Eleanor Roosevelt led an interesting life. Not only a formidable character on her own accord, she was a trusted and valued advisor to her husband, President FDR. In addition to her many contributions, she advocated for civil rights a decade before The American Civil Rights Movement and its reforms started in 1945. She was a pioneer of equality when it was an unpopular thing to do. Good for you Eleanor Roosevelt.
When the Daughters of the American Revolution barred great African American singer Marian Anderson from performing at its Washington DC Constitutional Hall, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt sent DAR a letter immediately. This is the letter verbatim from Letters of the Century.
My Dear Mrs. Henry M. Robert Jr. (President General of the DAR):
I am afraid that I have never been a useful member of the DAR so I know it will make very little difference to you whether I resign or continue to be a member of your organization.
However, I am in complete disagreement with the attitude taken in refusing Constitution Hall to a great artist. You have set an example which seems me to unfortunate, and I feel obliged to send in to you my resignation. You had an opportunity to lead in an enlightened way and it seems to me your ogranization has failed.
I realize that many people will not agree with me, but feeling as I do this seems to be the only proper procedure to follow.
Very Sincerely Yours,
It was 1939. Applause to a woman who knew such treatment was offensive. And knew other people would not only resist openly criticizing her reaction to DAR's behavior but some of those same people would also approach FDR with a voice of admonition that he needed to keep his GD wife quiet. Yet she willingly proceed to call the DAR on the carpet anyway because they were wrong. In 2009, some people still opt to look the other way. You were decades ahead of us, Eleanor Roosevelt. Bravo for your convictions and fortitude.