Review of Eleanor Roosevelt, Fighter for Justice: Her Impact on the Civil Rights Movement, the White House, and the World

Eleanor Roosevelt, Fighter for Justice: Her Impact on the Civil Rights Movement, the White House, and the World
by Ilene Cooper
Intermediate, Middle School    Abrams    184 pp.
8/18    978-1-4197-2295-0    $17.99

Our country has a long history of citizens who have fought for social change — among them, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. This chronological account traces Roosevelt’s unique path from privileged upbringing to fierce crusader for social justice. Cooper acknowledges the people in Eleanor’s life who helped raise her consciousness; among them, her husband Franklin, who, as a state senator, became a suffragist. Even while her reputation as an advocate and ally grew, Roosevelt was not without fault. Cooper notes that she was initially oblivious to many of the injustices of her day, including the plight of African Americans during the Great Depression. It took personal connections — interactions with educator Mary McLeod Bethune and activist Pauli Murray — to prompt her to take action. The reader witnesses the First Lady’s evolution into a staunch advocate for people of color, supporting anti-lynching legislation, the integration of the armed forces, and equal benefits from the New Deal programs. Accompanied by historical photos, a bibliography, a timeline, and excerpts from Eleanor Roosevelt’s speeches and letters, this compact biography is a worthwhile introduction to one of America’s most prominent social activists.

From the September/October 2018 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.
Eboni Njoku
Eboni Njoku is a children’s librarian at the Anacostia Neighborhood Library Branch of the DC Public Library.

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