Frances Perkins: The woman who helped end the Great Depression
by Chauncey K. Robinson
International Women’s Day 2018 comes in the midst of a tumultuous time. The current White House administration under Donald Trump continues to attack the rights of workers, women, people of color, immigrants, and other marginalized communities. Discussions about lasting systemic change—about socialism—have been put center stage once again as working people struggle to hold onto the rights they have won in the past and embark on fights for new ones.
The rights (and the strength) of women, in particular, have been galvanized in mainstream media by the #MeToo and #TimesUp campaigns.
This has culminated, so far, in a record number of women running for political office across the country, a development which will certainly shift the political tide in a more progressive direction. With this march to the mid-term elections, it seems fitting then to highlight on this day a woman who exemplified the strength and leadership in political office that made historic strides for not only women, but all working people. The first woman appointed to the U.S. cabinet, and the longest person to hold the position of U.S. Secretary of Labor, Frances Perkins, is just such a woman.
Frances and Faith offers its first book review, a look at the faith of the president behind the New Deal.
The Simple Faith of Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Religion’s Role in the FDR Presidency
by Christine Wicker. Smithsonian Books, 2017
FDR’s faith is not a major theme in studies of his life and presidency even though these studies are often thick tomes. Journalist and author Christine Wicker effectively addresses this significant shortcoming in her compact volume, The Simple Faith of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, which I found inspiring at many points.
Boston Women’s Heritage Trail now includes the birthplace of Frances Perkins. Walk this self-guided tour of Boston’s South End and make sure to stop at #20a
where Frances Perkins was born. The trail features well known names from the past as well as lesser known leaders. Follow the instructions at: http://bwht.org/south-end/ or
download the mobile app at https://bwht.oncell.com .