African-Americans in the New Deal

Mary McLeod Bethune in front of the Capitol.

Mary McLeod Bethune in front of the Capitol.Credit…Hulton Archive/Getty Images

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THE BLACK CABINET

The Untold Story of African Americans and Politics During the Age of Roosevelt
By Jill Watts

There’s long been a standard story of the civil rights movement. It starts on a December evening in 1955, when Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Ala., bus. With that single act of defiance, the story says, Parks set off a movement that sped across the South of the 1950s and 1960s, through Little Rock and Greensboro, Anniston and Ole Miss, Birmingham and Selma, and brought Jim Crow tumbling down. Then, in the bitter spring of 1968, the movement went to Memphis. There it died, on a motel balcony awash in its martyr’s blood.

It’s a profoundly powerful story, in large part because it’s a sacred one, built on a fundamental faith in sacrifice and suffering as the route to redemption. And for years historians have been pushing against it. They’ve stretched the movement’s chronology, extended its geography, recovered all-but-forgotten events and given its overlooked activists their due, all in an effort to make its history deeper, richer and more troubling than the standard story lets it be.

“The Black Cabinet,” by Jill Watts, the author of books on Hattie McDaniel and Father Divine, seems to take that revisionist project in a less than promising direction. In the early days of the New Deal, Franklin Roosevelt named…

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https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/12/books/review/the-black-cabinet-jill-watts.html

Youth Crises Past and Present: Learning from the New Deal and Eleanor Roosevelt

        

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to mind the Great Depression because of its economic impact—more than 30 people million filed jobless claims between mid-March and this week. 

 

Less appreciated are the parallels on how America’s youth were and are being affected. 

 

The Great Depression wrought a youth crisis of unprecedented proportions—a crisis that threatens to resurface 90 years later.

 

Fortunately, our 20th-century responses offer guidance, from both President Franklin Roosevelt and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, on how to diminish the damage of the coronavirus.

 

In the 1930s, children and teens were among the most economically, educationally, and psychologically vulnerable to the ravages of the Depression. The Relief Census of 1933 revealed that…

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https://historynewsnetwork.org/article/175288

The President vs. The Epidemic: FDR’s Polio Crusade

Dave Welky is Professor of History at the University of Central Arkansas.

 

 

No president can end an epidemic single handedly, but they can inspire a popular movement that eradicates a disease. Such was the case with Franklin Roosevelt and polio.

 

Seventy-five years ago, on April 12, 1945, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and died at the “Little White House” in Warm Springs, Georgia. His administration’s achievements, such as Social Security and unemployment relief, are woven into the fabric of American government. Pundits still measure new presidents against FDR’s First Hundred Days, and present-day politicians slap the “New Deal” label on ambitious agendas. Donald Trump, like FDR a wealthy New Yorker presiding over turbulent economic times, has recently cast himself as a “wartime president” in his predecessor’s mold.

 

Although FDR’s continuing relevance is undeniable, one of his greatest achievements has faded into relative obscurity even though Americans are reminded of it whenever they sift through their pocket change. The faces gracing common American coins are a parade of Great White Men – Lincoln, Washington, Jefferson – with no obvious rationale for appearing on one denomination or another. It would be as apropos for Lincoln to grace the quarter as the penny.

 

But examine the smallest and thinnest coin, the dime. More specifically, the Roosevelt dime, first minted in 1946. FDR’s stolid look, with a hint of Cheshire-cat grin, conceals a hidden logic. While president, FDR was a driving force behind the March of Dimes, the charity that financed Dr. Jonas Salk’s creation of a polio vaccine. Because of this medical wonder, along with its successors, the United States has not spawned a polio case for more than forty years. This remarkable chain of events makes FDR responsible for saving thousands of lives and saving even more people from paralysis.

 

FDR contracted polio in 1921, the year following…

 

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https://historynewsnetwork.org/article/174983

Coronavirus: Amid crisis, challenges faced by FDR resonate on 75th anniversary of death

By: Paul M. Sparrow, For the Poughkeepsie JournalPublished 6:00 a.m. ET April 9, 2020 | Updated 11:24 a.m. ET April 9, 2020

Editor’s note: Paul M. Sparrow is the director of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum. He wrote this article for the Journal in recognition of the anniversary of Roosevelt’s death on April 12.

As America and the world confront the deadly COVID 19 pandemic, we should all take a moment to remember the inspirational legacy of Franklin Delano Roosevelt on the 75th anniversary of his death.

