first lady

  Pauli Murray has been called one of the most important figures in 20th century African American civil rights history. This remarkable woman was the granddaughter of a mulatto slave who among other achievements was a founding member of CORE, graduated at the top of her class at Howard University School of Law, was named Madame Moiselle Magazine women of the year in 1947, wrote states laws on race and color which Thurgood Marshall called "the bible of civil rights lawyers," was appointed to JFK’s commission on the status of women and co-founded national organization for women in 1966. Murray is now the subject of Patricia Bell-Scott’s biography The Firebrand and First Lady: Portrait of a Friendship: Pauli Murray, Eleanor Roosevelt and the Struggle for Social Justice. Patricia Bell-Scott is professor emerita of women studies in human development and family science at the University of Georgia. 

  It’s fair to say Melania Trump is not your typical would-be first lady.

In today’s Congressional Corner, Union College political science professor Brad Hays continues his discussion with WAMC’s Alan Chartock.

First Ladies

Apr 29, 2015

  C-SPAN’s yearlong history series, First Ladies: Influence and Image, featured interviews with more than fifty preeminent historians and biographers. In the resulting book, First Ladies: Presidential Historians on the Lives of 45 Iconic American Women, these experts paint intimate portraits of all forty-five first ladies—their lives, ambitions, and unique partnerships with their presidential spouses.

Susan Swain and the C-SPAN team elicit the details that made these women who they were: how Martha Washington intentionally set the standards followed by first ladies for the next century; how Edith Wilson was complicit in the cover-up when President Wilson became incapacitated after a stroke; and how Mamie Eisenhower used the new medium of television to reinforce her, and her husband’s, positive public images.

While Eleanor revolutionized the role of First Lady with her outspoken passion for human rights, Alice made the most of her insider connections to influence politics—including doing as much to defeat the League of Nations as anyone in elective office. Hissing Cousins: The Untold Story of Eleanor Roosevelt and Alice Roosevelt Longworth is a double biography of the first cousins whose political perspectives could not be more dissimilar.

Authors Mike Peyser and Timothy Dwyer will be at Oblong Books in Rhinebeck, April 11th at 7:00 PM for a presentation, Q&A and book signing.

Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

The school superintendent in Milton, Vermont, says five fifth graders have been invited to Washington to help First Lady Michelle Obama plant the White House garden this spring.

C-SPAN

The holiday might be called Presidents’ Day, but as historians and contemporary White House watchers well know, First Ladies often play a major role in any administration aside from their ceremonial duties. Some, like Eleanor Roosevelt and Hillary Clinton, were outsize political forces in their own rights, while the influence of others, like Edith Wilson, is only revealed years later.