This week, in honor of Women’s History Month
, we wanted to pay tribute to one of the most consequential leaders in American History. Eleanor Roosevelt
was the niece of the 26th President of the United States
and the wife of the 32nd
– but make no mistake, she was a political thinker, an international activist and a World Leader in her own right.
Of her many achievements and successes, perhaps none was more personally satisfying and poignant than her work - after FDR’s death - at the United Nations -- in particular, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Adopted at the Third Session of the U.N. General Assembly
held in Paris, to this day it is one of the most meaningful and important accomplishments in the 75-year history of that World Assembly
. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
, as Ken Burns
noted in his award-winning series, The Roosevelts,
was history's first attempt at laying out the principles under which all nations should behave toward their own citizens and toward each other.
And it was largely the work of one delegate from the United States, Eleanor Roosevelt.
It was no easy task leading the international drafting committee at the dawn of the Cold War
. But the former First Lady, as always, was shrewd, persuasive, and relentless.
As tough as she was tactful, she drove her fellow delegates so hard that one felt compelled to remind her that they "had human rights too."
"If they wanted shorter days, Theodore Roosevelt's favorite niece answered, "they should make shorter speeches."
At 3 a.m. on the morning of December 10th, 1948, the General Assembly approved the Universal Declaration of Human Rights without a single dissenting vote.
And after the historic vote, the entire General Assembly did something it had never done before and has never done since. It rose to give a standing ovation to a single delegate, Eleanor Roosevelt.
Please listen to Eleanor Roosevelt 1948 speech on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Support this show http://supporter.acast.com/words-matter
for privacy and opt-out information.