The society we live in today is based on his vision of global cooperation and economic equality — Social Security, minimum wage, a 40-hour work week, child labor laws, the World Bank, NATO and the United Nations are all just a small part of the Roosevelt legacy. But it is his inspiring leadership in the face of global catastrophe, and his ability to speak hard truth and instill confidence in the future that are most relevant today.

Paul Sparrow, Director of the FDR Library and Museum in Hyde Park on May 31.

Paul Sparrow, Director of the FDR Library and Museum in Hyde Park on May 31. (Photo: Patrick Oehler/Poughkeepsie Journal)

During his 12 years as president FDR confronted first the Great Depression and then the rise of fascism and totalitarianism. Yet he never wavered in his belief that the American people could overcome any challenge.

 

It was April 12, 1945. President Roosevelt was recovering at the polio rehabilitation center he created in Warm Springs, Georgia, on that early spring day. His exhausting travel to the military conference in Yalta with Joseph Stalin and Winston Churchill had taken a toll on his already poor health.

World War II was nearing its end in Europe and FDR was focusing on…

 

Read more at: PoughkeepsieJournal.com

Today’s problems demand Eleanor Roosevelt’s solutions

By Mary Jo Binker 

November 15, 2019

In this Oct. 18, 1944, photo, first lady Eleanor Roosevelt, left, buys a $100 war bond from Venus Ramey of Washington, D.C., crowned winner of the 1944 Miss America pageant, at the White House. (Herbert White/AP)

The 2020 election is just a year away, and the list of issues facing Americans is both lengthy and daunting: possible presidential impeachment, income inequality, immigration, global warming, increasingly invasive technology and crumbling infrastructure, just to name a few. Trying to build consensus to address any, let alone all, of these issues seems daunting, if not impossible, given the fears that surround our options and cloud our thinking. Fear may in fact be the greatest challenge we face.

That was the philosophy of Eleanor Roosevelt, one of America’s most significant first ladies. She, too, knew what it was like to live in trying times. Whether American democracy would survive the Great Depression, World War II, the McCarthyite Red Scare or the Cold War were real questions for her. She could not be sure of the outcome.

However, Roosevelt firmly believed that fear was a dangerous response to a world in constant turmoil. It robbed individuals and societies of their ability to speak out and act. It was the reason nations stockpiled armaments and closed their borders. Above all, fear destroyed the possibility of constructive action. “People who ‘view with alarm,’ ” she wrote at the end of her life, “never build anything.” Instead of giving into fear, Roosevelt pioneered a four-step process of citizen action that we can use today to combat contemporary problems.

Roosevelt’s process started with…

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https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2019/11/15/todays-problems-demand-eleanor-roosevelts-solutions/

 

Roosevelt, Churchill And The Creation Of The United Nations

By: David Carlin

US President Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882 – 1945, left) with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill (1874 – 1965) at the White House, Washington DC, December 1941. (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images) GETTY IMAGES

Today opens the 74th UN General Assembly. For many New Yorkers, mentioning the General Assembly evokes images of a Manhattan traffic apocalypse. Traffic notwithstanding, the United Nations reflects the remarkable vision of two great leaders: Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill.  

It was December 1941. After the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, America had entered WWII and immediately experienced a series of setbacks in the Pacific. The war in Europe and Africa was going nearly poorly too. Nazi troops were on the outskirts of Moscow and British forces faced losses in Libya. Amid this gloom, Churchill arrived at the White House. He and Roosevelt met extensivelyon the military situation and Anglo-American cooperation. Several months prior, the two had issued the Atlantic Charter. When the war’s outcome remained uncertain, this landmark document dared to imagine a free and peaceful future. The charter asserted the rights of self-government as well as economic and social freedom for all. It also laid the groundwork for international collaboration on a variety of topics from trade to defense.

Now, Churchill and Roosevelt sought to formalize their war aims and clarify the relationship between the numerous allied nations. Yet, they struggled to find a suitable name for their coalition. The name came to the president in a flash of inspiration. He raced to Churchill’s bedroom and announced: “the United Nations!” Roosevelt quickly realized that his guest was stark naked and begged his pardon. Churchill allegedly replied: “the prime minister of Great Britain has nothing to hide from the president of the United States!”

Tall tale or not, both men were unswervingly committed to building a better world from the ashes of WWII. On New Year’s Day 1942, Roosevelt and Churchill…

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https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidcarlin/2019/09/17/roosevelt-churchill-and-the-creation-of-the-united-nations/