm investigating the broadcasts Eleanor Roosevelt did for the Voice of America. In November 1951 she delivered a series of weekly talks from Paris. Speaking, as she said, on behalf of the United States Delegation she had been asked to explain to the citizens of post-war Europe - particularly the women - why the UN General Assembly meetings in Paris were so important.
In her first talk of November 18, she compares the process of achieving peace in the world to gardening. "Peace is something you must cultivate with great tenderness and care. Like certain delicate plants and flowers peace needs warmth and love." She also delivers this rhetorically masterful quote about peace:
"It isn't enough to talk about peace. One must believe in it.
And it isn't enough to believe in it. One must work at it."
This remains as true today as it did then.
A statue of Eleanor Roosevelt was unveiled today outside University College Roosevelt in Middelburg by Eleanor and Franklin's grand-daughter Anne Roosevelt and the mayor of Middelburg, Harald Bergmann,
The regional broadcaster, Omroep Zeeland asked me why it was important to honour ER. Listen to the full interview here (in Dutch).
Photo from website of PZC newsap
The text of the speech given at the opening of the Faithfully Yours Exhbition is available on the presentations page.
Anya Luscombe PhD is researching Eleanor Roosevelt and her radio programmes